A widget that auto-populates a template word doc with fields from selected layers

1963
8
03-21-2019 10:25 AM
Status: Open
RobinGoulette
New Contributor III

Currently, there appears to be no ready-to-use mechanism that easily extracts field data from layers into word documents. For example, my company uses a web app that I built to locate/track project locations that pop-up all across the US and Canada. Every time a new project/bid comes through, the PM's create a new point on the map and fill the fields accordingly. They also have a bid document they have to fill out with the same information they've already entered into those fields. So, to avoid duplicative work, I am looking for a way to auto-populate a word template with field values based on a selected point. Similar to the way the "mail-merge" tool in Microsoft Word works with Excel spreadsheets. I would like to be able to create my own Word doc template so formatting can stay consistent with our branding, then upload or connect that to the web app, and automatically fill the necessary fields. If not a widget, then a configurable setting in the pop-up that links/auto-populates online word docs might be a possibility? 

8 Comments
KoryKramer

Hi Robin Kuharski‌.  What product are you requesting this for?  I see that the Categories include ArcGIS Desktop (ArcGIS Pro), ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Content, ArcGIS Maps for Office, ArcGIS for Developers and Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS.  What product are you working in where you and staff are adding points and from which you would like to export those to a Word document?

RobinGoulette

Hi Kory. I am requesting this as a functionality added to ArcGIS Online/Web App Builder. I have a Web App built project managers utilize to create a point pertaining to their project location, and enter data related to that project (using Smart Editor widget). The data entered about that project is duplicative of another report (word doc) they fill out for each project opened. I'm requesting a tool (whether that be an extension of an existing Widget, or a new Widget dedicated to custom exporting), to export the values entered specific to each project into a word document. An "Export Widget" which allows the user to customize exports (to Microsoft Office programs - other than just csv/xlsx - specifically) would be ideal. 

You can auto-populate a Microsoft Word document by enacting a "mail merge" which takes values from fields in Microsoft Excel to populate a template word doc. It would be nice to automate this directly from ArcGIS Online. Currently, I download each project (as they are added) from the Attribute Table widget in the Web App as a csv, which I then convert to an xlsx, which I then mail merge with the template word document for the report. It would be nice to automate this directly from the Web App. 

I hope that helps to clarify.

KoryKramer

That's helpful.  Thank you!

AdamMele

I agree this would be a very useful tool to add into the ArcGIS Online/Web App Builder platform. Being able to move a project's attribute and visual data into an office document such as Word/PDF/etc. would ensure a project and the technology are accommodating to both users work styles and data reporting capability in an organization or public application.

The layout of the Word/PDF report could be customizable similarly to when we configure a custom attribute display popup on an AGOL map

Michael_Wozniak

I realize that this thread is a few years old and that as of yet there is no widget that accomplish this, but I was wondering if anyone has found a way of doing this programmatically.

KoenVerhoeven

@Michael_Wozniak , I created a work-around icm using FME server. FME server checks if a report needs to be generated (or is automatically triggered). After that it runs a workspace/script which creates and emails a word report. 

Bio_InfoAdmin

@KoenVerhoeven I’m trying to do the exact same thing! Would it be possible at all to see an example of the workspace and how you’ve set it up please?

Terralytics

@Bio_InfoAdmin , I can't share the full workspace, but I can share the steps I took:

  1. Start with a feature layer where you want to create reports for
  2. Add a new field which is called 'report' or something like that with two select options: Generate report' and 'Do not generate report'. Optionally you can also add other fields with email adress, etc. depending on your use case.
  3. Create a FME workspace. This workspace will  read the feature layer with your own preferred time interval. Read all objects with the value 'Generate report'
  4. Use the Word-styling transformers in FME and write the wordfile to a temporary location
  5. Add an Emailer transformer which uses the temp word file as attachment.
  6. At the end of the workspace, after succesfully sending the email, add a writer which updates the Feature layer. It should update the field 'report' to set it to the setting 'Do not generate report'.
  7. Upload your workspace to FME server and schedule it

Hopefully these steps will be sufficient. If you have any questions, just ask 🙂