17 August 2012

Hints & Help: Data Importing

This weeks' blog covers the subject of data import. With pupils, parents, lessons, instruments, receipts  schools, teachers and so on, there is an inordinate amount of data to put into the programs. Today, we will examine approaches to data import and the contexts in which they can be used.

The processes in question are as follows:
  • Import Data
  • Import Tuition Batch
Import Data is designed principally to handle large amounts of general data, and Import Tuition Batch is purpose built for the import and allocation of pupils. There are some key differences between these import methods, which we'll examine in more detail, but firstly it is important to know how we get to the data importing stage.

How Do I Get Started?
The first thing to do is to create a template for what you're about to import. Luckily, this is a quick and painless process.
  •  Firstly-ribbon menu Tools -> Housekeeping -> Import Data -> then select the field you wish to import. Click ‘next’ followed by Create Template, which will create the right kind of spreadsheet.
  • Within the spreadsheet there are a number of bold columns-these are required fields and must be filled in. Populate the fields with whatever information you have outside of the pre-requisites.
  • Save and close the document, and on the next screen of the Import Data process locate the spreadsheet you have just created. Clicking next allows the software to validate the data, and upon completion of this task press Next and your data selection will import into the system.















Fig 1. The Tools Tab, Housekeeping and subsequent drop-down menu.

Import Tuition Batch

Open the spreadsheet you’re using for the information. Only 3 headings are required for this method of data import.
  • UPID
  • First Name
  • Last Name
Save the spreadsheet with these headings only, from column C onwards. Make sure you only put in the data and no extra text headings in the spreadsheet fields, ie if it says UPID in the heading you don’t need to put it in the main body of the page as well:



Fig 2. Example spreadsheet 

Saving
The next step is to save the spreadsheet properly. The system will only recognise one type of file for this process, an Excel 97-2003 spreadseet/workbook(it’s named different things on some systems). Check this is a .xls document and save it, then close.
Importing
Click Pupils on the ribbon menu, on the far left click Import Tuition Batch. Click Open and search for the required file. Once you open it it should open in the aforementioned screen. Highlight the pupils you wish to move by clicking on the far left edge of the screen and dragging it down.

Once you’ve done this, click Import Pupils.









Fig 3. The Import Pupils/Create Tuition buttons.

















Fig 4. The selection screen with the pupils highlighted.

Once you have selected those Pupils, click Create Tuition. You will then be presented with this screen:
















Fig 5. The process screen.

From within this screen you can choose the School, Year, Activity plan etc. Once the criteria are all satisfactory, click the Start Process button at the top left and the system will populate the required fields with the selected information.

Import Data

One of the largest amounts of data you will have to input into the system is instrument details. Within Ensemble and its associated programs it is possible to import the details of the instruments and their serial numbers, which makes keeping track of your hires significantly easier. In order to bring the instruments into the system, you first need to create a template. The template is effectively an Excel spreadsheet pre-populated with the headings required for the system to recognise  the data instantly and attribute it to the correct areas. For example, the template created for the instrument serial numbers automatically contains the headings InstrumentSerialNumber, InstrumentType and InstrumentLocation.




Fig 6. An example of the Instrument Import Data template.

Both the Import Data and Import Tuition Batch are essential tools in compiling appropriate and useful information into the database. We hope that this week's blog has been of use to you, especially with the new term coming up!

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