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Simplify Experiences with Many Similar Scenes Using Excel

    Description

    Have a large number of similar scene layouts in your experience? Layouted following the same design pattern? Lots of repetition? High number of images, videos, etc? Use Excel as a data source for your content. It's much simpler than you think and the benefits are numerous.

    Because it is so easy to populate an Excel spreadsheet with data, you can simplify any project by building a template in Composer and linking it to Excel with the help of bindings. You can then display your spreadsheet-based content, filter what is displayed, add new rows, etc.

    This will not only help help you to achieve easy data management but it will also speed up project performance. With Excel you can have only one scene whose contents will change dynamically instead of creating multiple scenes overcrowded with assets, triggers and actions. The simpler your experience, the easier it is to add/change content and faster it will respond to your users.

    How to build your experience

    [This section is just an overview. For a detailed look at how to work with Excel, see this article.]

    Think of each row of an Excel spreadsheet as one data set and each column of an Excel spreadsheet as one property of that data set. IntuiFace requires that the first row contain column headers. The second row will always be the first row of data and thus the first data set displayed in your project. Each time you apply a filter to your spreadsheet, the first result will be on the second row.

    The following image illustrates how it works. The “Menu" buttons at the top are used to apply filters to a single Excel spreadsheet. When any of these buttons is pressed, the Excel-based contetn is filtered accordingly and only one row of Excel information becomes focused. For example, filtering on “Who We Are” will bring this line to the second row, and the displayed data will change dynamically.


    ExcelFilter.jpg

    Important Notes

    1. Each column must have a title in Row 1 as these titles are used to represent the list of "properties" for a given spreadsheet. What Composer refers to as Row #1 is actually the 2nd row of an Excel spreadsheet. Each title must be different for Composer to be able to read excel's columns.


    ExcelFilterAction.jpg

    1. When selecting an Excel workbook while creating an Excel Interface Asset, the corresponding .xlsx file is copied and placed into your project at the following location: C:\[Project_Path]\[Project_Name]\Files\InterfaceAssets\[Excel_Filename]_xlsx
      As a result, all modifications performed by third party services must be applied to this local copy. (The Add row action also operates on this local copy.) The original file is not monitored by Composer or Player.
    2. When modifying the local copy of your Excel workbook - either manually or via an external service - the workbook must be both saved and closed before changes are taken into account by IntuiFace. Changes are recognized by IntuiFace approximately five seconds after closing the workbook.
    3. .xlsx files output by other spreadsheet software, such as libreOffice, are not supported. You must use Microsoft Excel 2007 or later.

    Experience Sample

    If you want to see the theory in action, you can download a sample experience from here.

    Going deeper

    We are running a one-hour webinar just about Excel and IntuiFace. You can watch the entire recording (and you won't regret it!) or register for the next live here