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Automation Basics

Excel Workspace

The Excel Workspace is an Excel workbook that you can use as a scratchpad, a separate file from the workbooks you want to work with in your automation where to keep formulas and manipulate Excel data. You define the Excel Workspace when you create a project, and you can later edit it if needed by clicking the Configure Workspace button in the StudioX ribbon menu. By default, the workspace is a file named Excel_Workspace.xlsx that is created by StudioX in the project folder.

To help you get started, the Excel Workspace comes with a predefined set of common formulas that you can start using right away. The formulas are split on several sheets based on the area they apply to:

  • Date - Today's date, days from last week and last month, first and last business days of this month, date format, converting text to a date in a locale-independent way.
  • Text - Remove spaces from text, return the number of characters, convert to upper or lower case, split full name in first and last, replace text, check if text is found.
  • Number - Round to integer or to two decimals, convert text to number in a locale-independent way.
  • File - Split a file name or file path to get the file name without extension, file extension, folder path.

Open the Excel Workspace after you create a project and browse through it to see all available formulas.

Common Scenarios

To help speed up the building of automations for common tasks, StudioX suggests activities you may want to add to your project based on the activities you have already added. When you click the plus_icon icon on the Designer panel, the Add an Activity search box appears with suggestions at the top of the list in the Common Scenarios section. Double-click an option and that scenario is added to your workflow.

A common scenario can be a single activity or a set of activities that are grouped together in a logical order. All you need to do after you add a common scenario to your automation is select the data needed for each activity.

Common scenarios are context-sensitive, the suggestions differ depending of where exactly you want to add the activity. For example, if you click plus_icon inside an empty Excel File Card, the Common Scenarios listed are related to Excel tasks, such as Iterate through a table or range.

Activities

Activities are the basic building blocks of an automation project, each representing one or more manual tasks that StudioX can automate. A sequence of related, interconnected activities makes up an automation project. When you consider automating a repetitive process, you must first break down that process into each of the individual manual steps you take and then identify the activities in StudioX that automate each of those steps.

For example, let’s say that you want to automate the following workflow:

  1. Open a spreadsheet.
  2. Open a business application
  3. Copy the data from a cell in the spreadsheet.
  4. Paste the copied data into a field in a business application.
  5. Click a button in the application to submit the data.

When you create a project in StudioX to automate that process, you use the following activities:

  1. Excel File Card to tell StudioX which spreadsheet to use.
  2. Application Card to tell StudioX which application to use.
  3. Type Into to select the input field in the business application where to copy the data as well as the cell you want to copy the data from.
  4. Click to tell StudioX which button to click to submit the data in the application.

There isn’t always a one-to-one relationship between a manual task and a StudioX activity. As you can see in the above example, the Type Into activity covers two manual tasks because you use it to indicate both the source and the destination of the copied text.

Cards

A card is a special type of activity available for certain applications that serves two purposes:

  • It enables StudioX to integrate with the application and lets you access its data while building the automation directly from StudioX. After you define the scope of a card, its data becomes available to activities in your automation project, both inside and outside the card. For example, when configuring an Excel activity, you can select an individual cell, range, or sheet from a workbook you added to an Excel File Card straight from StudioX. Alternatively, StudioX can open the Excel file for you and you can simply select which data to use directly from Excel.
  • It works as a container for activities you perform in that application. When you create an automation for tasks you perform in one of the supported applications, you start by adding a card to the Designer panel, and then you can add the activities you want to perform inside it. For example, to automate tasks you perform in an Excel file, you start by adding an Excel File Card, for tasks you perform with messages from your mail account, you start with an Outlook Account Card. If your automation contains tasks performed in multiple Excel files or Outlook accounts, you add a card for each file or account and group the corresponding activities inside each card.

The following cards are available in StudioX:

Configuring Activities

Activities receive data as input and, upon execution, can generate output data.
Most activities have one or more fields that enable you to configure their properties. To select the data to use for a field, either in the body of the activity or in the Properties panel, click plus button on the right side of the field. A menu appears with options that are relevant in the context of that field, activity, and parent activity. Depending on the context, the menu contains a subset of the following available options:

  • Data from applications added to cards in your project. For example:
    • Excel - Data from the Excel Workspace defined for the project and from any Excel file added to an Excel File Card. You can click Indicate in Excel to open the workbook and select in it, or select directly from StudioX using the available options, such as cells, ranges, tables, or sheets.
    • Outlook - Data from any account added to an Outlook Account Card. You can use data from messages you select in Outlook, or select Outlook folders directly from StudioX.
  • Text - Enter text using the built-in text builder. You can combine text with data from the cards you added or values you saved for later by clicking plus button in the Text Builder.
  • Number - Enter numeric values.
  • Condition Builder - Add conditional statements that are used to determine what activities to execute based on whether or not the conditions are met. For example, the If activity contains a condition field, and it executes a series of activities if the condition is met and, optionally, another set of activities if the condition is not met.
    You create a conditional statement by selecting two values and comparing them using one of the available operators: greater than, greater than or equal, less than, less than or equal, equal to, not equal to, is empty (single value), is not empty (single value), is true, is false, starts with, ends with, contains.
    You can add multiple statements and select if all of the statements or any of the statements must be true for the condition to be met.
  • Save for Later - Save the output for later use in your automation and enter a name under which to refer to it in the project. The saved value can then be used as input in another activity.
  • Use Saved Value - Use the output of another activity that you saved for later use in the project as input for the current field.
  • Rename Saved Value - Renames a value you selected to save for later.
  • Clear Value - Clears the selection in the current field.
  • Open in Advanced Editor - Advanced users can enter VB expressions.

If an activity has not been configured correctly, for example it has missing data in a field, or the data entered in a field is not valid, the icon activity warning appears in the upper-right corner of that activity.and of any parent activity it may have. Hover the mouse over the icon to view a tooltip with information about the detected issue and what you need to do to correct it.


Automation Basics


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