I am not sure about you, but I am just ‘kinda’ handy. I can hang a picture, assemble IKEA furniture with over 200 pieces using the tiny Allen key they give you, plus a hammer and a screwdriver. I have managed to clear a clogged toilet and replace the windshield washer fluid in my car. I am telling you this so you understand my level of handy: I am hand-held handy, anything with power is probably too much for me based on what I know now.
On the other hand, my dad is ‘super’ handy: he took out a wall in my living room, replaced my entire bathroom, installed new windows, and fixed my ailing Honda’s heat. He is power-tool handy: he has all the tools and uses them with precision to get a job done quickly and usually with only a few trips to the Home Depot.
What does all this have to do with XERA? Well, XERA has tools for the ‘kinda’ handy and tools for the ‘super’ handy that are often overlooked, and this post is dedicated to them.
Hand-Held Tool Mass Actions
Both Mass Print and Mass Export allow users to get data out of the system without making any changes to the coding or data.
Mass Print will let users print the images from selected documents, search results, or all documents. There are some drawbacks: Mass Print works only for images. (But if your database has native files, there is another Mass Action to use – and I’ll talk about that soon.) Also, Mass Print uses Java, and Java is not supported in any browser but Internet Explorer as of next month, March 2017.
Mass Export allows users to export data from select fields and folder information about the exported documents. They can choose the delimited format type, and then the fields or folders they want exported. Just like with Mass Print, users can choose selected documents, search results, or all documents. As an administrator, you can cap the size of the export with a record limit. The drawback to this action is that each time a Mass Export is run, the user needs to select the fields and delimiters. But again, there is another Mass Action we can use if users need to export data often.
Power Tool Mass Actions
Mass Edit and Mass Find/Replace allow users to update data in a field, or change coding fields in the database, so these are very powerful tools. A user needs to have both access to the Mass Action and Write Access to the fields in order to complete these tasks.
Both Mass Edit and Mass Find/Replace can be used to overwrite, append, or prepend field content. And, to amp up the power, these Mass Actions can also be run on up to 3 fields at once. In the Status tab of this screen, the action can be undone if an error was made, which is not the case if you do the actions in XERA Manager.
These actions are what I call the Sawzall of tools: they have a ton of power, and can handle multiple jobs at once, but unlike cutting something with a Sawzall, the action can be undone. My dad doesn’t let me use the Sawzall around my own house, and that’s how I feel about these Mass Actions – they’re not something reviewers need to use.
Power Tools for the Hand-Held Users
XERA has some power tools that administrators can set up so the Hand-Held user can accomplish some powerful tasks with minimal risk - nothing like the risk of taking out a load bearing wall. Enable Template Use is an option that allows users to access any Mass Action template that has been set up to produce data from Table View. Since these templates are set up in Production Manager, they have all the flexibility of productions, and once created, the template is a simple ‘select and go’ for the users. Some common template ideas are:
Gather Natives: this is a template that collects the natives the user selected or searched, and puts them into a .cab file for the user to download.
Export Today’s Coding: this is a template that collects folder and coding information for the user’s assigned folder or batch into a .csv file.
PDFs for Depositions: this template takes images and/or native files, burns text like CONFIDENTIAL and any other identifying field information onto them, converts them to PDF format, and then puts them into a .cab file for download, which can be taken offsite for deposition locations that do not have internet access.
These ideas just scratch the surface of the types of templates that can be set up for users. The user only needs to know how to run a mass action, since all of these templates show up in the template list for easy selection (see the following screenshot).
Mass Code – A Power Tool for Trained Users
Mass Code allows users to code selected documents, search results or all documents on any coding panel they can access. This Mass Action is always debated because it allows users to quickly search for items and add them to the correct tags, but it also allows a user to mark all of the documents in the database as Responsive or Reviewed. I think of Mass Code as the cordless drill to the other Power Mass Actions: it is not something I am going to give to a new reviewer, but someone who has done a few reviews would likely get training on how to use it, and then access. I understand the arguments for both – giving it to all reviewers and giving it to no reviewers – but this action is one that I decide on a project-by-project and user-by-user basis.
Needless to say, XERA has a full range of Mass Action tools, from Mass Print and Export right up to Mass Edit and Find/Replace. I know that I won’t be using the Sawzall anytime soon if my dad can help it, but with each passing month as a homeowner, I learn a little more. Who knows, maybe one day I will have a Sawzall of my own.