Editable Spreadsheets

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If you need to rapidly view and correct a set of data, it can be useful to organize search results in a spreadsheet format. CollectiveAccess provides an editable layout tool to be used in conjunction with displays as a way of navigating and manipulating search results. This is an alternative approach to Batch_Editing that is helpful for users hoping to make more nuanced changes than those tools allow. It is most useful when you are working with data that can cleanly fit into a spreadsheet format (for example, if your data was stored in excel at one point).

In order to work effectively with this tool, it is necessary to have appropriate displays configured. Displays determine the metadata that appears in your search results, which will constitute the columns in your editable spreadsheet. When configuring (or choosing pre-configured) displays, bear in mind that certain fields can be more easily edited in this format than others. For example, you will still need to enter an individual record in order to edit relationships or upload media. That being said, the spreadsheet format still allows you to scan your search results for mistakes and inconsistencies in an efficient and intuitive manner.

So how can you work with this tool? First, perform a search based on the type of record you want to view. For example, you may want to take a look at all records that are part of a certain collection, or perhaps those that contain “postcards” or “documents,” for example. Whatever the case may be, this editing tool must be accessed and activated via search results. Once this has been accomplished, click on “Display Options,” located directly above your results.

Display options screenshot.png

From the drop-down beside “display” you can choose the display containing the data you need to view. Then, using the drop-down beside “Layout,” choose “editable” (the other options are "list," "thumbnails," and "full"). You will see your results laid out in a grid, but in order to view them more clearly you can scroll down and choose “full screen” from the bottom-right of the screen. This will enlarge the search results to the size of the browser window, and allow you to manipulate them as you would any other spreadsheet. From here you can scroll through your results and make edits directly within the cells.

Dropdowns layout.png

This tool is most useful for making changes to simple, non-repeating data. Depending on your display, you may notice that some cells are greyed-out. This is because it would be too complex to make changes to those data types in the spreadsheet layout, and you need to actually enter the record in order to alter them. Examples of this would include relationships, media, types, or repeating fields.



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