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Slash Template Design Time with Pods

Posted on 10/29/2014

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Editor’s note: This is our second article in a new blog series on getting to know AutoTag better, where we introduce you to cool features you may have overlooked.

Did you know you can use AutoTag pods to save tons of template design time?

Report development is not the most exciting task in the world. We all know it, and that’s why you want to get in and out of your template design phase as quickly as humanly possible. Even faster than humanly possible, in fact! That’s where pods come in.

A pod is a reusable segment of a report or document template. With Windward AutoTag, you can create your template exactly the way you want incredibly quickly, but there’s still always going to be some time involved getting everything just perfect that first time. Once you’re there, though, you can save any segment (whether that be a tag, a table, a page, or an entire template) as a pod and use that segment as many times as you want.


Pods let you reuse template elements such as tables, sets of tags and more.

Think of your sales cycle. You need to send out a quote. That’s a template. Once they approve the order, you need to send out an invoice. That’s another template. Once they pay that invoice, you need to send out a payment confirmation. That’s still a third template.

Honestly, though, how different are those going to be? You’ve still got an address block, you’ve still got an itemized list of services rendered, and you’ve still got date blocks, signature blocks and a company logo.

With pods, you can save each of those segments, drag and drop them into the template where you want, and only worry about whatever new info you’re adding in. Now you’re able to generate an entirely new template in about the time it takes you to make a label that says “Invoice.”

This 1 1/2-minute video shows you how it’s done:

More Benefits of Pods

The time savings alone is enough to make pods worthwhile, but I’ve watched too many infomercials in my life to be satisfied with just one great thing at a time. So along with rapid design, we’re going to throw in a lifetime supply of end-user empowerment for free!

Do all your users really need to know how FOREACH and OUT tags interact? Are they all going to be setting up SWITCH statements to follow business logic? If you’re like me (another infomercial line I’m a fan of), you’ve got a lot of users who just need to throw together some pieces.

Maybe they want to build a custom quote template for their clients that also includes your company history and also some quotes from recent success stories. They can drag and drop the pods together to make exactly that, and there’s no developer time spent on the customization. Speaking as a developer, “Yes, please.”

I know what you’re all thinking. “That’s amazing! Pods are absolutely perfect and don’t need anything else!”

But wait, there’s more! When you drop a pod into a template, it’s there and it’s separate from the pod file. You’ve now got your 600 templates all making use of the same company logo pod… and then your marketing team goes through a re-branding campaign.

Not to worry! Pods are still the answer! The Update Pods tool is a command line application that will actually run through a directory, find every instance of a pod, and update it accordingly at your command. Six hundred templates all updated at once! Not bad, eh?

So whether you’re trying to speed up your template design, let your end users build their own templates, or quickly update large numbers of templates, pods are a great and versatile tool that will deliver what you need. Try them out in AutoTag.

The Whole “Did You Know?” Series

I hope you found this post useful. Stay tuned for our next post in the series, on equation editors.

Remember, you can receive the series in your email inbox by subscribing to our company blog here:

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Author: Logan Miles

Having learned computers from “Hackers” and sales from “Thank You For Smoking,” Logan bridges the gap between the technical and non-technical. As a sales engineer, he enjoys not only solving problems but relating them in some way to the (mostly awful) movies he watches while recovering from skiing or hiking trips, depending on the season.

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