MIS Systems Thread, Making your own Data Collection Sheets in SIMS in Technical; Hi there, I'm trying to produce my own data collection sheet for our School, and I'm struggling.
I've looked into ...
6th November 2009, 05:50 PM #1
Making your own Data Collection Sheets in SIMS
Hi there, I'm trying to produce my own data collection sheet for our School, and I'm struggling.
I've looked into copying the report that's there but it won't save my changes. When I create my own from scratch i can't seem to get the data into the form.
Part of my problem is that I can't seem to find any documents on how to edit RTF templates. Also support net KB27742 says "don't edit the data collection sheet template".
So bearing in mind I want to get rid of the fileds that are not relevant and generally brand the form can anyone give me some advice on pointers on documentation to read.
IDG Tech News
7th November 2009, 11:17 AM #2
What are you trying to collect? If it is Assessment manager data, you create the Marsheet as usual, open it and click Export -> Formatted in the toolbar at the top. Then use Import from Spreadsheet to insert the data collected into SIMS.
7th November 2009, 11:40 AM #3
- Rep Power
I'm not sure what you're are trying to do - can you explain a bit more?
7th November 2009, 11:48 AM #4
I'm doing exactly the same thing and it's the biggest pain in the at the moment!!
I hate Word and i hate tables. Nothing seems to work right.
I'm attaching a pdf from SupportNet to help with RTFs. In order to create your own, go into Design Report mode, open existing report and open the supplied Data Collection report. Go to the last part of the wizard and choose Save As from the menu. Give the report a name, precede it with an underscore and probably keep it private for now if you are just testing. Also it will be at the top of your list.
Go back in the wizard, make sure the "When editing user defined templates, use Word with Macro support field names" option is checked, and click to edit the template (make sure Macros are enable in Word before hand, i keep my settings on Low for SIMSy stuff.). Just view it and click on Save & Close. Now forward through the wizard again and click save my report. Then close the design reports section completely and open it up again, choosing to open the newly saved version of the report. You can now edit this.
If you eliminate anything from the Data Fields list, make sure you delete any reference to it from the template as well, else it might crash SIMS.
Read on to see what i'm up to in the same respect...
Need to do an update on student information, mainly contact information for parents and guardians specifically emails.
We use Schoolcomms, and here comes the problem. Schoolcomms imports data for priority 1 and 2 contacts (we just added the priority 2s), but only the email set as Main. Unfortunately SIMS allows you to set more than 1 email as Main. You can have a Main Home email, Main Work email and a Main Other email! The problem is Schoolcomms will only take one address and priority is in the following order Home, Work.
The standard data collection sheet will only show Main emails and therefore i have a conflict. I want to update all information, but can only show Mains. I can't have more than one main else Schoolcomms fails.
Solution (In Progress):
Making my own data collection form based on an RTF template that incorporates multiple records sets and subreports such that all emails can be shown, along with all the other data.
Resource 10208 from SupportNet is helpful - "How to create and use rtf templates".
I'm pulling data for priority one contact and then running a subreport to show their emails.
Then i'm pulling data for priority two contact and running another subreport to show their emails.
Lastly i'm pulling data for all contacts in priority order listing contact numbers and home/work addresses.
Problems - layout always screws up, with tables merging, spacing going funny! I've just about got something working then another part goes funny, and there's no logic to why.
I'm so close to having it working, it's taken up most of last week and the weekend. One major thing that takes time is that in order to make sure the reports don't corrupt or lose the attached templates, after editing, i save it all then close the design reports section of SIMS, before testing. Then have to open it again for the next report.
Tip: when you get part of it working, export it and any subreports together with attached templates, so you can always reimport back to that stage. I've lost whole templates recently due to a report going into a loop and not ending, so i had to end the pulsar process.
Let me know how you get on or if you need any help. If i ever get it working, i'll share the final report.
2 Thanks to vikpaw:
Stuart_C (9th November 2009)
7th November 2009, 12:10 PM #5
@Kiran/Cam - Vikpaw has answered my question with me having to type out the same longwinded explanation
@Vikpaw. Thanks for the advice and the PDF. I'll have a big long read through and see how I get on. If it wasn't for the fact that you need all the contacts for each student it would be a relatively easy mail mergre!!
I got close but suffered from that tables merging rubbish. Looks like I've got some work then!
7th November 2009, 12:36 PM #6
Last year, we had a mail merge that someone else created, exporting all data out to a spreadsheet then setting up the mail merge manually. I tried to recreate using a SIMS mailmerge, being careful to rename each used field in SIMS ( A good idea whatever you are doing), but still ran into issues with wanting all emails for contacts.
I was actually contemplating just writing a big SQL query with all the joins in the right places so i could get out a flat excel sheet with the data so i can do a mail merge, but now that is my backup option as i'd like a solution that i can leave on the system and any other user can use in the future.
Good luck with your project.
9th November 2009, 11:57 AM #7
On the up side for me I kind of managed to fluke it at the weekend.
I took Capita's original, edited it then went into my report, created a new blank template and copied and pasted in and it seems to have worked. For now...
I removed all the fileds from the report that I wasn't using and that seemed to help (I think).
It's not flashy but it conveys the info at the moment. I'll have a look through the documentation for later when I need to improve it. It helps when you are only implimenting a small amount of data
I'll be honest, I'm not 100% convinced that I know what I'm doing I've sort of lucked into it. Still it meets my immediate deadline and gives me some breathing room to learn it better.
Thanks for the advice.
15th November 2009, 05:53 PM #8
I've finally cracked it, but it's taken absolutely ages, and every time i made some progress, i found another area in SIMS where we are not storing data as it should be.
I've uploaded my solution to the file sharing area of support net #709, but can put it here too if anyone wants it particularly.
The output is an rtf document page breaked to 4 pages, so that it can be printed as a booklet. Depending on how much data is returned some pages need editing before printing else it could go over. I've just done 383 documents and at 35% view on Word, can see all 4 pages in a row on my 17" TFT so it's fairly easy to make sure it prints okay.
I've chosen to let the printer do the clever part of turning it into a booklet rather than Word, as every time you edit the RTF the page setup reverts to something random that includes Letter size paper rather than A4. This according to all docs i've read on SupportNet is how it should be, and the work around is to change settings on first edit and then not edit the template ever again!!
It mostly solves my own problems but could easily be edited to cater for others. It required the use of 4 sub reports that pull back certain data which then gets incorporated into the main document.
The things it covers:
All in all it works pretty well, and could be used to show all data held in the system even if you don't have the data cleansing issues we do. It takes about 10 mins to run the report on one of our relatively small year groups with only 50 students.
- Shows all email addresses for priority 1 and priority 2 contacts via sub reports and puts them in separate tables. We needed this because we have stored more than one Main email, (1 work,1 home, and 1other) and SchoolComms which sends out our emails only wants 1 Main email, which is all the standard data collection form returns. I showed all so we could request which one should be marked as Main.
- EDIT: Normal data sheets and Schoolcomms both by default only show the 1st Main Email a contact has, if they have all 3 it shows only the Home one which is first in the pecking order.
- Shows home and work addresses for the priority 1/2 contacts including Main home and mobile numbers. All put into a table.
- A sub report returns all Work Telephone numbers and adds these to the address table. Again, we need this because there can be more than one Work Telephone listed and not all on our system have been set as main. Also, there isn't by default a Main Work Tel field, available, and as fax numbers can be stored under the work category, we needed to return all Work Tels only.
- Finally, all other contacts are listed with their phone numbers Main home and mobile, plus all work numbers. This time if there are multiple work numbers the row in the table repeats - duplicates are suppressed, so you get an empty row until the work number. This was an acceptable solution.
- Also, 'other contacts' are shown even if they have no priority because we for some reason have got priority-less contacts on the system.
I think i'm much more offay with report writing now than i was and will probably have another go at using sub reports to create a transcript for leavers, that pulls back grades from each semester of study.
Last edited by vikpaw; 15th November 2009 at 06:00 PM.
Reason: Add note.
15th November 2009, 06:03 PM #9
Just thought of something important.
It probably only affected me, but on the contact's details pages, on the address section, if the Disclose Home Address check box is not ticked then neither home or work addresses will appear in the report. I had to manually tick them all for hundreds of students!
TIP: If you are playing with your own rtf documents, i found it useful to record a Macro of changing the page setup - margins, header, paper size and save it in my normal.dot I gave it a keyboard shortcut of Ctrl + L and it was the first thing i did on each edit of the template.
28th February 2013, 04:26 PM #10
- Rep Power
Oh My ?!?!?!?
Hello One and All.
Originally Posted by vikpaw
I am very very new to web parts and SIMS, but have been given, as my 1st project - Create a Data Collection' form and import it into our SIMS database - have to admit I am struggling so bad that I am losing the will to live !!!!
I am so sorry to ask you but I registered to 'http://support.capitaes.co.uk' (hope this is the right site) and tried to locate your solution #709, but unfortunately I have been unsuccessful.
Could I please take you up on your offer of placing your solution here too. I have printed off the guide you kindly uploaded (How to create and use rtf templates) and I am trying to work my way though it.
I just want to thank everyone for taking the time to help people like me to get going it is very much appreciated ....... Thanks
28th February 2013, 08:48 PM #11
Not sure if I can help specifically here, but I think this thread was aimed at getting a data collection form (paper form - not a web based form) out of SIMS to go back to parents/carers to check that the data school holds about pupils / contact details etc etc is correct.
I'm not sure that this was then getting imported back into the SIMS database by any means other than manual entry - (although I stand to be corrected). Essentially after the parent/carer returns the form - any bits that were crossed out / changed / ammended get updated in SIMS by some unfortunate office worker on a mammoth data entry job.
So I guess my point is...
Can you explain the process you're after a little more?
Originally Posted by Mandz
Would getting forms out to parents and a manual entry back at school be OK (in which case - @vikpaw's answer is awesome), or are you looking for something more high tech (in which case - good luck!!)?
RE - #709 - Suspect you'll find this under the file sharing part of Capita Supportnet listed as a report definition.
PS - welcome to Edugeek.
Last edited by superfletch; 28th February 2013 at 08:50 PM.
28th February 2013, 08:55 PM #12
I may be a little misunderstood, but you mentioned webparts. If you have SIMS Learning Gateway there is now a webpart that parents can complete or update their data online and it feeds back into SIMS after it has been moderated by a member of staff in school.
Originally Posted by Mandz
2nd March 2013, 11:56 AM #13
I'm pretty sure @Sylv3r has hit the nail on the head. Mine was purely for printing a dandy form that had lots of extra detail in it. We still use it, and it has had many tweaks since. It's now all on one side of A4 showing the key data, on the reverse it has a blank data entry form, where they fill in new / changed details. It is much easier for the data entry staff to see what needs editing that way. So yes, it was based on manual input, but if you're talking about the webpart method, Sylv3r is your man, as we don't use SLG.
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