Data-Driven Schedule


Data Driver - Data-Driven Schedule Properties



The Data Driver is where you set up the source for data for your data driven reports. If your data source or data selection criteria changes this is where you will need to make any required changes.


DSN Name:  Drop down and select a DSN.  


We strongly recommend System DSNs so that the DSN is visible to MARS even when the user associated with the DSN is logged off.  


All communication to databases (including Access databases) is done through ODBC, so you must setup a system DSN to the database before you can use this facility.


When setting up DSNs we recommend (if possible) that you use Windows Authentication (Trusted Connection).  This ensures that your username and password are not required to be stored in MARS (more secure) and overcomes a large number of security restrictions which Windows places on DSNs.


When using Windows Authentication, make sure that the MARS NT service user (or background application service user) has full rights to the database otherwise, though you will connect when you are logged in, automated scheduling will fail if the Service user has not got rights to the database.


When setting up a DSN to a SQL server, you must ensure that the "Default Database" setting is set to the database you are connecting to (Windows defaults this to "Master").


UserID:  Enter the User ID MARS should use to log on to the database

Password:  Enter the password associated with the above user.


Click “Connect” to connect to the data source.


Select the table from the database that holds the required data. you can refine your selection query by using the simple or advanced tabs.


After clicking Parse, MARS will display a list of results. Based on your Criteria MARS will use the returned data to run the report.








Click “Build” to specify the data selection criteria. This will return you to the Build Data Driver tool.


Key Column: Select the key column for the data that is returned for the reports. The information that drives the schedule is required to have a key column so that each row in the table is uniquely identified by the value in this column. The key column is there as an identifier which is used to troubleshoot in cases where there is a problem with one of the records.


Group reports by email address: You can instruct MARS to group reports that are sent to the same email address. Please note that enabling this option disables the ability to embed the reports in the email body for email destinations.  


Continue to Data-Driven Schedule General

General - Data-Driven Schedule



Schedule Name:  The name of the schedule


Create in: The MARS folder where the schedule is stored


Report Location:The path to the report


Description:  A short description to help other users identify exactly what this schedule is and what it is expected to do


Keyword:  Enter some keywords which can be used later by Smart Folders to identify this schedule.


Continue to Data-Driven Schedule - Schedule

Schedule - Data-Driven Schedule




In this section, you will decide when the report will execute. There are a variety of options:




Daily: Run a report every day or at a frequency of days.

Sub options:

Repeat every X Days-  EX. Run the schedule every 3 days.





Weekly: Run a report on a weekly time frame.

Sub options:

Repeat every X weeks-  EX. Run the schedule every 2 Weeks.

On- Select the specific days of the week the schedule will run. If only once a week, select only the day of the week it will run.  EX. Run every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.



Weekdays: Run the schedule Monday through Friday.





Working Day: Run the schedule starting on a specific day of the month. Indicate which day of the month the schedule will run. E.G. run the schedule on the 4th working day of the month.





Monthly: Run the schedule on a monthly time frame.

Sub options:

Use the following options- Checking this box will enable you to select frequency options such as the “last Thursday of the month.” Also you can include or exclude specific months from the schedule.





Annually: run the schedule every year at a specified time.




Custom Calendar: Select the custom Calendar you wish to use. You can create a new custom calendar from the menu as well. Please see Custom Calendars for a tutorial.




Other: Other scheduling options.

Sub options:

Run Schedule every X Minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years


None: No scheduling is required for this item.




Next, you will specify the time that the schedule will run as well as repetition options.



Schedule time:  Specify the exact time you want your schedule to run. *Tip: keeping in mind how long it takes for your report, time your schedules accordingly!


Exception Calendar: choose a calendar that will instruct the schedule to NOT run on those specified days. Please see Custom Calendars for a tutorial.




Next to run on: displays the next run date of your schedule.




Repeat ever X hours or minutes:  run your reports on a reoccurring basis during a specific time frame. EX Repeat every .25 hours until 5PM.




Enable this schedule: to enable the schedule leave the box checked. To create this schedule disabled, deselect this box.

Once you have finished creating the timing for your schedule, click finish to proceed to the next stage.


Continue to Data-Driven Schedule - Output



Output - Data-Driven Schedule



This screen shows the destinations which have been set up for this schedule.


Add:  Click to add another destination.  For more information on adding destinations, click here.


Edit:  Select a destination and click to edit it's properties.  Or simply double-click on the destination.


Delete:  select a destination and click this button to delete it.

Click image59.gif  to import from the list of default destinations.


Customizing the Destination


With the Data Driven Schedule, you can determine the delivery method of your report based on your data. In your table, specify the delivery method by creating a column for each delivery type (FTP, SharePoint, Email etc.). For each record specify their email, fax number, and so on.




*Tip: for email destinations, simply add a semicolon after an email address to send the same instance of the report to another email address.


Data driving the Report's Distribution


As mentioned above, MARS will pull delivery data from your database.


In this example, we will be using email addresses found in the table.


With Data Driven inserts, simply drag and drop the field that indicates your desired destination (email in this case).





Now MARS will deliver a unique report based base on a corresponding email address.


Customize Recipient Messaging


You can also customize the messaging the recipient receives. Using Data Driven Inserts, MARS will automatically pull data from your table and use it to customize the subject, body or report format.




Simply drag and drop fields from your table to the desired position. For example, to customize an email greeting, type the greeting, and add the recipients name as shown above.


Alternate Delivery Method



By default, MARS will process all outputs in the Data-Driven Schedule, then deliver all outputs to their specified location. If you are using the Disk destination, the delivery method can be changed. By checking the box shown above in the disk destination, report outputs will be delivered to their destination as soon as they are processed.



Hint: In the next step we will cover Data Driving the parameter. Worry not.



Continue creating destinations as required. Click next to continue to Data-Driven Schedule - Report


Report - Data-Driven Schedule

With MARS, you can Data Drive any Parameter in your report. Ensure the parameter values for each record are listed in your data base.


Using Data Driven Inserts you can pull these values into your report.




Drag and drop your Data Driven inserts into the desired parameter fields. If you do not wish to enter data driven value in your parameter, you can still manually type a value or select them from the dropdown box.


Repeat this process for all the parameters in your report.




If you wish to learn more about MARS and Parameters see below. Once you are finished setting up your report parameters, continue to Data-Driven Schedule - Report Options



Also About Parameters:


There are 3 requirements in order for MARS to detect your MS Access Report parameters and their parameter values:


1) The parameter must be in use in the report

2) The parameter must be visible

3) The parameter must be set to be prompted at runtime


If these three requirements are achieved, you should see the parameters in your report listed in this screen.



For each parameter, select from the drop down list the value the report must use. In a single schedule, only one parameter value can be run at a time per parameter. You can type a value into the field as well.





Set as Null: Set no value for this parameter.


Ignore: Do not run this parameter, ignore it at runtime.


Range Values:

Select from the dropdown list the upper and lower value for the parameter.




Include Value upper/lower: Include the selected parameter value in the range.

No lower/upper bound: include all values above the upper value, include all values below the lower value.


*Tip: to enable a report parameter to run for a date constant (Current Date, Yesterday etc.), select MARS Constants from the inserts window, then drag and drop your

desired constant to the parameter field.




Exception Handling - Data-Driven Schedule



Reports fail for any number of reasons - database connectivity issues, database busy, network issues and more.  This screen gives you the ability to tell MARS what to do if it encounters an error.


On error, retry executing:  If set to 0, MARS will deem the schedule as "Failed" the first time it encounters an error.  The schedule will not run again until its next scheduled time.  Change the value to tell MARS how many times you want it to retry running the report before declaring it as "Failed".


Treat as failed if not completed: If a report "hangs", this option tells MARS to declare it "Failed" after a certain length of time and to move on to other schedules in the queue.  A report which "hangs" will not report an error, so the "Retry Scheduling" option will not apply.


Perform checks for blank report:


If a report is blank because it genuinely returned no data, recipients can misconstrue this as an error with the scheduler.  This option allows you to identify genuine empty reports and instruct MARS on what to do with them.


Check if a report is blank: With this option you can check if a report is blank.


Ignore the report: if the report is blank, do not send the report. The report will not be delivered to the destination.


Method Tab: Select the Method that will determine whether a report is blank.


File Size Check: If a file size is below a specified threshold, then the file will be considered blank.




SQL Query: Select this option to use a user made query that will determine if the report is blank. If the query returns no results, the report is blank.




Actions Tab: Select an action from the task list. This task will be executed in the event that a schedule is blank.




*Tip: You can send a notification if a report is considered blank instead of sending the report. Simply select “check if a report is blank” then select “Ignore the report.” In the actions tab, select “Send Email” from the list. Compose your email and save.


Continue to Data-Driven Schedule - Tasks

Data-Driven Schedule - Lock Prevention



Use a Copy: An Access databases will become unstable if multiple users are connected at the same time as an automation tool is interacting with it. To prevent this we recommend that MARS works exclusively on a copy of the database when it needs to run a report or query. Check this option to enable MARS to use a copy of the source database.


When the option is selected a copy of the database will be taken and stored in the same folder as the source database. You can change the location of the copy to a location with more disk space. If your database is stored on a network, you will benefit from better performance if the copy is stored locally on the MARS PC.


When MARS has finished running your report it will delete the database copy. It will be able to do this once MS Access has released the file (the ldb disappears). This can take a while, sometimes up to a few hours, so be patient.


If you prefer not to use a copy of your database (e.g. because it is too big) then you should not check this option. However you must ensure that no other users or processes are logged into the database at the schedule time. In addition, we recommend that you backup up your database before the schedule time so that you can revert to your original in case of corruption.


Front-End/Back-End: This is a special type of database which has been split using the facility in MS Access and is Identified by MS Access as FE/BE. For more information about splitting your database please see your MS Access user manual. Select this option if you are using a split database.


Note: When splitting your database MS Access stores the path to the BE in the FE. During the slitting process ensure you select a UNC path to the BE otherwise it will only be visible to MARS if MARS is installed on the PC where the splitting was done.


If your backend database is an ODBC database, select this option, the Database DSN, and your user credentials.





If your backend database is an Access file, select this option, then browse to the desired backend database file.


Tasks - Data-Driven Schedule



Add, Edit, delete and change the order of tasks from this screen.  For more information about the Custom Tasks module, click here.


Use image60.gif to export a task list, or import a previously exported task list.



Data-Driven Context Menu



Right-Click on a schedule to see the following actions.


Copy:  Use this to copy an existing schedule.  You can then paste it into another folder or the same folder.  Simply open the folder you wish to paste to, right-click in the "white" space and select "Paste".  Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process.


Paste:  Paste a previously copied schedule


Rename:  Rename a schedule


Enabled:  Schedules are Enabled when there is a check beside this option.  To stop a schedule from running, or to "pause" it for a while, select this option to remove the check.  Disabled schedules will not run till they are enabled again.


Refresh: When a schedule is first created, MARS caches (saves) a copy of the report.  All executions of the scheduled are performed using this copy.  If you make changes to your master report, you must select this option in order to pull the changes into MARS.


Preview Report:  Click this option to preview your report.


Execute Schedule:  This will execute the schedule immediately.  Note that the next run date and time is not moved on as a result of a manual execution.  This only moves on if the schedule is run automatically by one of the schedulers.  


Delete Schedule:  Selecting this option will delete the schedule.


Properties:  Selecting this option will bring up the "Properties" module containing configuration information for that schedule.  For more information on Properties, click here.




Test Schedule:  Use this option to test the schedule and export it to selected "test" destinations.


Convert to Package: Select this option to convert a Single Report Schedule to a Packaged Reports Schedule. Please note that you can select multiple single schedules to convert into a single Packaged Report Schedule. You are given the option to select which single schedule will be used as a template for the Packaged Report Schedule. Please note that the single schedules are deleted once the Packaged Report Schedule is created.  For more information on Packaged Reports Schedules, click here.


Ad-Hoc Email to Recipients:  Select this option to send an ad-hoc email to all recipients of this schedule.  You can use this to alert recipients to a planned system outage, or any other useful information.  For more information on this feature, click here.


Create Shortcut: Use this option to create a shortcut you can save in any location on your PC. Execute the shortcut to execute the schedule in MARS.