The first item up today is to supply you with the proper link for the older Monarch Report documents. In the last post I erroneously duplicated the link to the current Monarch Reports on the main Datawatch site. That has since been corrected.
Right then, let’s move on to today’s business.
On day 7 of the 30 Days to Become a Better Monarch Modeler series, we’ll get to know our environment. No, not our surroundings; our Monarch environment. These are the rules that are in effect when Monarch is installed, which can be altered to an extent to better suit our needs.
The controls for these rules are found under the Options menu.
This is where Monarch remembers our favorite folders for the different types of files that we use in our work. We can set the default folder for each of the following needs:
- Report & PRF Files
- Import & External Lookup Files
- Model Files,
- Project Files, and
- Export Files
We can also define what our favorite file type is (the default extension) when we open files.
I find that the expectation that I’ll find my report files in one folder really doesn’t suit my needs, as I have access to multiple network locations, and prefer to organize my reports by topic, so that only reports of a specific nature are located in a specific folder. So I struggled with constantly navigating to different locations when opening reports.
Then I received a tip from my friend Nick Osdale-Popa that really helped. He recommended creating a folder that contained nothing but Windows shortcuts, or links, to other folders and then using that folder as the favorite folder for each of the Monarch folder types. This simple approach has saved me so much frustration and time.
In the Input Options dialog we have the rules that define some internationalization settings which help Monarch work for our locale. The default style and extraction pattern for dates and decimal number formatting are controlled here.
New to Monarch v10 is the ability to automatically trim leading and trailing spaces from our extracted fields, and the control for whether you want to use that in this model is set here.
In the report translation group we can:
- Set the method that is used for encoding the report (leave this as is unless Monarch is having trouble displaying specific characters that you expect to see).
- We can choose to ignore some non-printable characters that are embedded in the report that cause some trouble for Monarch.
- We can hide the first n characters in the report, and define some rules that control page breaks.
- Finally, we have some control over trapping characters by indicating that the trap characters are case-sensitive and, if we have characters in the report that we want to use for trapping, but those characters are the same as Monarch’s default trap characters, we can elect to use an alternate character set for trapping.
If we’re working with Monarch Pro on an imported PDF or XPS (with v10) document, selecting one of these will invoke the import wizard which was displayed when the document was originally opened.
Export and Clipboard
It gets a little bit technical here. It’s in this dialog that we can define which internal file format we want Monarch to use when exporting different files. These options are available so that we can tailor our use of new Monarch software to support other older applications.
There are two important options for use when exporting Excel files to choose whether to include formatting and to use advanced features, such as outlining or including formulas (we’ll discuss those when we look at summaries in a few days).
Also on the General tab are some options relating to field names.
On the Text Files tab, we find the rules that define how to create fixed-length text files and delimited text files, and small section at the bottom of the dialog that relates to both types of files. There’s an option in this section that you may wish to deselect if you’re exporting CSV files that you or someone else is bringing into Excel, as Excel gives a box character in the last data row if the DOS end-of-file character is used at the end of the CSV file.
Finally on the Clipboard tab, we can choose to include the field names when copying from the Table or Summary window, and to use tab-delimited text (the default) or a fixed length format which was the only choice for Monarch software up to v7. If you find that copying very long numbers, such as product numbers or other key values, into Excel yields troublesome scientific notation in Excel, then choose to use the fixed length format then redo your copy and paste into Excel operation for a much more useable result.
The View options control what Monarch displays. Perhaps the most used feature here is the value to display for null values. Keep in mind though that what you choose to have Monarch display will only be a truly displayed value. The actual value will continue to a null value. So if you choose to use 0 (zero), or Null, or even “HELP!”, when you copy these to Excel, Excel will not show “HELP!” but instead will not have a value in the cell. That’s because Monarch is passing Excel the null value, not your chosen text.
New to Monarch v10 is the ability to define custom time intervals, such as quarters or fiscal years. I encourage you to explore this, but I won’t delve into it now as there’s so much to discuss that it’s worthy of its own post here on ExcelWithMonarch.com – one day.
If you regularly use secure systems to obtain or export your data, this dialog may be able to save you some time and effort as you can store your user name and password. Monarch’s online help doesn’t explicitly say so (at least I couldn’t find it) but I’d be surprised if the data that you supply isn’t encrypted somehow when Monarch stores it for future use.
Unless you’re using a very low screen resolution, I’d recommended having Monarch all of the available buttons in its toolbars.
New to Monarch v10 is the highly useful ability to color code the shading for the different template styles within the report window. You can choose which color you want to see for each template style. Also tucked away in this dialog is a checkbox to display the greenbar effect in the report window. Greebar used to be activated and deactivated by pressing Ctrl-g, but that doesn’t have any effect in Monarch v10.
Make these the default settings
You may have noticed this checkbox in many of the Option dialogs. If you’d Monarch to remember the settings that you’ve chosen for a particular dialog, then check this box and Monarch will store your settings and will use them in your future models.
Your Task for Today
Review the contents of each of the dialogs available under the Option menu. You may find that making changes will improve how your model(s) perform, but you also may not need to change a thing.
What’s important is knowing what’s available, where it can be found, and what it does.
To rebel or not rebel, that is the question
We’re all bound by rules and regulations and such, but when it comes to working with Monarch we have some input as to what those rules are. Make the system work for you and you’ll excel with Monarch.