Creating Templates for Displayr Documents
Just like in PowerPoint, you can create templates for your company, and for specific clients, using Displayr. These templates can set things like color formatting in charts and tables, backgrounds, fonts, and statistical assumptions. The basic logic is very similar to PowerPoint: a good template consists both of defaults and also of a series of example layouts that can be readily used.
As examples, here are four templates. If you click on these links they will open up as documents in your Displayr documents page:
- Displayr Template LIGHT (widescreen)
- Displayr Template LIGHT (standard)
- Displayr Template WHITE (widescreen)
- Displayr Template WHITE (standard)
A template is not a specific type of document. Rather, it's a document you create with the explicit goal of re-using when creating new documents. So, you create a template by clicking + Add New on your Documents page in Displayr.
It is a good idea to give it a name like _Template, where the underscore forces it to the top of your Documents page. You can create multiple templates.
Just like with PowerPoint, from time-to-time you or a colleague will accidentally modify your template documents. Unlike with PowerPoint, Displayr has a built-in versioning system, so you can restore old templates by clicking on the cog at the top right of the document, pressing Document Settings > Version History, and then Use this version for the version you wish to revert to.
You can control the size of the page in a Displayr document using Home > Layout > Page Size. For example, if your goal is PowerPoint automation, you may want to choose the Widescreen (16:9) option.
The concept of a page size is a bit different in Displayr than in PowerPoint. If you have things that go off the edge of a page, they will still appear when you publish the document, unless you have hidden them (Appearance > Hide). This means that you can, in practice, create pages of different sizes just by putting things outside a page's border.
The Page Master
The main place where defaults are set is in the Page Master, which accessed by clicking Appearance > Page Master (View) from the Ribbon at the top of the screen. When you have finished making your changes, discussed below, you then click Appearance > Normal (View) to return to the normal mode for editing a document.
When you go into the Page Master, you can see the different page layouts on the left (Title Only, Blank, etc.). You can create backgrounds for these pages by inserting images and shapes from the Insert tab. For more information on how to layout objects, see Controlling the Placement of Objects in Displayr.
You can save time by selecting all the elements of your background and copying and pasting them onto another page (Home > Selection > Copy and Paste). But don't copy the actual slots themselves (i.e., the places for headings, text, and charts). You need to manually format each of them separately.
Colors for charts, tables, and shapes
When you click on a chart on one of the layouts, you will see a list of colors shown on the right side of the page in the Object Inspector. If you change these colors, they will change:
- The default colors that appear in charts
- The color options that are available for tables (Appearance > Table Styles)
- The color options that are available for shapes (Appearance > Shape Styles)
- The gallery of colors that are available when you are using a color picker to set the colors of an object.
Font family, font size, font style, and font color
Font settings are set separately for each of the page layouts (i.e., Title, Blank, etc.). For example, the screenshot below shows the Page Master for Title and Content. To set the font, font size, and font color, you click on the chart (as shown below), and then change the font settings in Appearance > Font. These settings apply by default to all types of objects that are put into the slot on the page, whether it be text or a chart, but you can override these settings as needed on your Normal pages.
Once you have formatted a specific chart as per your needs on a Normal page, it can be saved as a template, by clicking on the chart and then clicking in the Ribbon on Chart > Save as Template. This is then applied to another chart or table using Chart > Apply Template.
Displayr has two completely different ways of creating graphs. You can create charts, which are directly linked to data in a Data Set. Or, you can use the more flexible visualizations (Insert > Visualization), which can take data from anywhere and have many more formatting options.
The formatting of visualizations are remembered within a visualization, and are not set on the Page Master. Each visualization's fonts and colors can be customized on the visualization itself or you can hook it up to a visualization template created through Insert > Utilities > Visualization > Create template. More detail can be found on our blog post How to Create a Visualization Template in Displayr.
Just like in PowerPoint, it is good practice when creating a template to both set overall settings like fonts and colors in the Page Master, and also create a series of example page layouts that users can easily modify to their own needs. The example below shows a page with six boxes and titles. A couple of tips when doing things like this:
- It is usually easiest to start from the Title Only page layout when creating new layouts.
- Create any boxes using shapes in Displayr (Insert > Shape), rather than using an image created in another app, as this will allow people to easily resize and modify as per their needs.
- The efficient way to create a page like this in Displayr, is to:
- Create the grey background as one shape
- Create the two boxes (Insert > Shape) the heading (Insert > Text Box) shown at the top left and, when they are perfect, select them and use Home > Duplicate (Selection), and then move the duplicates to be underneath, Then, select everything, duplicate, and move, etc.
Templates and PowerPoint exporting
When you export a document to PowerPoint, all the formatting will still appear WYSIWYG in PowerPoint. So, if you take the time to create your templates in Displayr, this will save a lot of time in PowerPoint. However, Displayr will not modify the PowerPoint slide master settings (e.g., it will not change the default colors in PowerPoint). So if any new pages or charts are created in PowerPoint, you will need to change the defaults in PowerPoint manually.
Creating multiple versions of templates
Once you have created a template, you can duplicate it (so you can modify it). Go to your Documents page, hover over the template, and press the Duplicate button that will appear. Give your copy a new name, and it will automatically open for you in Edit mode.
Setting significance testing assumptions
It is also possible to modify the default significance testing options in a template. For example, you can change which default tests are used (e.g., chi-square or proportions tests), how weights are addressed, significance testing letters, etc. This is done via Displayr's sister program, Q. If you don't use Q, contact our support team and we will do it for you. The basic process is:
- Work out which assumptions you wish to modify. See the Q Wiki's section on significance testing for more information.
- Download your QPack as described Part 1 of this post.
- Open it in Q.
- Go to Edit > Project Options > Customize > Statistical Assumptions and modify things.
- Click OK.
- File > Save as, change the Save as type to Q Pack Files - project and data in one compressed file (*.QPack).
- Upload the QPack back to your document as described in Part 3 of this post.
You can share templates with others:
- Hover over the template on your Documents list and click Settings.
- Expand the Version History section.
- Press Download next to the version at the top. This will download a QPack onto your computer.
- Whoever you share the version with then needs to go to the Documents page and click Upload > QPack. (Note, uploading QPacks is not available for freemium users).
Adding a template to an existing document
You can copy and paste customizations from your Page Master layouts from one document to another in Displayr using Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V. If you have certain example tables or charts that are modified in your template you can copy and paste those over too.