Cookbook

"The easiest way to learn XpressDox is to use it."

Alphabetic Command List Command List by Category Tutorials and Cheat Sheets User Reference How to use the Command Editor

Cookbook Articles Cookbook

Start a Template from an Existing Document
January 20, 2008

XpressDox has a Find-and-Replace utility which speeds up the process of marking up a template from an existing document.

Handling gender
September 14, 2009

Suppose you have a document which you want to personalise as far as pronouns are concerned. In other words, instead of having “he/she” in many places, you want to have only “he” or “she” depending on the sex of the party concerned. Check how this is done using the ChooseUsingCheckbox command.

Create a letter head template
September 29, 2009

A letterhead is a template which is formatted with artefacts like a company logo and contact information, and all letters published by the company should be printed with this letterhead template as the background .

Configure a multi-application environment
September 29, 2009

Configuring file paths for multiple applications where files and folders are shared can be a tedious and high-maintenance process. XpressDox’s Merge Configurations feature goes a long way to overcome this problem.

Make it easy for all templates to use the same letterhead
September 30, 2009

Enterprises lose credibility and brand awareness when published documentation is out of date or inconsistent. XpressDox Docussembly™ document assembly makes it possible to ensure consistent use of branded documents throughout the enterprise.

Suppressing empty lines
September 30, 2009

Conditional processing is one of the most powerful features of XpressDox Docussembly™. In particular, this applies to removing empty lines from a merged document. One application of this is removing address lines which contain empty data.

Control how the user can change data source data
September 30, 2009

Data from a data base can be inserted into a template. Perhaps this data has changed since it was last updated in the database, and the template-running-user is the one who knows about this change. It should be permissible for the user to change the data and have the change propagated back into the database.

Provide default values
September 30, 2009

Using a simple text file as a data source, XpressDox provides the template author with the ability to set data elements to default values which the template user can then accept, or modify for each template run.

Make data source information available on all templates
September 30, 2009

Global information sometimes needs to be made available to all templates. Either all templates in an organisation, or all templates in a specific application or group of applications. XpressDox Docussembly™ makes this possible via the Configuration of a data source.

You work for three bosses
September 30, 2009

A straight forward mechanism for looking up values in a text file is provided with the ChooseFromFile command. It is almost as powerful as selecting data from a database, but has no configuration overhead. “The poor man’s datasource”.

Managing contact details on letters
September 30, 2009

Ensuring correct contact details on a letterhead can be a huge problem in a large enterprise. XpressDox has a number of features which make it possible to overcome this problem. One of these is the Data Source Configuration feature together with the ChooseFromDataSource command.

Working with Help
October 1, 2009

Often the name of a data element is descriptive enough to for a user to know what to enter when capturing data. But sometimes more help is needed. XpressDox Docussembly™ has a number of mechanisms available for the template author to provide the data capturer with help in capturing data, in particular using the Help command and also Help in conjunction with IncludeTemplateText.

Working with repeated elements – Part 1
October 1, 2009

Repeating data elements presents a challenge to the template author, especially in formulating sentences and descriptions where the number of parties or invoice items or other repeating data is unknown at the time of authoring the template. This recipe in the Cookbook demonstrates how XpressDox meets this challenge.

Performing calculations
October 1, 2009

XpressDox can perform arithmetic calculations on data element values. This is done in an intuitive way by simply typing in the calculation.

Look up a fee in a tariff table
October 2, 2009

The TableLookup command in XpressDox Docussembly™ can be used to look calculate values such as tax amounts or fees payable where these values are quoted in a tabular form, such as legislated tariffs.

Using variables to calculate totals
October 2, 2009

XpressDox give the template author the ability to perform calculations and other operations on the values of data elements, and to store those values in variables for later use in the template. One example of this is the ability to calculate totals on repeated data elements.

Format a date in archaic form
October 2, 2009

Using standard XpressDox functions and commands, XpressDox renders a date in archaic form, i.e. 2009-09-02 becomes “the 2nd day of October in the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Nine”.

Conditional inclusion of paragraphs and clauses
October 2, 2009

Sometimes there are just too many choices of paragraph or clause to be included or excluded from a document. Using If and Else commands is inappropriate when there are hundreds of combinations. XpressDox has the powerful InsertDocument command to handle just this situation – where the user running the template chooses which clauses should be inserted.

Why do my calculations not work? (Part 1)
October 2, 2009

Usually performing calculations with XpressDox is straightforward. There are some issues to be born in mind, and this Cookbook recipe explores these.

Run a “mail merge”
October 2, 2009

Use one template to generate a letter to each of a set of clients whose contact details are saved in a database.

Run a template for a number of data sets, and print the merged documents
October 2, 2009

After data sets have been saved as a result of running templates, it is possible to use those data sets, either individually or in batches, to produce mass mailing documents.

Format an Identity Number
October 2, 2009

The FormatNumber function in XpressDox can help the template author make sure that the template user captures valid numeric data, as well as format the result for readability.

Where have all my data elements gone?
October 3, 2009

Sometimes you will have marked up a template and then when you run it, one or more of the data elements don’t appear in the data capture interview. Conversely, sometimes the data element may appear in the capture interview but not on the merged document. This Cookbook recipe gives the background to why this might be, and what you can do about it.

Capture a multi-line address in one field
October 3, 2009

You may not want to have to define 3 or 4 or some maximum number of address line data elements, and have the user capture them one at a time, and still provide conditional formatting logic to suppress any empty data elements. XpressDox document assembly supports this by the concept of long text fields.

Define layout in a base template
October 3, 2009

Sometimes a letterhead needs to dictate not just things like the company’s logo and fairly static items like the directors’ names, but also the position of the addressee information and data elements like ‘Your Reference’ and ‘Our Reference’, for example.

The XpressDox Cookbook
October 20, 2009

The official XpressDox Cookbook contains various recipes for different aspects of XpressDox. It is intended to complement the User Reference. The latter document is comprehensive in that it covers all of the XpressDox commands and functions, but does so to a limited depth. The Cookbook is designed to give in-depth coverage of certain commonly used aspects.

Laying out the data capture interview
October 27, 2009

XpressDox will create a data capture interview automatically, using the data elements defined on the template. The sequence in which the data elements appear on the interview can be controlled with the CaptureDataElement command, and the Heading and Tab commands can assist with further layout.

Use a SQL Server Data Source to include Customer information on a template
November 7, 2009

XpressDox can provide data from a large number of source databases. In particular, SQL Server databases can be configured as Data Sources in XpressDox, and this makes it possible to include data form those databases in templates. This Cookbook recipe shows how to configure a SQL Server Customer table, from the Microsoft sample database “AdventureWorks”, as a Data Source, and then goes on to explain how to reference that Data Source in a template.

Data capture interview layout tips
January 28, 2010

Although XpressDox will automatically construct a data capture interview for a template when that template is run, template authors will want to make use of the layout commands to control the layout of the interview.

Using verbose Choose commands
January 28, 2010

Radio buttons and check boxes provide a way of enabling users to make quick choices. The results of these can be either sort, terse text values or can indeed be whole paragraphs.

Why do my calculations not work? (Part 2)
January 29, 2010

Calculations can give trouble when the data elements being operated on are not of the correct format. The RenderAsNumeric function will address that problem.

Which API should I use?
February 2, 2010

XpressDox Docussembly™ document automation can be customised by a developer using one of three APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). This article describes the APIs and why any one of them would be chosen above the others.

Styling and coloring the Caption, Footing and Heading
March 3, 2010

The style (i.e. bold, italic and/or underline) and color of a Caption or Heading can be set to enhance the usability of the XpressDox data capture interview.

Document per Repeated Item
March 3, 2010

Suppose you have an application which requires that one or more parties sign a suretyship document, with the requirement that each party signs their own document, not that they all sign the same document.

Trouble shooting Ends and Elses
March 5, 2010

In complex templates, the balancing of End and Else commands with the matching If or ForEach can become difficult. This recipe explains how to use the Template Painter and the Debug command.

Trouble shooting Conditional Capture
March 5, 2010

Conditional Capture can sometimes result in unexpected behaviour, where data elements either are unexpectedly removed from the data capture interview, or appear on the interviewwhen they shouldn’t. This recipe gives some tips on how to trouble shoot these situations.

Trouble shooting missing pictures in documents
March 15, 2010

Normally pictures, logos, etc., are handled without problems by XpressDox. But sometimes the pictures go missing from the merged document and are replaced by a red X in a box. This recipe discusses why this can happen and gives some advice on how to correct the situation.

Test for Any or All repeated items meeting criteria
March 26, 2010

It is sometimes necessary to test whether at least one (Any) of a group of repeated items meets a particular set of criteria, and also to test whether All of the group meet those criteria. This article discusses how to construct those tests.

Concatenating strings
April 24, 2010

There are times when it is necessary to concatenate the values of data elements, variables and/or hard-coded strings together to form a value which is then stored in a variable. The concat function does this.

The Command Editor
May 11, 2010

The Command Editor empowers the template author by presenting an alphabetic list of all the XpressDox commands, with functionality which provides wizards for completion of the command as well as supplying examples of commands.

Adding comments to a template
June 5, 2010

Comments can be added to a template either within the body of a command, or using the Comment command.

The CaptureLater Command
June 24, 2010

When a template is run, XpressDox constructs a data capture interview which is guided by the XpressDox merge fields which are coded in the template. The CaptureLater command is one of the commands which can be used to influence this.

Working with repeated elements – Part 2
June 28, 2010

A common issue with repeating data is the requirement to refer to the items within the list by their ordinal values.

Document per Repeated Item – with Filter
July 15, 2010

The Document per Repeated Item feature can also be filtered so that only those repeated items fulfilling a particular set of criteria will have a document prepared.

Moving around in XpressDox: The Explorer
September 14, 2010

“If I were going to Limerick, I wouldn’t be starting here”, an Irishman told a tourist. Yet it can be like that with the Microsoft file and folder explorers, which often enough open far away from where you want to be. The XpressDox Explorer solves this problem for you.

Tips and Hints using the Rule Command
October 4, 2010

The Rule command can be included into many templates, and hard rules can be softened.

Configure a Data Source for a Database
October 4, 2010

The New Data Source wizard is used to configure a database for use in XpressDox.

Working with Page Breaks
October 5, 2010

Using a page break in a template is fairly straightforward, even when the page break is conditional. In other words, when the page break is to be included or excluded on the basis of an <<If>> command.

Working with Section Breaks
October 5, 2010

Section breaks are used in Word® to separate different parts of the same document which typically have different attributes. This becomes an issue for the template author when one or more sections are included (or excluded) from the document according to some conditional logic.

Tips for Authoring Templates – Part 1
October 6, 2010

There are two very useful features in the ribbon versions of Word, which can make the template author’s life a lot easier. These are the Access Key feature and the Quick Access Toolbar.

Tips for Authoring Templates – Part 2
October 12, 2010

You need a tool to help locate the text that XpressDox inserts into fillpoints. Word®’s Find and Replace come to your aid.

Force saving of merged documents
October 18, 2010

When the file name of the merged document is provided either in the configuration, or using the <<SetSavedDocumentFileName()>> command, then XpressDox will save that merged document regardless of whether or not the user checks the Save Merged Document? check box on the data capture interview for that template.

Build a bi-lingual interview
November 30, 2010

It would be really useful for XpressDox to be able to present an interview in French if the user is a French speaker, and in English for English users, where the document itself is in English. For the same template. And vice versa. XpressDox can indeed do that, as long as the template author marks up the template accordingly.

Encrypt a template
December 21, 2010

A template can be encrypted by providing a password when the template is saved.

A Rose by any Other Name
December 21, 2010

Deciding on a set of rules for naming of data elements can lead to efficiency in template authoring.

Search for a file using the Explorer
January 3, 2011

You can use the Windows® file system’s wild card syntax to search for a file in a folder.

Select templates using a master template
January 25, 2011

Selection of multiple templates to be run can be done by the user using the XpressDox explorer, but the template author can also control the selection of templates using a master template with document-selection logic built into it.

Convert templates from other systems to XpressDox format
March 17, 2011

HotDocs, GhostFill and other templates can easily be converted for use with XpressDox Document Assembly.

Foreign Templates to XpressDox syntax conversion
April 18, 2011

The syntax of HotDocs®, GhostFill® and other fields can be converted automatically to XpressDox syntax.

Working with LinkToDataSource
July 5, 2011

Often data bases are designed with information split over a number of tables but this information needs to appear to the end user as if it is in only one table. This can be achieved with data base joins, or else with the LinkToDataSource command.

How do I know what the data element name is?
July 7, 2011

The name of a data element is not always obvious when looking at the data element’s control on an interview screen. There is a way to find out the data element name for any control on the interview.

Understanding XpressDox Artefacts
November 14, 2011

XpressDox creates internal structures which can consume a lot of time for large templates.

Handling calculations and Regional Settings in XpressDox
February 15, 2012

Calculations with XpressDox need special consideration when working with number formats that are not compliant with US or UK regional settings.

Upgrading to Version 4
February 16, 2012

Version 4 of XpressDox contains some major changes. This article has advice for the template author on what to expect when upgrading from version 3 or earlier,

XpressDox Cloud – iFrame Integration and URL Structure
March 19, 2012

Source and Destination formatting in Version 4
April 16, 2012

Style handling when merging two templates has improved in Version 4, but needs to be understood to be really useful.

Install a third party data source
April 20, 2012

Data sources configured by another person can be included in your own configuration by using the New Data Source configuration wizard.

Working with strings
April 28, 2012

This cookbook recipe demonstrates various tricks in working with strings.

Configure A Data Source for an Elite Database
May 25, 2012

There is a lot of information kept in the practice management systems, and XpressDox data sources enable this information to be made available to documents in Word.

Configure a Data Source for a Salesforce Database
June 19, 2012

XpressDox has a powerful data source configuration tool which makes SalesForce information from various linked tables available to any template.

Cooperating with Document Management Systems
June 29, 2012

XpressDox can make co-existence with a document management system seamless.

Use Chr to make an apostrophe
November 29, 2012

Trying to include some special characters in an XpressDox command is not possible just by simply typing the character into the Word template. The Chr function will do it for you.

Implement an optional option with ReplaceField
December 11, 2012

ReplaceField can be used to totally exclude controls from and interview, and force various outcomes.

Document Assembly and the Virtual Law Firm
March 5, 2013

A Virtual Law Firm operates with minimal physical infrastructure, providing services via the internet.

Best Practices for Advanced Authors: Part I
December 23, 2013

Developing applications in XpressDox requires some pre-planning and good practices.

Best Practices for Advanced Authors: Part II – The Interview.
December 30, 2013

The XpressDox Interview is a very important component of an XpressDox document application, and can occupy at least as much effort as ensuring the merged document is correct.

Apply a different letter head depending on the user’s choice
January 8, 2014

Sometimes a firm needs to issue letters on different letterheads, depending on circumstances, and so the user should be allowed to choose which letterhead to us.

Validating a NINO
January 8, 2014

The XpressDox Rule command with its IsRegexMatch option can be used to validate a NINO.

Creating new Data in a Data Source
January 28, 2014

Templates can be authored which guide the user in creating new records in a data base, for example opening a new account in an accounting system.

Conditional Numbering of Paragraphs
May 5, 2014

Some times the numbering of paragraphs is not known at the time a template is authored. This shows how to apply numbering dependent on the data supplied at the time the template is run.

Get the Last Day of the Month
May 29, 2014

Knowing a specific date, or maybe the name of the month, you want to get the date of the last day of that month.

Advanced Conditional Logic
August 13, 2015

Complex conditions involving tests for more than one condition can be easily coded in XpressDox

Manage the number of occurrences of a repeater
April 5, 2016

Apply restrictions governing the number of repeaters entered.

Data Sheets
June 6, 2016

Create a data sheet for each XpressDox template when it is saved.

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