In the last Connector we looked at how you can update specific property values in bulk using the Replace Data function from within the Process Navigator console. This is a very useful tool for finding and replacing changed roles and dates etc, especially if you are changing the same property across a whole set of maps. However, if you require different changes to multiple properties across several maps the Replace Data function can take a lot of time and there is a more efficient method for updating a variety of properties at the same time - Import Properties.
The Import Properties function is available from the Process Navigator console. It can be found from MultiMap > Import > Import Properties from Excel File. Microsoft Excel can be used to generate process maps as well as being used to control the data within them. Any process map which is created in Visio, and viewable as a VDX file from the Process Navigator Console, can be exported to Microsoft Excel.
By performing an Export to Excel all of the process information captured in your process map will be available in the form of a spreadsheet. This includes any properties you may have stored on any of the shapes in your maps including the all-important Activities, Deliverables and Nodes.
For every property completed in your process map there will be a corresponding column in the Excel spreadsheet. These columns are defined by the prefix Prop: for example the Prop:Responsibility column contains the data which appears in the Responsibility tab within your Activities. By updating the spreadsheet you can change multiple columns of property data and import these data changes all at once.
Once you have updated a spreadsheet you can import the changes into your maps through the Process Navigator Console. This allows you to select all or individual maps. For example, if you wanted to update the Claim Expenses map you would take an export of this map, edit the columns of property data you wanted to change and then import this back into the specific map. The images below show the process of importing properties using Excel.
Load the maps you want to import the properties to. This can be limited to 1 map if required or all of the maps available to you from your console. Then select Multi-Map > Import > Import Properties from Excel file.
Browse to the Excel file containing the updated information.
Select the Excel file so it appears in the window.
At this point you can then select to import in to all previously loaded maps or indeed all of the maps in the console. Select Ok and Process Navigator will run the import.
To check that the changes have been imported, select a map you had loaded (and expect to see the changes appear in), and right-click to select Edit in Microsoft Visio.
The map will open and you will be able to check the property has been updated in the appropriate area e.g. within the Node Properties for properties such as Process Owner and Process Author or within the Activity properties for data such as Responsibility or Risk.
If you are generating maps using Microsoft Excel the Import Properties functionality can be a real asset. Once you have generated your map in the first instance you will have a very basic Excel template like the one below.
If you then wanted to add properties to the process you can edit this existing basic template. You can add columns for property data to the spreadsheet. (Note that if you want the properties to appear on the right-click Properties tab of a shape, then all of the properties you want to appear in your process maps will need to be in your Properties file as well). To add a column for a property into the spreadsheet just add the property name, without spaces after the prefix Prop:. See the example below.
To find out what a property is called it is best to reference your Properties file. The property name which needs to be in the Excel spreadsheet column is the rowName from your Properties file e.g. Responsibility in the example below. So the Property column in your spreadsheet appears as Prop: Responsibility.
To push this newly added data in to your process map use the Import Properties feature follow the steps as detailed above.