Importing Data from a Spreadsheet

Lots of businesses keep data in a spreadsheet, so NoticeboardLive has the ability to import spreadsheet data into signage templates for display on screens. This has many uses and the image below shows a screen displaying all the drink names and prices taken from a Google Docs spreadsheet.

Import spreadsheet data into signage system

Why is this useful?

It saves duplicating data entry. If for example you have a cafe and want to display your prices on a screen, you might already have that information in a spreadsheet.

Rather than having to enter it all over again into a signage page it’s quicker and less prone to error to just use the spreadsheet itself.

Getting the data from the spreadsheet onto a screen is straightforward. Simply export the sheet as a csv file (all spreadsheets have this option) then from the signage controller upload the csv file to the system.

You need to make a special page in the system editor where the spreadsheet data will be automatically inserted.

This takes the form of simple text tags that define the row and column in the spreadsheet of where the data you want is.

The tags look like the following [cx,rx] where x is the row and column number ie [c4,r10] would pull out the data from column 4, row 10 and replace the [c4,r10] text with the actual data. The data inserted into the template will take on the font properties of the tag, so if the text tag is red the data will be red.

Template for loading spreadsheet data into signage page
Template page for CSV data import

To associate a csv file with a template page you add another tag anywhere into the page in the form [csv=filename]. That will be removed in the processed and displayed page.

If you change the spreadsheet content simply convert it to a CSV file and upload it again and the system will use the new sheet.

There are some limitations to this, the main one being that you can’t generally enter carriage returns into a spreadsheet as it jumps to the next cell, but for things described in a few words and numbers it works fine.

This is a training video that takes you through the process.

The data doesn’t have to come from a spreadsheet but it needs the data to be in csv file format. Each line of data in the file is the row and each item in the row is a column.

The column and row numbers aren’t zero based so the first row and column start at 1.

Other ways of including external data would be to put the data into a simple RSS feed that our server can download and process.

You could also format the data on your web own server and put it into a webpage. Our system can load external webpages into a signage page if you put a special text tag into the page. The tag will be converted into an iframe that loads the external page.

If you like the idea of this but would rather we managed it we can create the page template and upload your data to it.

If you have a custom requirement please contact us.