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Cleaner Data Templates with New Checkbox and Comments Support

Previously if you wanted to display a checkbox in a Word or Excel data template, you needed to use a fairly involved formula to produce a Unicode character for the ticked or un-ticked box.
In the same vein, when you’ve needed to use long formulae to achieve a desired output, the syntax for this often resulted in word wrapping and distortion of your template’s layout, making it harder to design.

Today we’ve added support for placeholders in comments, plus a new CBOX() function – making it easier than ever to use advanced display outputs in your Data Templates.

Improved Check Box Support 

To date, the way to display a check box in your template was to include a function such as:

{{(IF(SELECTED({{myfield}}, 'Oranges'), 'u2611', 'u2612'))}}

This leveraged our Unicode support by outputting either a ☑ (Unicode character 2611) or a ☒ (Unicode 2612).

We’ve now built this functionality into the formula engine via the new CBOX() function.
Starting today, you can instead use:

{{(CBOX({{myfield}}, 'Oranges'))}}

Much neater isn’t it 🙂

On top of this, we previously required you to format checkbox syntaxes with Segoe UI Symbol font in order to get accurate PDF outputs.
No longer!  
When you use a CBOX function in your template, our template engine automatically applies Segoe UI Symbol to the placeholder area.
This means your template should always display checkboxes correctly.

And yes – multiple choice answers are supported by the CBOX functions 🙂


Placeholders & Formulae in Word/Excel Comments

That’s not all though – we’ve also added support for adding placeholder and formula syntax as Word/Excel comments.

Why is this useful?
Often when building a template, your formula or placeholder syntax is too long to fit in the designated area of the template.  
The result is ugly word wrapping and it becomes harder to see how the template layout looks because of the distortion of the placeholder text.

Now of course the actual generated result still comes out just fine, but we wanted to make it easier to design your templates without having to constantly test the generated output to see if output formatting remained correct.

What we needed was a way to “annotate” the placeholder/formula syntax onto specified text in the template.
Comments (found under the Review tab in Word & Excel) were the perfect answer, since these hover above the Word/Excel content without changing the layout.

Our template generation engine previously ignored comments, but now it actively scans for these and will replace text linked to a comment with the placeholder/formula syntax extracted from the comment itself. 

For more information, see the new CBOX documentation and Word/Excel Comments article on our support site.