Your IntuiFace experience can write to and import data from an Excel spreadsheet - stored in the .xlxs format - thanks to the Excel Interface Asset (IA). Each tab in a workbook - i.e. each spreadsheet - is represented by a unique Excel IA. See image below.

The default visual representation of each Excel row is a horizontally-oriented Group collection filled with either an Image or Text asset for each column. These Group collections are placed within a vertical Asset Grid collection to vertically represent all rows in the spreadsheet.

Video demo

Have a look at the video below to see how the Excel interface asset works and how you can change the data templateused to display the contents of each row.

 

How to import an Excel spreadsheet

NOTE: Check the Important Notes below to learn how to properly format an Excel spreadsheet before importing it into an IntuiFace experience.

To import an Excel spreadsheet you can either:

  • From the Interface Assets panel, click the Add an Interface Asset button, click Excel then browse your PC's file system to select your Excel workbook
    OR
  • Drag-and-drop the Excel workbook from File Explorer into Composer.
    • A drag & drop on any of the Composer panels will create Excel interface assets for each spreadsheet within the workbook.
    • A drag & drop on the scene will both create Excel interface assets for each spreadsheet and will create a default visual representation - a [data template[(/kb/interface-assets/data-template-for-collections-populated-by-interface-assets) - for each spreadsheet.

New with IntuiFace Version 5.2.5

If your Excel spreadsheet references graphic media stored locally, such as images placed in a folder located next to the Excel workbook, drag & drop the Excel workbook and the folder containing your media files at the same time. Everything will be imported correctly into your IntuiFace project. See this section below for a detailed discussion about referencing external media from within an Excel spreadsheet.

Excel_D_d.jpg

How to update an already imported Excel spreadsheet

For Composer, starting with IntuiFace Version 5.2.5

When importing an Excel spreadsheet into Composer, the corresponding Excel workbook is copied into a sub-folder of your IntuiFace project. You can easily locate your Excel file or even edit it in Excel by using the context menu of the Excel interface asset. Right-click any Excel interface asset in the Interface Assets panel and select either Edit in Excel or Open file location.

Note:

  • The Excel interface asset - and associated data templates - will update five seconds after the Excel workbook is saved and closed in Excel.
  • Microsoft Excel must be preinstalled in order to edit Excel spreadsheets.

When your Excel file is opened in Microsoft Excel, perform any of the changes described below. In all cases, you need to close the file in MS Excel for the changes to be recognized by Composer.

  • add or remove rows: all existing bindings will be preserved.
  • add or remove a column: New properties corresponding to new columns will appear. Bindings to removed columns will be lost.
  • add a new sheet: a new Interface Asset corresponding to this sheet will be created.
  • rename a column or a sheet: all existing bindings on modified columns / sheets will be lost.
  • remove a sheet: all existing bindings for the removed sheet will be lost.

For Composer, prior to IntuiFace Version 5.2.5

The type of change made to an already-imported Excel spreadsheet determines how the Excel interface asset is notified of the change.

  • If you only add or remove rows - i.e. no columns are added or removed - then take either of the following two approaches. In both cases, the Excel interface asset will update five seconds after the change is submitted.
    • Replace the original spreadsheet with the new one using, for example, copy/paste. You will find the original spreadsheet within the IntuiFace project in the subfolder Files\InterfaceAssets\[ExcelFileName]_xlsx.
      OR
    • Open the existing spreadsheet in Excel, make your changes, then save the spreadsheet AND close Excel. As noted previously, the original spreadsheet is located within the IntuiFace project in the subfolderFiles\InterfaceAssets\[ExcelFileName]_xlsx
  • If you add / remove one or more columns or sheets, this fundamental change to the structure of the Excel file requires you to go through the import process described above again.
    • Do not make these changes in the originally imported Excel file. These changes will not be noticed.
    • The safest procedure is to copy / paste the current version of your Excel file from the project folder to another location (e.g. your desktop), apply your modifications, then import this modified workbook into Composer.
    • Keep the same name for the Excel file and each of the worksheets it contains. This will ensure all bindings created for the original Excel file will continue to work.

NOTE: If you have already imported an Excel file and plan to update it, do not rename already imported spreadsheets. If you still do so, you will have to recreate every binding made using the original file.

For Player for Windows

You can find the Excel files within the IntuiFace project in the subfolder Files\InterfaceAssets\[ExcelFileName]_xlsx. You can open the Excel file and add or remove rows but you should not change the structure (column / sheets) of the Excel file for the Experience to remain working properly.

You can also replace the Excel file with a new one, provided they have the same structure (column / sheet names).

For Player for Kiosks & Player for Tablets

The ability to directly update an Excel spreadsheet on iPad, Android, Chrome, Samsung SSP and webOS Signage devices is not supported. To update the spreadsheet for these Players, make the changes using Composer - see previous section - and then redeploy the experience.

Properties, Triggers & Actions

Properties

Actions

Referencing Media Files Not Listed in the Content Library

You can reference either a Web-hosted or local image, video or PDF document in an Excel spreadsheet cell.

  • For a Web-based file: simply enter the media URL in the Excel cell. You can see this approach in the video at the top of this article. An example URL:http://content7.flixster.com/movie/11/16/93/11169357_pro.jpg
  • For a local file, you should use a relative path, with the in-project location of your Excel file as the starting reference point. See this note below for more information about where the spreadsheet is stored in your experience. Alternatively you may use an absolute path like c:\temp\myImage.png. But those exact paths must exist on all PC running the player - and those paths will never work on player for Tablet or Kiosk.

We highly recommend to use of relative paths to make your experiences easier to deploy across multiple devices. A best practice is to create a media folder next to your Excel file located in{Project_Folder}\Files\InterfaceAssets\{YourExcelName_xslx}. Give this folder any name you wish. For example, "image". You can then enter the following path in your Excel cells to reference an image:image/MyImage.png.

(click to enlarge)
referencemedia.PNG

Important Notes

  1. Each column must have a title in the first row as these titles are used to represent the list of "properties" for a given spreadsheet. What Composer refers to as Row #1 is actually the 2nd row of an Excel spreadsheet. Each title mustbe different for Composer to be able to read excel's columns.
  2. A spreadsheet name must contain at least one character. A spreadsheet with a name comprised only of numbers will not import successfully.
  3. When selecting an Excel workbook while creating an Excel Interface Asset, the corresponding .xlxs file is copied and placed into your project at the following location: C:\[Project_Path]\[Project_Name]\Files\InterfaceAssets\[Excel_Filename]_xlxs
    As a result, all modifications performed by third party services must be applied to this local copy. (The Add rowaction also operates on this local copy.) The original file is not monitored by Composer or Player.
  4. When modifying the local copy of your Excel workbook - either manually or via an external service - the workbook must be both saved and closed before changes are taken into account by IntuiFace. Changes are recognized by IntuiFace approximately five seconds after closing the workbook.
  5. .xlxs files output by other spreadsheet software, such as libreOffice, are not supported. You must use Microsoft Excel 2007 or later.
  6. Do not use "State" or "Row" as a column name. These are a reserved words.
  7. Only PDF documents can be read from an excel reference. IntuiFace will not read Office documents referenced in Excel.

Experience Samples

If you want to rebuild the experience in the above video on your own, you can download the Excel file used in the video from here.

In Composer's Experiences panel you will find - in the Samples tab - several examples using the Excel Interface Asset as a data source:

  • DIY Shopping Catalog
  • Restaurant Menu
  • Endless Aisle
  • Interactive Maps
  • Photo Exhibition (designed for iPad and Android tablets)
  • Local attractions (portrait mode)