Grid design in Facility and ePortal - Part 1 (editing headings)

Facility grid designs offer a lot of scope for displaying useful data to your users. Grids are used frequently within the system - the assessment window, the roll call and registration windows and the assign teaching groups windows being the main ones. The assessment grid is also used by ePortal, though not all the formatting carries over.

Creating a new grid is simple – the easiest way is to copy one of the existing ones. In this article I’m going to use a Roll Call grid as an example, but most of the techniques can be used for the other types of grid.

  1. From the main menu in Facility, select Attendance | Advanced | Grid design for Roll Call attendance
  2. Highlight ‘AttendanceRolls’, which is the default grid that comes with the system
  3. Change the name in the Name field to something like ‘MyGrid’
  4. Click New
  5. Now highlight the grid and click Configure to start making changes to the design
Editing attendance views

The Design grid view window

The Design grid view window is where we can edit the settings in our new grid. There are four tabs:

  • Records – for configuring how the student names down the left hand side of the grid are displayed
  • Columns – for configuring how the data in the other columns is displayed
  • Options – sets the default background colour
  • Printing – sets the default options for printing out the grid

Editing the Heading field

I’m going to focus on the editing the Heading field on the Records tab in this entry. This is where the student name is displayed. You’ll notice the format is the same as how the student name is coded when you’re writing a report in CMIS, and indeed, putting the cursor in the heading field and hitting the F9 key gives you access to the report tree. You can choose data items and construct formulas in the same way as you would a report.

So, let’s add a little formula that displays the initials of the student’s form tutor in brackets next to the student name:’ (‘’)’

   Design grid view

Having done that we need to save our changes and check that the grid displays properly.

  1. Click OK to register your changes and close the Design grid view window
  2. Click Modify in the Edit attendance grid window
  3. Click Close
  4. From the main menu, select Attendance | Attendance by roll call
  5. Right-click somewhere around the edge of the Edit roll call attendance window (just not in the middle bit where the data gets displayed)
  6. Select Choose style
  7. Select ‘MyGrid’ in the Choose style for grid window
  8. Click OK
Choose style for grid

Now select a group of students and click Generate as you normally would in the Roll call window. With any luck, you should be able to see the changes we made to the grid.

Edit roll call attendance

You can use the full power of the CMIS reporting engine / data tree to retrieve information that is much more interesting than the student's tutor group. How about this one? It displays the cumulative percentage attendance for each student next to their name:

concat(,' (',int((Student.Attendstats.Possibleatt - Student.Attendstats.Numberabs)*100.0/Real(Student.Attendstats.Possibleatt)),'%)')

Edit roll call attendance

It is possible to add additional columns to the grid itself (a bit like the 'Id' column on the standard assessment grid), and I'll go through that in a future episode. Personally I think it looks neater to keep the main grid area just for the attendance data.

Grids and the configuration file 

One thing to remember about grids before we go any further is that they are stored in the configuration file rather than in the database itself, which means they are ‘user-specific’. This means any grid design you want other users to have access to needs to be exported and then imported by the other users so that it gets saved in their configuration file. It also means it is advisable to export a copy of your customised grids so that they are safe in the event that your own configuration file gets corrupt.

To export a grid

  1. From the main menu, select Attendance | Advanced | Grid design for roll call attendance
  2. Highlight ‘My Grid’
  3. Click Advanced and choose Export
  4. Browse to where you want to file, give it a name and click Open to save it.