Archive

Monthly Archives: January 2016

Writing walkthrough guides is easy. It’s the formatting of the content that will take you forever to do, especially of you are wanting to repurpose the content into other formats like scripts, blog posts, summaries and even books. And if you want to make a change to a guide, or correct mistakes then that can take just as much time because you might break some of the formatting, or pagination, or you may miss one of the formats. And if you wanted to have specific page breaks, formatting requirements or different page sizes for different versions then it just doubles or triples the work.

Some people may have lackeys or interns that they can give this job to, but I wasn’t one of them, and have literally spent weekends formatting books and transferring images one by one into Word so that I can publish document or create detailed blog post series.

One day it became too much and I decided that I had to stop the insanity and find a better way. Because I capture all of my walkthroughs in PowerPoint – just because it makes everything look consistent and tidy – I looked into how I could automate the process and have it do all of the work for me. I blew the dust off my copy of Visual Studio and created Author Tools for PowerPoint.

These tools automate a lot of the leg work that I used to do manually by using PowerPoint as a repository for all of the walkthrough details and then uses pre-defined word templates as a basis which it then transfers all of the images and text automatically and also formats all of the walkthroughs in a number of different ways based on how you are wanting the information to be consumed. For example, if you are building a book then you may want headings on pages, but if you are publishing it as a blog then you probably don’t.

This reduces the time to format a 400+ page book from 8+ hours and tens of thousands of repetitive keystrokes to probably about half an hour and a single click.

In this post (which is created with Author Tools for PowerPoint) I will show how some of it works.

Adding Tips and Cues To Illustrations

Sometimes with walkthroughs you want to highlight certain areas within the illustration, maybe you want to point to specific items, highlight areas, or something else to help explain the process better. The problem is that you don’t want to edit the main image and corrupt it. There is a better way with the Author Tools and that is by adding any extra embellishments on top of the image and then converting them into a Tip group. You can then tell the system to merge the picture and the tips when it is copying the picture.

How to do it…

To do this, start off by adding in your extra embellishments over the main image.

Then select all of the shapes that you want to include within the Tip layer group.

Then right-mouse-click on them and select the Group option from the Group submenu.

Now you have a single group that you can convert into a tip.

To do this you need to rename the shape group to be Tip. To do this, switch to the Write ribbon bar and click on the Tip button within the Apply group to mark the shape group as a tip.

To see what this has done, click on the Arrange button within the Home ribbon bar and select the Selection Pane option at the bottom.

This will open up a panel that shows all of the shapes that are on the page and their name. Notice that all of the Text and Picture shapes are named as well. This is how the Author Tools is able to pick out the different elements on the page.

How it works…

Now just click on the Create Document button to build the see what this does.

When the document is created, you will see that the image that it pastes into Word is now a composite of the main picture and also the tips that you added in.

Just as a side note, if you don’t want to merge the tips and the pictures then just click on the Thumbnails button group and uncheck the Merge Tips and Pictures.

How easy is that?

Want more?

If this has piqued your curiosity then you can test it out yourself, we have made the install kit available for download for free as the Student Edition.

Just download the kit, install it and then follow along with the examples that are in the book, and also use the samples that are included with the software to see the same examples on your system. You should be able to get it up and running pretty easily and maybe you will find that writing and publishing is not that hard at all.

If you want to grab it, then just follow this link: http://bit.ly/1ZEF5Uo

Also, if you are looking for more resources on then make sure you check out the Blind Squirrel Publishing site at www.blindsquirrelpublishing.com for more articles and books.

About the Author

Murray Fife is an Author of over 25 books which you can find all of his books on Amazon (www.amazon.com/author/murrayfife) and also even more on the BSP (www.blindsquirrelpublishing.com) site.

Throughout his 25+ years of experience in the software industry he has worked in many different roles during his career, including as a developer, an implementation consultant, a trainer and a demo guy within the partner channel which gives him a great understanding of the requirements for both customers and partner’s perspective.

For more information on Murray, here is his contact information:

Email:         mcf@blindsquirrelpublishing.com
Twitter:    @murrayfife
Facebook:    facebook.com/murraycfife
Google:        google.com/+murrayfife
LinkedIn:    linkedin.com/in/murrayfife
Blog:        atinkerersnotebook.com
Docs:        docs.com/mufife
Amazon:    amazon.com/author/murrayfife

Advertisements

The New Dynamics AX is a big change from the previous releases. The majority of the changes are around the new web based user interface, the new way that you navigate around in the application and also new sets of tools that have come along for the ride.

For those of you that are familiar with the older user interfaces then you may have to learn a couple of new tricks to get around the system like the pro that you are, and for new users of the New Dynamics AX environments then you will probably want as many tips on all the cool things that you are hidden away within the application so that you can quickly become a power user of the system.

I have scoured all of the resources that I have to compile the most useful tips and tricks for the New Dynamics AX and that will be useful to everyone, regardless of if you are a novice to Dynamics AX just trying to get around in the application, or have worked with the previous versions of the system, and are just want to learn the nuances of the new user interface.

Responsive Zooming In And Out On Forms

Because the New Dynamics AX is a HTML client then you can also take advantage of some of the features of HTML5 which includes the responsive web design. What this means is that if you zoom in and out the forms will adjust themselves to match the page real estate.

How it works…

If you zoom out, then you will see that the form fields will re-layout to take advantage of the extra space that is available.

If you zoom in, then the fields will re-arrange themselves so that they are not falling off the right of the page and layout into a longer form.

If you zoom in, then the fields will re-arrange themselves so that they are not falling off the right of the page and layout into a longer form.

Want more?

If you liked this post and want to see more tips and tricks for the New Dynamics AX then I have compiled the 50 initial tips and tricks into a new guide for you all. If you want to get all of the tips and tricks in one place, then just follow the link: http://bit.ly/1mAzKf6

Also, if you are looking for more resources on Dynamics AX in general, then make sure you check out the Dynamics AX Companions site at www.dynamicsaxcompanions.com and also the Blind Squirrel Publishing site at www.blindsquirrelpublishing.com for more articles and books.

About the Author

Murray Fife is an Author of over 25 books on Microsoft Dynamics AX including the Bare Bones Configuration Guide series of over 15 books which step the user through the setup of initial Dynamics AX instance, then through the Financial modules and then through the configuration of the more specialized modules like production, service management, and project accounting. You can find all of his books on Amazon (www.amazon.com/author/murrayfife) and also even more on the BSP (www.blindsquirrelpublishing.com) site.

Murray is also the curator of the Dynamics AX Companions (www.dynamicsaxcompanions.com) site which he built from the ground up as a resource for all of the Dynamics AX community where you can find walkthroughs and blueprints that he created since first being introduced to the Dynamics AX product.

Throughout his 25+ years of experience in the software industry he has worked in many different roles during his career, including as a developer, an implementation consultant, a trainer and a demo guy within the partner channel which gives him a great understanding of the requirements for both customers and partner’s perspective.

For more information on Murray, here is his contact information:

Email:         mcf@blindsquirrelpublishing.com
Twitter:    @murrayfife
Facebook:    facebook.com/murraycfife
Google:        google.com/+murrayfife
LinkedIn:    linkedin.com/in/murrayfife
Blog:        atinkerersnotebook.com
Docs:        docs.com/mufife
Amazon:    amazon.com/author/murrayfife

 

Writing walkthrough guides is easy. It’s the formatting of the content that will take you forever to do, especially of you are wanting to repurpose the content into other formats like scripts, blog posts, summaries and even books. And if you want to make a change to a guide, or correct mistakes then that can take just as much time because you might break some of the formatting, or pagination, or you may miss one of the formats. And if you wanted to have specific page breaks, formatting requirements or different page sizes for different versions then it just doubles or triples the work.

Some people may have lackeys or interns that they can give this job to, but I wasn’t one of them, and have literally spent weekends formatting books and transferring images one by one into Word so that I can publish document or create detailed blog post series.

One day it became too much and I decided that I had to stop the insanity and find a better way. Because I capture all of my walkthroughs in PowerPoint – just because it makes everything look consistent and tidy – I looked into how I could automate the process and have it do all of the work for me. I blew the dust off my copy of Visual Studio and created Author Tools for PowerPoint.

These tools automate a lot of the leg work that I used to do manually by using PowerPoint as a repository for all of the walkthrough details and then uses pre-defined word templates as a basis which it then transfers all of the images and text automatically and also formats all of the walkthroughs in a number of different ways based on how you are wanting the information to be consumed. For example, if you are building a book then you may want headings on pages, but if you are publishing it as a blog then you probably don’t.

This reduces the time to format a 400+ page book from 8+ hours and tens of thousands of repetitive keystrokes to probably about half an hour and a single click.

In this post (which is created with Author Tools for PowerPoint) I will show how some of it works.

Adding Thumbnails within Recipe Elements

The Recipe element is a simple way to lay out instructions for the users and is sometimes a better way to show the steps for the expert users that don’t need the full walkthrough screen by screen. But sometimes there is information that you want to highlight within the recipe just so that people don’t get too lost as they are visualizing what they need to do. There is a feature built into the Author Tools that allows you to add an extra Thumbnail image to the page that you are working on, write a caption for the image if you like and then have it show within the Recipe.

If you look at the right hand side of the template, you will see that there are some more placeholders that are available for you to use. One of them is for the Thumbnail and another is for the Caption.

To add a Thumbnail, just paste it into the Thumbnail placeholder.

Then you can crop the image to just the piece that you want to show within the Recipe.

Then type in a Caption for the image pointing out anything that is important about the Thumbnail that you just added.

Once you have done that return to the Publish ribbon bar and expand the Recipe group. There is a flag in there that is off by default which allows you to Show Thumbnails on the recipes.

All you need to do is check that flag and then click on the Create Document button.

Now when the document is created it will include the Thumbnail image in line with the recipe text and also a caption to explain why it’s important.

How easy is that?

Want more?

If this has piqued your curiosity then you can test it out yourself, we have made the install kit available for download for free as the Student Edition.

Just download the kit, install it and then follow along with the examples that are in the book, and also use the samples that are included with the software to see the same examples on your system. You should be able to get it up and running pretty easily and maybe you will find that writing and publishing is not that hard at all.

If you want to grab it, then just follow this link: http://bit.ly/1ZEF5Uo

Also, if you are looking for more resources on then make sure you check out the Blind Squirrel Publishing site at www.blindsquirrelpublishing.com for more articles and books.

About the Author

Murray Fife is an Author of over 25 books which you can find all of his books on Amazon (www.amazon.com/author/murrayfife) and also even more on the BSP (www.blindsquirrelpublishing.com) site.

Throughout his 25+ years of experience in the software industry he has worked in many different roles during his career, including as a developer, an implementation consultant, a trainer and a demo guy within the partner channel which gives him a great understanding of the requirements for both customers and partner’s perspective.

For more information on Murray, here is his contact information:

Email:         mcf@blindsquirrelpublishing.com
Twitter:    @murrayfife
Facebook:    facebook.com/murraycfife
Google:        google.com/+murrayfife
LinkedIn:    linkedin.com/in/murrayfife
Blog:        atinkerersnotebook.com
Docs:        docs.com/mufife
Amazon:    amazon.com/author/murrayfife

Last week I published out an eBook on Building Walkthrough Guides Using The Author Tools and made it available for you all as a free download. I was a little surprised at the response and the number of downloads that I got for the first edition. And to all of you that did download the book, you may want to re-download it because over the past day or so I added in a lot more content showing some of the more advanced features within the Author Tools for PowerPoint including:

  • Using Different Templates
  • Adding Thumbnails within Recipe Elements
  • Adding Tips and Cues To Illustrations
  • Using Custom Step Headings
  • Selectively Publishing Sections
  • Turning On or Off Section Breaks
  • Turning On or Off Odd Section Breaks
  • Turning off Walkthrough Step Headings
  • Changing the Placement Of The Walkthrough Thumbnail

 

For all of you that this may have not grabbed a copy of the book, but that I may have piqued your curiosity, here is the link to the guide: http://bit.ly/1NahEFY

More importantly though I had a couple of requests on where to get a copy of the Author Tools for PowerPoint so that you all can test it out. So I have made the install kit available for download for free as the Student Edition.

To test it out, just download the kit, install it and then follow along with the examples that are in the book, and also use the samples that are included with the software to see the same examples on your system. You should be able to get it up and running pretty easily and maybe you will find that writing and publishing is not that hard at all.

If you want to grab the install kit then just follow this link: http://bit.ly/1ZEF5Uo

If you are interested in learning more or have any problems accessing the Author Tools then drop me a note.

The New Dynamics AX is a big change from the previous releases. The majority of the changes are around the new web based user interface, the new way that you navigate around in the application and also new sets of tools that have come along for the ride.

For those of you that are familiar with the older user interfaces then you may have to learn a couple of new tricks to get around the system like the pro that you are, and for new users of the New Dynamics AX environments then you will probably want as many tips on all the cool things that you are hidden away within the application so that you can quickly become a power user of the system.

I have scoured all of the resources that I have to compile the most useful tips and tricks for the New Dynamics AX and that will be useful to everyone, regardless of if you are a novice to Dynamics AX just trying to get around in the application, or have worked with the previous versions of the system, and are just want to learn the nuances of the new user interface.

Using the list filter

When you are in the detail view within the forms, you don’t need to return back to the list page each time to navigate from record to record. You can show the list filter feature to navigate through all of the records.

How it works…

To view the list filter, just click on the List icon on the left hand side of the form.

This will open up a panel on the left hand side that shows you a quick view to all of the records that you can switch to.

If you want to search for records using the filter list then all you need to do is type in part of the name that you want to search on

This will filter the data out to any record that matches your search and also change the detail panel to show the first record that matches.

Want more?

If you liked this post and want to see more tips and tricks for the New Dynamics AX then I have compiled the 50 initial tips and tricks into a new guide for you all. If you want to get all of the tips and tricks in one place, then just follow the link: http://bit.ly/1mAzKf6

Also, if you are looking for more resources on Dynamics AX in general, then make sure you check out the Dynamics AX Companions site at www.dynamicsaxcompanions.com and also the Blind Squirrel Publishing site at www.blindsquirrelpublishing.com for more articles and books.

About the Author

Murray Fife is an Author of over 25 books on Microsoft Dynamics AX including the Bare Bones Configuration Guide series of over 15 books which step the user through the setup of initial Dynamics AX instance, then through the Financial modules and then through the configuration of the more specialized modules like production, service management, and project accounting. You can find all of his books on Amazon (www.amazon.com/author/murrayfife) and also even more on the BSP (www.blindsquirrelpublishing.com) site.

Murray is also the curator of the Dynamics AX Companions (www.dynamicsaxcompanions.com) site which he built from the ground up as a resource for all of the Dynamics AX community where you can find walkthroughs and blueprints that he created since first being introduced to the Dynamics AX product.

Throughout his 25+ years of experience in the software industry he has worked in many different roles during his career, including as a developer, an implementation consultant, a trainer and a demo guy within the partner channel which gives him a great understanding of the requirements for both customers and partner’s perspective.

For more information on Murray, here is his contact information:

Email:         mcf@blindsquirrelpublishing.com
Twitter:    @murrayfife
Facebook:    facebook.com/murraycfife
Google:        google.com/+murrayfife
LinkedIn:    linkedin.com/in/murrayfife
Blog:        atinkerersnotebook.com
Docs:        docs.com/mufife
Amazon:    amazon.com/author/murrayfife

Writing walkthrough guides is easy. It’s the formatting of the content that will take you forever to do, especially of you are wanting to repurpose the content into other formats like scripts, blog posts, summaries and even books. And if you want to make a change to a guide, or correct mistakes then that can take just as much time because you might break some of the formatting, or pagination, or you may miss one of the formats. And if you wanted to have specific page breaks, formatting requirements or different page sizes for different versions then it just doubles or triples the work.

Some people may have lackeys or interns that they can give this job to, but I wasn’t one of them, and have literally spent weekends formatting books and transferring images one by one into Word so that I can publish document or create detailed blog post series.

One day it became too much and I decided that I had to stop the insanity and find a better way. Because I capture all of my walkthroughs in PowerPoint – just because it makes everything look consistent and tidy – I looked into how I could automate the process and have it do all of the work for me. I blew the dust off my copy of Visual Studio and created Author Tools for PowerPoint.

These tools automate a lot of the leg work that I used to do manually by using PowerPoint as a repository for all of the walkthrough details and then uses pre-defined word templates as a basis which it then transfers all of the images and text automatically and also formats all of the walkthroughs in a number of different ways based on how you are wanting the information to be consumed. For example, if you are building a book then you may want headings on pages, but if you are publishing it as a blog then you probably don’t.

This reduces the time to format a 400+ page book from 8+ hours and tens of thousands of repetitive keystrokes to probably about half an hour and a single click.

To show everyone how this works I created a quick overview guide/user guide for the add in and it is available for download from the BSP site for free. Grab a copy if you are looking for a better way to create your own guides.

Here is the link to the guide: http://bit.ly/1NahEFY

If you are interested in learning more then drop me a note.

Writing walkthrough guides is easy. It’s the formatting of the content that will take you forever to do, especially of you are wanting to repurpose the content into other formats like scripts, blog posts, summaries and even books. And if you want to make a change to a guide, or correct mistakes then that can take just as much time because you might break some of the formatting, or pagination, or you may miss one of the formats. And if you wanted to have specific page breaks, formatting requirements or different page sizes for different versions then it just doubles or triples the work.

Some people may have lackeys or interns that they can give this job to, but I wasn’t one of them, and have literally spent weekends formatting books and transferring images one by one into Word so that I can publish document or create detailed blog post series.

One day it became too much and I decided that I had to stop the insanity and find a better way. Because I capture all of my walkthroughs in PowerPoint – just because it makes everything look consistent and tidy – I looked into how I could automate the process and have it do all of the work for me. I blew the dust off my copy of Visual Studio and created Author Tools for PowerPoint.

These tools automate a lot of the leg work that I used to do manually by using PowerPoint as a repository for all of the walkthrough details and then uses pre-defined word templates as a basis which it then transfers all of the images and text automatically and also formats all of the walkthroughs in a number of different ways based on how you are wanting the information to be consumed. For example, if you are building a book then you may want headings on pages, but if you are publishing it as a blog then you probably don’t.

This reduces the time to format a 400+ page book from 8+ hours and tens of thousands of repetitive keystrokes to probably about half an hour and a single click.

In this walkthrough (which is created with Author Tools for PowerPoint) I will show some of the setup and also how it works. Read More