Grid design in Facility and ePortal - Part 7 (conditional formatting on ePortal assessment grids)

Because assessment data entry is primarily done via ePortal I'm going to use screenshots from ePortal rather than Facility from now on.

ePortal will use the grid that is specified in the design of the Result Entry Control template, but in order for this to work properly we must export the grid from Facility and load it into ePortal via the Facility Controller:

  1. In Facility, go to Assessment | Advanced | Grid design for Result Entry and highlight the grid you wish to use in ePortal
  2. Click Advanced | Export and save the file to an appropriate location
  3. In Facility Controller, go to Server | Grid definitions
  4. Click Import
  5. Browse to where you saved your grid file
  6. Click Open
  7. Restart the Facility Dataserver and Facility ePortal services

Note that if a grid already exists with the same name as the one you are importing (that is, the name of the grid itself not the name of the grid definition file you exported it to) you will need to delete the original one first before you can load the new one.

Limitations of grids in ePortal

A good deal of the formatting in ePortal is fixed so not all of the settings you can make in a grid design in Facility will carry over to ePortal:

  • Font sizes are fixed throughout the grid
  • No formatting is applied to the column headings
  • No formatting is applied to the leftmost row (the one which usually contains student names)
  • Cell and column borders are fixed
  • Column widths and displacements are not applied
  • It is not possible to force an extra line in a column heading using '\' as it is in Facility

Grid customisation in ePortal, therefore, tends to focus on:

  • Altering the display of text in the column headings
  • Changing the background colour of a column or cell
  • Changing the text to bold or italic

Conditional formatting in assessment grids

We looked at applying conditional formatting to the left hand column of an attendance grid in Facility in Part 4. The principles are the same when adding conditional formatting to the main part of an assessment grid on ePortal.

  1. Make a copy of the 'Standard' Serco grid in Assessments | Advanced | Grid design for result entry and give it a relevant name
  2. Highlight the new grid in the list
  3. Click on the Columns tab
  4. Highlight the row the with value res Reslevel1.Name
  5. Click Conditions

You will see that there is already an entry in the Conditional elements list. This is the element that applies a blue background to any column in an assessment that is set as read-only.

To start off, let's try changing the formatting so read-only columns appear yellow instead.

  1. Highlight the condition
  2. Click the Border | Display border
  3. Click Colour
  4. Pick a light yellow colour from the palette
  5. Click OK
  6. Click OK
  7. Click Border | Selected border
  8. Repeat stages 4 to 6, this time picking a darker yellow
  9. Remember there are lots of 'OK's and 'Modify's' to do before the grid is properly saved:

  10. Click Modify
  11. Click OK
  12. Click Modify
  13. Click OK

Before we can view the grid in action there are a couple more stages, both described in earlier episodes:

  1. Attach the new grid to a Result Entry template you wish to test it out with in Assessments | Advanced | Result Entry Control templates. You'll need to choose a template that includes one or more read-only columns.
  2. Load the grid into ePortal, remembering to restart the services.

Hopefully you should end up with something that looks like this:

As an example it's not hugely exiting. Let's try changing it so that we use something other than the read-only flag to trigger the conditional formatting. Most useful is the ability to base the formatting on the value of the cell itself.

Go back to Assessments | Advanced | Grid design for result entry, bring up the grid in question and the Conditional colouring box (stages 1 to 5 in the first list in this section). Note the value in the Condition field:


If you put the cursor into the middle of that formula and hit the F9 key you will bring up the data tree. Double-clicking Resstuitem under Top level objects will bring you back to the top of the tree. Resstuitem  basically means the current cell - and the various nodes will take you off into different types of data relating to the current cell, such as what assessment it relates to, what student it relates to and so on.

If we want to base our formatting on the actual value of the cell, we just choose 'value' from the list. This will return:


...into the Conditions box. We then just need to specify which value will trigger our condition. If we had an assessment containing A Level grades we might want to highlight just the 'A' grades - in which case we would need to enter:


Once we've Modify'd, OK'd and Save'd our changes a few times, attached our grid to an appropriate template and loaded it into ePortal, we should get something like this: