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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

BI Publisher and Microsoft Word...check boxes, headers, and footers Oh My!

One should not underestimate the fact that if you are going to be doing RTF templating with BI Publisher Desktop, you better be more than a little familiar with Microsoft Word. Of course we know you can use other tools for templating as well like Adobe Acrobat. The focus of this post is to study an area that has plagued me a bit- Header and Footers.

There is a lot you can do in header and footers, and even more that you CANNOT do. So, unless you're going to be making VERY simple headers, or you'd like your headers created dynamically, or other fancy bits...I'd suggest becoming familiar with the following XSL tags:

These nice tags make your life SO much easier when you're trying to do fancy things in your headers that Word just doesn't seem to like. If you have already tried to use BI Publisher's ever-so-nice tool set that lets you directly insert form fields, stop right there. You can't use it in a header, at least not yet! You have to code the actual XSL element into the header, that look like the tags above instead of simply doing a drag and drop from the XML palette.

Where the 'body' tags come in very handy is when you're trying to incorporate special characters and check boxes and things of that nature- or advanced logic. Ever need BI Publisher check boxes embedded into your template and in the header? Not fun! Here's how I got this to work, and what I tried that did NOT WORK. If anyone has tips or extra hints on this, comment or drop me a line.

As you can see, above I have a Quotation and Acknowledgement checkbox structure. You can use simple if/else logic in your header since you're likely using the 'start:body' and 'end body' tags I mentioned. These tags, again, allow you to define a header and footer using xsl and allow you more flexibilty in terms of what is allowed in a header and footer.

Now, the actual check boxes themselves are WingDings font. I inserted them into my template using the MS Word options: INSERT-->SYMBOL--> and then chose either the checked box or the empty box. Since this IS a font, and not one that is native to Oracle Applications (since it is a TTF or true type font), you will need to map to the font locally using your xdo.cfg file (to run it locally), or if you need it to appear in a BI Publisher Report out of Oracle Apps, you need to register to the font in Oracle Apps' Font Manager.

To see how to map fonts either locally or in Apps, please see my other post on fonts (yes, a barcode IS a font): fonts post. That post will lead you through the process, and you will understand where the screen shot below came from. One final thing to note that is not included in that post is a special little area JUST for checkboxes. If you need to register the WingDings font for a checkbox to Apps, in the font/template manager there is an area for checkbox characters seen below. I entered the following corresponding with the WingDings character codes entered through Word:

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