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Topic Title: Example: using forms in automate
Topic Summary: Forms for user input/status updates
Created On: 04/06/2006 07:47 PM
Status: Read Only
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 04/06/2006 07:47 PM
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Apprentice (20-49)

Posts: 47
Joined: 10/06/2005

Hi all,

One of the limitations I've tried to get around has been using a 'form' of some sort to interact with the user in Automate.  I noticed one of the example tasks used constant messageboxes to update progress, but that wasn't great because the users loses control because of the contstant 'focusing' of the messagebox.

VBscript didn't seem to help - it only seems to allow webforms.  The other option - a 'control panel' in excel using the get and set cells command is ok, but does throw an error if, for example, the cell you're trying to get is being edited when you try to read it.

The attached (unzip to c shows a really simple example of using a userform.  Essentially it uses the VBA form capabilities of Excel as a 'shell' (all you need to do is drag controls onto the form in the desired way, no VBA necessary).  Then Automate can manipulate those controls as it wishes.

The example shows setting of a checkbox and some text, but you could just as easily 'get' the value from your textbox to capture commands and trigger events for example.

A couple of points:

a) Right now the macro security warning is a bit of a pain - you can set macro security to low to avoid that.  Using 'open as invisible' for the workbook doesn't seem to get around it, because no requester comes up but the task stops.  Setting the task to proceed anyway (on error) after 3 seconds doesn't work either.
b) You could certainly Automate to capture the selection from combo and listboxes - however changing those options at runtime is probably not possible without VBA coding (eg you would write the list of options to a text file, then your VBA form would have code to read those in and populate the combo box).
c) There are other controls available in forms but I'm not sure which common control dll's they are in.  Pls let us know if you know any handy ones.

There are posts on the net showing how to have progress bars and things like that on these forms, which would add a professional touch to a 'task progress' form which would show checkboxes indicating the status of various things.  Just a list of checkboxes showing where you are in a task would be good anyway I'm sure.

Anyway, if anyone makes other improvements or does the 'combobox load from file' idea, please post it to this thread!

Edited: 04/06/2006 at 07:48 PM by markfoley
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