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Arrow Overview Guide


This Windward Arrow for SharePoint Overviewintroduces you to the benefits of using Arrow for SharePoint and explains how Arrow for SharePoint works. For more detailed how-to information on implementation and use, please see the Arrow for SharePoint Users Guide.


Why Arrow for SharePoint?

SharePoint users looking for powerful enterprise reporting, document generation, dashboards and business intelligence need capabilities that SharePoint alone doesn't provide.  Arrow extends SharePoint into a unified, comprehensive and easy-to-use system that lets a community of users easily and securely design, run and share critical business reports.

Use cases include:

  • Full-featured enterprise reporting with workflow and scheduling

  • Robust enterprise document generation, content management and document production

  • Powerful dashboards that non-programmers can create effortlessly

  • Simple-to-use business intelligence that gives you up-to-the-minute information on where you've been, where you are, and where you're headed.

In all of the above cases, users design reports, documents or dashboards in Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint and run them in SharePoint via Arrow.

What You Get With Arrow for SharePoint

The AutoTag Report Design Tool

One of the most effective ways to slash the cost of report creation is to switch to a design tool that's easy to learn and simple to use. Arrow's AutoTag component allows users to design templates in Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint. Because Microsoft Office is a suite of programs most business professionals already know how to use, there's little learning curve. In addition, users save time by creating reports with sophisticated yet effortless Office features such as formatting and layout tools, images, tables, headers and more. Windward customers report that creating and revising reports is at least 10 times faster than with other reporting systems.

Data Layout

Users don't need to learn complicated code in order to insert data into their reports and other documents, because wizards and drag-and-drop functionality connect templates to their data. Windward handles a variety of data sources, including SQL databases, XML files, and Excel spreadsheets.

Report Generation and Scheduling Capabilities

Users can run reports with the click of a button from within SharePoint, and they can generate documents in a wide array of outputs. A flexible report scheduler allows users to run reports whenever they are needed.


Report Design

Data Layout

Report Generation

·        Report design in Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint – the logical place to design in SharePoint

·        Version control, permissions, and folder capabilities

·        Full-featured charts, graphs, and other visuals


·        Easy access to data for non-programmers

·        Capable of handling data from a wide range of sources, including Excel spreadsheets, XML files and SQL databases

·        Preserves security features of existing database provisions

·        Reports run at the click of a button from within SharePoint

·        A powerful and flexible automated report scheduler

·        A  wide array of available outputs, including DOCX, PDF, RTF, HTML, XLSX and PPT



System Requirements

  • Windows SharePoint Services (WSS3.0) or Microsoft Office SharePoint Services 2007 (MOSS2007) OR SharePoint 2010.

  • SQL Server 2005/2008

  • Office 2000 or later is needed to run the report template design tool, AutoTag.

  • .NET Framework 3.5

  • J# 2.0

Summary: The Six Steps of Using Arrow for SharePoint

Arrow is made up of six components:

  1. Installation

  2. Creating a report template

  3. Creating a data profile

  4. Assembling a report

  5. Generating a report

  6. Scheduling a report

Step 1: Installation

Installing Arrow for SharePoint is a quick process performed by a SharePoint system administrator. It takes just five minutes to install and about 30 minutes to configure the 35 MB file.

After installation, the system administrator then adds Arrow components – running reports, scheduling reports, dashboards, etc. – to SharePoint, where they are accessible through a Web browser. (Technically speaking, these components are added as SharePoint web parts. In basic terms, web parts are simply the building blocks of SharePoint web pages.)

Copy the SetupArrow.msi file to your SharePoint front end web server and execute the msi. During installation, please pay close attention to the following:

  • When prompted whether or not to install the scheduler service, select 'Yes'. Enter the credentials for the account that will run the scheduler. This user must have access to the SharePoint site and should be a site collection administrator.
  • Installing AutoTag Max and Arrow on the same machine can result in strange behavior and therefore is not recommended.
  • When entering your license key, make sure you don't enter a carriage return on the last line.
  • After installation, restart your computer to make sure all changes are correctly applied and to start the Arrow scheduler service. You should now be able to add the Arrow web parts just like any others. There will be a total of eight web parts under the category Windward Web Parts.

For more detailed information, please see the Windward Arrow Installer Guide.

   Step 2: Creating a Report Template

A report template is simply a report without any data. Creating a template is simple because you design in Word, Excel or PowerPoint. You can create the template to display almost anything you'd like, including headers, footers, borders, bullet points, numbered outlines, page breaks, images, backgrounds colors, multiple fonts and more. Here's an example:

Obviously, our template is missing a critical element: data. The next step would be to add data placeholders, called tags, which show where the data will appear. (We won't walk through that process here, but Windward documentation lays out the steps for adding tags to a template.) Here's what the template looks like after we've tagged it:


After the report template is created, it is easily uploaded into SharePoint:

  1. Open Arrow and click the Templates repository.

  2. In the Upload drop-down menu, select Upload Document.

  3. Browse your hard drive for the template and click OK.

  4. Optional: On the version control screen, click the Check In button.

For more detailed information, please see the Design and Upload Template in the Users Guide.

Step 3: Creating a Data Profile

Before you can run a report, you need to be able to access your data. This is where the "data profile" comes in. When you create a data profile, you're creating a way to get to your data through SharePoint. The data can then be inserted into a report template.

Log onto Arrow's main page and click Create Windward Data Profile, and a wizard walks you through creating a data profile.

At the end of the profile creation, the test button lets you check whether the data profile setup was successful.

For more detailed information, please see the Create Data Profile in the Users Guide.


Step 4: Assembling a Report

Now that you have a) designed a template and b) created a way to get to your data through SharePoint, you're ready to link the two. This step selects your template and tells it where to "grab" the data to populate the report (i.e. which data profile to use).

Click Assemble A Windward Report, and a wizard walks you through linking the report template to its data.

For more detailed information, please see the Assembling a Windward Report in the Users Guide.

Step 5: Generating a Report

Once you have a report assembled, you can run it with up-to-the-second data. Just click Run A Report and follow the onscreen instructions.

Some important features of Arrow's reports and templates:

  • Reports and templates are searchable

  • Arrow for SharePoint offers optional version control for templates and reports

  • You can process templates in a workflow under business rules

  • Any report or template can be accessed, updated and viewed by multiple people

  • You can generate a report URL and have it emailed to multiple people; clicking the URL causes the report to be run with current data

For more detailed information, please see the Generating a Report in the Users Guide

Step 6: Scheduling a Report

Arrow for SharePoint lets you schedule reports on your timetable. You can schedule them to run daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly, with a variety of options for each category.

Some important features include:

  • Reports that can be run periodically with the latest data at that point in time

  • Ability to distribute to targets, email lists, shared SharePoint repositories or printers

  • Repositories that are searchable, version-controlled and enforced by business rules

In addition, Arrow for SharePoint lets you view a list of scheduled reports with details such as the report's description, when it was last run, and when it is next scheduled to be run.

For more detailed information, please see the Scheduling a Report in the Users Guide

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Last edited Jul 30, 2012 at 6:50 PM by allisonl, version 2


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