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MIS Systems Thread, Individual Reports: Special characters from Grade Set / Comment field? in Technical; Hi all, Does anyone know of a way to get special characters from an Aspect into an Individual Report? The ...
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    NorthernSands's Avatar
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    Question Individual Reports: Special characters from Grade Set / Comment field?

    Hi all,

    Does anyone know of a way to get special characters from an Aspect into an Individual Report? The Lower School report will be going into SIMS for the first time and their old one had stars for certain things, not numbers (ie 5 stars, 4 stars etc). They also used the Square Root symbol as a 'tick' (Ugh!). Wingdings has what I'm after but no matter what I try I can't get the Wingdings font to be used.

    I tried copying from Character Map and pasting into the Grade Descriptions. No go: on the report it either gives that character in Ariel (or whatever) and if I change the font of the whole tag to Wingdings (and get a bunch of weird characters in the template) it fails to recognise the tag when generated. I've even tried doing an If Then Else in AM to add the stars to a comment field, but it just replaces the text with questions marks.

    I thought I'd have a poke in the macros to see if I could change the font after it had switched tag for data, but they're all password protected. Anyone got any idea before I resort to either Asterisks or telling the Lower School that it can't be done?

    Many thanks!

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    i just lost my massive reply, so now you get the short one, email me if you want more details.

    it does work, i put a tag in wingdings and it came through onto the report. i can't replicate everytime as i fiddled a lot on a test template and don't have much time but it can be done on my windows xp box with office 2003 with 2007 on top [don't know if it's relevant].

    the only problem is that the entire tag comes through in wingdings, does that help you? perhaps if you have a separate tag for this piece of data that is to be a star level, and they enter a number / other info in adjacent tags...?

    anyway, add the tag in arial, then change all bar the chevrons to wingdings. then when you pilcrow you should see the content as wingdings but the hidden code as arial still. this seemed to work for me. after i'd done this and verified, i could even put a whole tag, chevrons included into wingdings and it all translates.

    for a more specific solution, such as replace "-5*-" with [star wingding] or whatever, you could try to add a macro, which i think you're allowed to, but you'd have to put it into the template file that lives in mysimsdocuments or simstemprpt or whatever the folder is that it calls the base template from. i added a macro to the ind.rep. template and it works live, but when you save and preview the macro is not there as i think it loads a clean template.

    the other way you can do manipulation which may not work in this case is to put an if <> else statement into the word template itself, like the ones you do with field codes to format dates etc.

    hope that helps, sorry for the bad grammar etc. the page refreshed on me twice and i lost my typing now i'm rushing home.

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    NorthernSands (8th May 2011)

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    NorthernSands's Avatar
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    Thanks Vik. I didn't think to leave the chevrons alone. I'll have another go. I can't really modify the template unless I roll it out to a number of other staff. The idea is for several people to be able to generate the report. At least I know it works, I just have to persevere.

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    Don't forget though that it's still only changing an entire tag. The field code thing, which i've seen used to colour columns based on hidden cell data, may work better for you and i believe can be put into the main template.

    We had some ESL reports where they used to use graphs from SIMS then went back to a word document with a scale on a table using smiley faces / ticks to represent progress. As they wanted to keep those smilies, for ease of use we ended up just putting the general structure in a ind.rep template, and exporting it for the teacher during report time. They then use whatever symbols they like and we manually attach page back to linked documents later, and print it out separately!

    The last primary school report was entirely done off sims, and then manually uploaded, but that's their decision, despite my protests.

    Anyway, probably not a great solution for you, but perhaps if they can change how they work, so that you put in a picture of a star / the symbol on the template, then they fill in an aspect with the number i.e. 1,2, or 5 etc. which then appears next to the picture would be a better work around. Once they see how much easier using SIMS reports is, they may negotiate a little on structure. We certainly had great success in the move from floppy disks to SIMS

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