Input Parameters Reference

This article describes the Input Parameters Interface, which is used to create and edit Input Parameters.

For details about how to use Input Parameters, please see How Do I Use Input Parameters?.

Due to limitations, you can define a maximum of 200 Input Parameters within the Designer.  If you attempt to run a template to output in the Designer with more than 200 Input Parameters, you will get an error.

Accessing the Define Parameters Interface

Open the Define Parameters Interface by clicking on the "Input Parameters" button in the Windward Office tab:

The Define Parameters Interface

The Input Parameters Interface has two main sections (click on the bookmarks below to jump forward to that section):

Quick Access Buttons

Input Parameter Tab

The image below is the Input Parameters Interface when it has been opened for the first time, before any Input Parameters have been created.

Quick Access Buttons

Use the Quick Access Buttons to:

  • Add - adds a new variable by creating a new Input Parameters Tab. Each new variable is created on a new Tab.
  • Rename - allows you to rename the currently selected variable. Renaming takes place in the Tab itself.
  • Save - saves current variables and their properties.
  • Cancel - cancels current variable and property changes. This will close the Input Parameters Interface.
  • Help - opens this article in a browser.

Input Parameter Tab

After clicking on the "Add" button, you'll see a new Input Parameter Tab:

  • Required - when checked, will require a value to be entered by the user before output can be generated.  This is applied on a per variable basis.
  • Type - see Variable Types below
  • Default - this is the value returned whenever your variable is used in the template, if no other value is entered into the "Run a Report" prompt when output is generated (see below).  It is a best practice to set this value as you will then be able to preview results when your variable is used in other Tags and Tag select statements.  This must be a value that is known to exist in the data source in order to work properly. 
  • Description - text entered in this field will appear in the "Run a Report" prompt when output is generated (see below).  This should be something that will assist the user in the type of information and in what format to input it.  

Variable Types

Variables are Input Parameters whose values are entered by the user when output is generated (see "Run a Report" prompt below).  To use the variable's value within the template, its type must be specified using the Input Parameter Tab Type field's drop down menu. The variable type can be any of the following:

Simple Variable Types

  • Currency - the data returned is formatted as a currency type with periods and commas used as separators depending on your region (e.g. for US regions it would be X,XXX,XXX.XX)
  • Integer - this type allows for both positive and negative numbers
  • Number - this type allows for only positive decimal numbers
  • Text - this type is a regular string of characters. This is typically used if you do not need to do calculations on the input data.

Input parameter length (maximum number of characters) is limited by the memory space in the CLR/JVM. On a 32-bit O/S probably about 1.5GB, and you’d then be maxing things out. Much more for 64-bit O/S.

Date Variable Type

This type allows you to create an Input Parameter as a date, either using a calendar date picker, or common recurring dates such as "Start of week."

  • Date - when the type is set to Date then a calendar date picker is presented to the user. The data returned is formatted as a date based on your region format settings, (e.g. a US-formatted date would appear as MM/DD/YYYY). 
  • Offset - this field only appears when type Date is selected.  This allows you to set a default value for the date variable.  It also allows you to set date offsets:
    • Specified Date - this will convert the default field to a calendar date picker set to the current date.  You can then specify a date to be used as the default date shown to the user when running the report.
    • Today - will always set the default date shown to the user as the current date.
    • Start of the week - will always set the default date shown to the user as the date of the start of the current week.
    • Start of the month - will always set the default date shown to the user as the date of the start of the current month.
    • Start of the quarter - will always set the default date shown to the user as the date of the start of the current quarter.
    • Start of the year - will always set the default date shown to the user as the date of the start of the current year.

Select Variable Type

This type allows you to define a SQL query to retrieve a list of values from the data source that a user can select from when output is generated. If the items returned are less than 50, a drop down box of data source values is provided, and if they are over 50 an input field is provided. The data entered is checked against the data source for validity.

The fields below are only enabled when the "Type" field is set to Select:

  • Datasource - this defines which data source the select in "SELECT(all)" field will query.
  • SELECT(all) - the SQL query that returns the list of values your users will choose from to assign to the variable when output is generated.  This can be written by hand or built with the SQL Select Wizard button at the far right of this field.
  • Wizard icon - launches the SQL Selection Wizard to graphically build the SQL query.
  • Select format - Enables you define how each row of data returned will be displayed in a list to the user.
    • <blank> - If there is no value entered then Windward will use variable arguments in the order {0}, {1}, ... for each column of data returned.
    • Value Example - {0:N0} if the COUNT returned for the number of rows is 10249, then this would display that number as 10,249.  The syntax here is the C# string.Format() syntax - refer to that for complex formatting.
  • Dataset... - allows you to define which columns returned from the select that should be used for variable value selection. Enable a column to be viewable by checking the box next to it.
    • Set Key - when two or more columns are returned for the select, it allows you to choose which column should act as the primary key. This is useful when you have multiple values that may be the same and you need to specify a unique count of all values. The currently set key column will have a p icon next to it in the list.
    • Save - saves all changes made.
    • Cancel - closes the window and cancels all changes made.
    • Help - launches the AutoTag wiki help page for this feature.
  • Test... - this will launch the test variable select window.  It enables you to see the values and default value returned from your built select and test a variable value to ensure your report will run properly.  All errors

Run a Report Prompt

When you generate output from a report template with Input Parameters defined, you'll be prompted to enter values for the Input Parameters, and any descriptive text you entered will also be displayed:

Enter the desired values (or use the defaults), then the Report Designer output will complete, using those values.


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