User's guide chapter 8

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Chapter 8 – Enhancing Access to Models

8.1 – Import Data

Users can import tens of thousands of lines of raw data of their own physical process into a model using the import data function.


1. Select Export Data from the Tools menu. Select the items to export. Click OK.

exporting model data from ProcessModel

This will create a data file (model-nameData) and open it in Excel.

exported data file from processmodel

2. Use a ProcessModel supplied import sheet that matches the type of data you want to import.

For more information on import sheets see Model Objects below.

3. Follow the instructions on the import sheet and click the Update button.

Detailed Information

The model data import allows users the ability to import their own data into the model. This can be done manually by opening and editing the exported Data file or by using one of the Model Objects provided, that contain the relevant import sheets. Editing of the Data sheet allows importing of many things into the model, like arrivals, interface changes, action logic, and routing information.

scheduled arrivals raw data to readable data

Few of the Model Objects provided are as follows;

1. Create an Interface

2. Create Weekly Pattern Arrivals

3. Daily Pattern Arrivals

4. Flexible Workcell Arrivals

5. Import and Overall Flow

6. Weekly Pattern Arrivals Import

Examples of use of some of these Model Objects is included in the next section.

8.2 – Import from Model Objects

ProcessModel provides a host of import capable Model Objects that can be used to import raw data into ProcessModel. Some of these Model Objects are Create an Interface, Create Weekly Pattern Arrivals, Daily Pattern Arrivals, Import & Overall Flow, Import Scheduled Arrivals, Weekly Pattern Arrivals Import, ED1 Arrivals with Acuity, Flexible Workcell Arrivals, Growth Pattern for Hospitals, Growth pattern for Job Shop, Lab Arrivals with Priority, Overall Flow Through Hospital and others.

Using Weekly Pattern Arrivals

1. Click Model Objects and then Select.Weekly Pattern Arrivals Sheet

2. Select and Insert Create Weekly Pattern Arrivals from the Arrivals category.

Important information to be aware of For detailed information on use, click Open instead.

3. Connect the arrival route and the exit route from the black box as required.

4. Right click on Weekly Pattern Arrivals Sheet folder and click the third option from the bottom to open the Excel Macro.

5. Add your arrival data and follow the instructions provided.

Using Create an Interface

1. Click Model Objects and then Select.

2. Select and Insert Create an Interface from the Arrivals category.

Important information to be aware of For detailed information on use, click Open instead.

3. Right click on Scenario Input Sheet folder and click the third option from the bottom to open the Excel Macro.

4. Follow the steps provided to use the interface file.

8.3 – Mass Changes

After a model is created it’s often important to make many changes to the model at once.

8.3.1 – Export Model Data


1. Select Export Data from the Tools menu.

2. Select the items to export. Click OK.

Important information to be aware of Export is created in .XLSX. If you have Excel on your computer, it will automatically start with the model data showing. You can now edit the exported data file manually using MS Excel.

Detailed Information

ProcessModel allows you to export model data to Excel. This will allow you to create spreadsheets representing your model data. Once in the Excel format, data can be changed and imported back into ProcessModel. This allows, for example, all route times to be changed from one spreadsheet table in a matter of seconds. Using the formatting, formula and VBA capabilities of Excel, custom forms can be created, to serve as a custom entry area. ProcessModel will import the value found in the respective spreadsheet cells. The general data structure of the information exported cannot be changed. For example, entities or activities (new Excel rows) can’t be added but the values of any of the fields can be viewed or changed. When exporting action logic, a maximum of 30,000 characters will be exported, including spaces and carriage returns. Export files will be packaged with the other model files so that modifications to the Excel file will be passed on to the recipient of the package. See Using Model Objects in Chapter 4.2.

Another use of exporting information to Excel is for validation of the model data. Having all of the information in one spot is valuable for checking your work and helpful during project reviews.

From the Export Model Data dialog, you may export all data or export only specific items.

Exporting Model Data from processmodel

When you export model data, ProcessModel creates a separate table or spreadsheet for each object type. For example, data created for activities will appear on a separate sheet with individual rows for each activity type. Below is an example export showing the Activity tab.

Exported data from processmodel to excel

Important information to be aware of If you previously exported the model data, and changed the data to anything other than a value, those cells may not be overwritten during export.

8.3.2 – Import Model Data


1. Make changes to the model Data file manually or use a Model Object to make the changes.

2. Select Import Data from the Tools menu. Click OK.

Detailed Information

After you export the data from your model, ProcessModel allows you to modify the data and import it back into the model. You can simplify massive data changes to large file by first exporting the data, making the changes in Excel and importing the file into ProcessModel.

 Limited by available memory and system resources; The maximum number of columns that can be imported is over 100,000, the maximum number of rows is over 100 and maximum characters per cell is 30,000.

With the exception of Scheduled Arrivals, the import data option allows you to edit existing data only from Excel and will not recognize new entries (i.e. new entities, new activities, new resources, etc.). Only the data associated with an item may be edited. For example, you can change the number of resources, but you may not change the name of the resource. As noted above, you may add new Scheduled arrivals as long as the format of the new row in Excel matches an already existing row. In order to add new arrivals, you must have added at least one scheduled arrival from ProcessModel prior to exporting which will add the Schedule Arrival worksheet tab in Excel.

Before changing the exported data for scheduled arrival, open the datasheet of the model. Observe the formatting for cell in the row. When adding new lines make certain that the same formatting is followed. Although the time may appear to be the problem other cells may actually be the culprit. The Time cell must be formatted correctly, as well as the Week and Quantity cells. If this is not properly done, some or all of the arrival times change to 12:00 AM.

You will notice that the Week and Quantity fields use a tic mark (apostrophe) before the number to make the entry a text entry. Your entries will need to use the same format.

importing model data into processmodel

8.3.3 – Import & Run


1. Set up the Excel file by exporting the model data. See “Exporting Model Data” in Chapter 8.1.

2. Modify the data as needed. Any referencing of data to other Excel worksheets, VBA or outside sources is allowed. Only the value of the reference will be imported.

3. Press the Import and Run button.

Detailed Information

After creating an Export of the model file, the Excel file can be modified and imported with the new information. The Excel file could be linked to a “live” database and updated in real time. All the user would do to run the updated file is to press the Import and Run button located on the toolbar.

Importing data and simulating processmodel

8.4 – Model Protection

At times you may want to prevent people from changing your model or even from looking at the logic you used to create the model. Model protection provides the ability to lock the model and hide all of the dialogs except the scenarios. Proprietary logic is hidden from view. Of course, you maintain the ability to modify the model by providing a password that unlocks the model.

When this feature is enabled, a working model can be delivered to a client, but they can not see or modify any of the information in Activities, Routings, Resources or Storages. They can not export the model to see proprietary information. If you set it up, the recipient can be allowed to have access to run scenarios. This completely protects your valuable process information.

Some of the ways that we have seen this used includes:

  1. Locking the model so that Run-Time users can not change anything that you don’t want then to be able to change.
    • They can not add or delete graphical elements.
    • They can not change times or action logic.
    • They can change scenarios if you set it up.
  2. Don’t release model detail to a client until they have paid for services rendered.
    • They can verify the model functionality.
    • They can verify the output.
    • They can not modify or see the details of how you set up the model.
    • Providing the client with a password unlocks the detail.
  3. Releasing detailed models to a potential client without losing leverage of knowledge acquired.
    1. The client can exercise the model, seeing animation and output.
    2. The client can not see how you made the model handle complex situations.
  4. Protecting sensitive information when files are transferred or left on a common computer.

Password Rules:

  • The password is case sensitive.
  • The password has no minimum length.
  • Spaces and other special characters may be used.

How To – Protect Model Data

1. Select Protect Document from the Tools menu.

2. Enter a password in the Protect Document dialog. Verify the password in the next field. Remember this password.

3. Click OK.

properties dialog on a protected model in processmodel

properties dialog on a protected model in processmodel

Once you have set the password, new shapes can’t be added, the model can’t be changed and the data in the Properties dialogs can’t be seen. Your model is protected.

How To – Unprotect a Model

1. Select Unprotect Document from the Tools menu.

2. Enter the correct password.

3. Click OK.

The access to all aspects of the model is restored.

8.5 – Export Model Visuals


1. Press CTRL + A to select all objects in your model, then press CTRL + C to copy.

2. In MS Word (or other MS Office application) click Paste Special then select Picture (Windows Metafile) in As and click OK.

Important information to be aware of A model image can also be printed to PDF using the Microsoft Print to PDF tool available in all the latest versions on Windows. To print to PDF simply click ‘File \ Print’ and select Microsoft Print to PDF as the name of the printer, click ‘OK’ to open a dialog to save the report as PDF.

Important information to be aware of Click File \ Save As Web Page to save the model as a web page.

Printing Page Numbers

How-to include page numbers when a model is printed.

  1. Click File / Page Setup.
  2. Click the Header/Footer tab.
  3. Click Custom Header or Custom Footer (depending on where you want the page number to appear).
  4. Click the mouse cursor in the Section you prefer (Left, Center, or Right).
  5. Click the Insert Page # icon to add the page number.
  6. Click the OK button.
  7. Click the Options tab.
  8. In the Pagination section, click Book Mode.

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