The Publisher is a powerful tool designed to give you an intuitive approach to building your Document Templates. Of course, when beginning with a new design tool such as the Publisher, it is important to understand a few things before even starting your design. Below we have highlighted some of the Best Practices for your reference when designing your Document Templates.
Know Your Data
When you are starting to create a new Template your first step will be to add a Data Source. For this reason the best place to get started when designing your Document Templates is to begin with understanding your data that will be populating your resulting document.
You will need to know where certain values are located within your data, which elements are repeating, and where specific flag elements might be located to display Conditional Paragraphs and Texts.
A great place to accomplish this is by viewing the Data Pane. You can read more about assigning your data source and viewing the Data Representation Tree in the Assigning a Data Source section of our product help documentation. You should first assign your data source, and then navigate through your data to inspect what elements and attributes are available to you.
When you have a good understanding of your data source, it is recommended for you to think about pagination before you even begin to add content into your Document Template.
Before you even begin your design, we recommend that you have a firm understanding of what your document will consist of, drawing an outline of your document on paper is a good way to start. You should be prepare to answer questions such as the following when thinking about your document results and pagination:
- Does your document contain headers and footers? If yes, do these change from page to page?
- Does your document contain content or formatting in the left or right side regions?
- What are the page dimensions that you need for my document? Do these dimensions change at all?
- What orientation should your document output be? Does this change from one page the next?
- Do you want certain pages of your documents to be repeated or displayed based upon the data source?
By asking yourself questions of this nature, you will begin to build your document before actually designing it in the Publisher. Perhaps you may even want to sketch pages and mark with dimensions and headers and footers. This will provide a great reference for you as you work with Pagination to create different layouts and page sets accordingly.
We recommend this practice of thinking about pagination as a means to assisting you in designing the layouts and structure before even adding content to your Document Template. All your pagination needs can be accomplished in the Page Layout Tab as well as the Pagination Pane. You can read more about working with the Pagination of your Document Template in the Pagination section of the help documentation.
At this point, you should have a firm understanding of what information is present in your data source and have structured your Document Template using Pagination. It is now recommended to think about the content you would like to populate your template. It is important to think of elements in your document as one of two types: static or dynamic.
Static content is added into the Design Surface and will appear in your output as you have added it in your template.
Dynamic content can vary depending on the data source used. It can either display data directly from the source, conditionally show static and dynamic elements, or even repeat for every element found in your data. When your document is rendered, your data source will be used to display your dynamic content accordingly making an entirely unique output.
Figure 1: Static text is used to describe the dynamic content that will be displayed.
Figure 2: The output displays the static text and the populated dynamic value.
It is a recommend best practice to first think about what content in your template will be static and what will be dynamic. Questions such as the following may help you conceptualize your template before even beginning with content design.
- Does my document have paragraph sections that will need to be displayed only if certain conditions are met in my data?
- Do I have a need to generate a repeating paragraph for a particular item in my data?
- What information on each page will be coming from the data source, and what content will always be the same no matter what the data source is?
- As my template is used with many different data sources, do items like formatting and image usage need to change?
With the answers to these questions in mind, you can being to build your Document Templates.
When creating your Document Template, you will be adding a combination of both static and dynamic content. You are able to insert and configure all of your dynamic content needs from the Insert Tab in the Publisher.
However, using the Data Pane, you will have quick insert options for dynamic content such as Repeating, paragraphs, tables, and inline text as well has fields. To insert these items select the data field from the Data Pane and drag and drop into the Design Surface. You will then be prompted with a contextual menu which you can select from.
Using Subdocuments is a great way to split large documents into smaller, more manageable pieces. Subdocuments are a powerful way to improve efficiency and consistency across your document templates. For any of your designed content, you can preserve your work in a Subdocument. By doing so, you can then insert these Subdocuments into other templates.
You are also able to share these files with others who are creating Document Templates. This means that you will not have to recreate the section of content that has already created, but perhaps more importantly, when you need to change something within that section of content you will only need to change in one location and consequentially all of your templates using this Subdocument will be updated. You are able to create subdocuments from the Layout Menu in the Properties Pane
When you are creating a new template, you should create a new or assign and existing stylesheet before typing anything. Using Stylesheets during your Document Template design is a great way to improve efficiency and consistency across your organization's documents and their design by easily organizing all the formatting styles. Using stylesheets is also the easiest way to re-brand a particular document.
In the Publisher you are able to visually create a new stylesheet from the New Style Pane. Or you can assign an existing stylesheet that you have created using the Manage Styles button in the Home tab. Whether you create your own or use the Publisher's default stylesheet, you can single click to apply formatting to content in a speedy and consistent manner.
In the Publisher, you can set up multiple language translations for your Document Template. This will enable you to be render your template in a number of different languages without needing to create multiple templates. This means that during the rendering process, a specific translation can be applied and all of the static text in your document will be replaced using the translation that you set up in the Publisher. In the Publisher you are able to easily create a new Translation file or you can upload on that has already been created from the Review tab.