Task Builder Ribbon

This article covers the following topics:

Ribbon - Overview

Parameters

Application Button

File Button

Quick Access Toolbar

Access Keys

Other Keyboard Navigation Options

Overview


If you are familiar with older versions of AutoMate, the most significant and noticeable transformation you will observe in the new Task Builder is that standard menus and tool bars have been replaced with the "Ribbon", a contextual interface designed to increase efficiency and make it easier for users to find features and quickly access popular commands and controls during task construction. The Ribbon spans the top of Task Builder, the section once occupied by the menu bar and various too bars. It is filled with graphical representations of control elements which are grouped by different functionality. Commands are organized in logical groups, which are collected together under operation related tabs. The Ribbon brings the most common commands to the forefront, in plain sight, so you no longer have to roam aimlessly through the clutter of menus, submenus and tool bars searching for what you want. Enlarging or maximizing the Task Builder window auto-expands the Ribbon vertically.

NOTE: For those of you that find the new interface a bit challenging or prefer to interact with the original menu/toolbar approach, simply click the Application button located on the upper left corner of the Task Builder window and select Preferences to open the Task Builder Preferences dialog box. From here, navigate to the General tab and toggle the option Use Menu/Toolbar Interface.

 

Take note the small arrows located directly below various Ribbon icons or buttons. Clicking these arrows opens the associated traditional dialog box which contain controls or commands related to the main icon. For example, if you click the arrow below the Run icon, a dialog box will open displaying other available Run options, such as Run All, Run Selected, Run from here and Step (as shown below). Since not every single option will fit on the Ribbon, these dialog boxes remain useful.

Take note the small arrows located directly below various Ribbon icons/buttons. Clicking these arrows opens the associated traditional context menus which contain controls or commands related to the main icon. For example, if you click the arrow below the Select icon, a drop-down menu will open displaying related commands such as Select All, Select Step Number and Select Label (as shown below). Since not every single option will fit on the Ribbon, these drop-down menus remain very useful.

Parameters


The Task Builder Ribbon is categorized into two contextual tabs, Home and Available Actions. Each represents an activity area and has several groups that show related commands together. A command is a control, button or menu that represents the operation to perform. To view a description of each command and associated hot-keys (if any), hover the mouse cursor directly above the desired command. The following tables describe the available commands contained within each tab.

Home Tab Commands

The following table details each command found in the Ribbon's Home tab along with their associated controls and keyboard hot-key combinations (if applicable). Each command is categorized by the group they reside in.

Group

Control

Command

Description

Hot-Key

Document

 

Save and Close

Saves the current task and closes the Task Builder window.

CTRL+A

Save

Saves the current task. If the task being saved is a managed task, it will be saved to its present location. If saving an unmanaged task (i.e. creating a task using the New option), a standard Windows Explorer dialog appears allowing you to select the folder in which to save the task (.AML) file.

CTRL+S

Save Copy As...

Saves a copy of the task as an AML (AutoMate Markup Language) file.

 

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Clipboard

Cut

Cuts the selected step(s). To select multiple steps, hold down CTRL during selection. To select all steps, press CTRL+A or click Select All from the Find group.

CTRL+X

Copy

Copies the selected step(s) to the clipboard. To select multiple steps, hold down CTRL during selection.

CTRL+C

Copy Description

Copies the text description of the selected step(s). The description can then be pasted into another document such as Notepad. To select multiple steps, hold down CTRL during selection.

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Paste

Pastes the previously copied or cut step(s). The step(s)s are pasted directly below the currently highlighted line in the Steps pane.

CTRL+V

Delete

Deletes the selected step(s). To select multiple steps, hold down CTRL during selection.

(DEL)

Find

Find

Finds a specific word or phrase within the task. More on find options

CTRL+F

Find Next

Finds the next instance of a word or phrase. More on find options

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Find Previous

Finds the previous instance of a word or phrase. More on find options

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Replace

Replaces an occurrence of the selected text string. More on replace options

CTRL+H

Replace Next

Replaces the next occurrence of the selected text string. More on replace options

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Select All

Selects all steps included in the Steps pane.

CTRL+A

Select Step Number

Opens a dialog box allowing entry of the desired step to select. Mainly used to quickly navigate to a specific step within a task that includes a significantly large amount of steps.

CTRL+G

Select Label

Opens a dialog box allowing entry of the desired label to go to. Used to jump to another section of the task defined by a Label.  

CTRL+L

Layout

Step Numbers On/Off

Turns step numbers On/Off as they appear on the Steps pane (On by default).

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Word Wrap

Turns word wrap On/Off. When set to ON, the text becomes wrapped in the Steps pane so it doesn't scroll across the entire screen (On by default).

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Status Bar

Turns the status bar display On/Off (On by default). The status bar is seated along the bottom of the Task Builder GUI and provides the following information about a running task:

  • The step number currently running or selected

  • The status of the step, such as Running, Finished, or Error

  • The percent completion of a running step

  • The action being executed by a running step

More on Status Bar

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Icon Size

Specifies how the unique icons associated to each action should appear in the Steps pane. The available options are:

  • None - Icons will not be displayed in the Steps pane.

  • Small (Default) - Small icons will be displayed in the Steps pane.

  • Large - Large icons will be displayed in the Steps pane.

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Windows

Shows/Hides specific Task Builder windows. All windows are shown by default.

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Task

Run

Runs the steps of the current task sequentially. More on run options

F5

Run All

Runs all the steps of the current task sequentially. More on run options

F5

Step

Runs the task one step at a time starting from the highlighted step. Click this button each time you want to run the next step. More on run options

F9

Pause

Pauses a running task. More on run options

F6

Stop

Stops/resets a running task. More on run options

CTRL+F2

Step

Edit

Opens the properties of the selected step for editing.

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Up Arrow

Moves the selected step(s) up one line. To select multiple steps, hold down CTRL during selection.

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Down Arrow

Moves the selected step(s) down one line. To select multiple steps, hold down CTRL during selection.

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Left Arrow

Decreases indentation of the selected step(s). To select multiple steps, hold down CTRL during selection.  

CTRL+LEFT

Right Arrow

Increases indentation of the selected step(s). To select multiple steps, hold down CTRL during selection.  

CTRL+RIGHT

 

Create Region

Creates a region. More on Regions

CTRL+R

Clear Region

Clears a the selected region. More on Regions

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Expand All Regions

Expands all regions. More on Regions

Shift+E

Collapse All Regions

Collapses all regions. More on Regions

Shift+C

Format Steps

Enables/Disables Auto-formatting of steps. When enabled, blocks of steps contained within a conditional (If) statement or Loop process are formatted (indented) to improve distinction (Enabled by default).

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Enable/Disable

Enables/Disables execution of the selected step(s). To select multiple steps, hold down CTRL during selection. Disabled steps appear grayed out and are ignored during task execution. Newly added steps are enabled by default.

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Bookmark

Adds a bookmark to the selected step(s). To add to multiple steps, hold down CTRL during selection. Bookmarks are a means of marking steps so you can find them easily when constructing or editing a task. More on bookmarks

CTRL+F3

Next Bookmark

Goes to the next step that contains a bookmark. More on bookmarks

F3

Previous Bookmark

Goes to the previous step that contains a bookmark. More on bookmarks

SHIFT+F3

Breakpoint

Adds a breakpoint to the selected step(s). To add a breakpoint to multiple steps, hold down CTRL during selection. A breakpoint is a debug tool that pauses task execution at the specific step to allow the developer time to examine particular data that may change during the course of the task (i.e. variables or datasets). More on Breakpoints

F8

View

Display

Indicates how the data located in the Steps pane should be displayed. The following options are:

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Visual Mode

The steps of the task are displayed in Vidual Mode which displays a plain English text description of each step.

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AML Mode

The steps of the task are displayed in AML (AutoMate Markup Language) mode, the internal language used by AutoMate.

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Insert

Actions

Allows you to select an action to insert into the Steps pane. Clicking Actions will display a drop-down list of all available actions housed by categorized folders (in the same manner that they appear in the Available Actions pane).

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Add Variable

Adds a variable to the highlighted section of the Steps pane. More on Variables

CTRL+ALT+V

Add Comment

Adds a comment to the highlighted section of the Steps pane. More on Comments

CTRL+ALT+C

Add Attachment

Adds an attachment to the highlighted section of the Steps pane. More on Attachments

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Add Label

Adds a label to the highlighted section of the Steps pane. More on Labels

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Available Actions Tab Commands

The following table details each command found in the Ribbon's Available Actions tab along with their associated controls and keyboard hot-key combinations (if applicable). Each command is categorized by the group they reside in.

Group

Control

Command

Description

Operation

Add Step

Gets the action selected from the Available Actions pane and places it as the last step on the Steps pane. More on Steps

Insert Step

Gets the action selected from the Available Actions pane and places it in the specified location on the Steps pane. More on Steps

Sort A to Z

Changes the sort order of the current Available Actions view to alphabetical A to Z. Click again to reverse the sort order. More on Available Actions Pane

Expand All

Expands all folders in the Available Actions pane. More on Available Actions Pane

Collapse All

Collapses all folders in the Available Actions pane. More on Available Actions Pane

Categories

Enables/Disables categorized folders in the Available Actions Toolkit (Enabled by default). More on Available Actions Pane

Reset Available Actions

Resets the Available Actions Toolkit to its original state. All previous modifications will be discarded.  More on Available Actions Pane

My Actions

 

Clear Popular

Clears the Available Actions pane's popular list of actions. More on My Actions Pane

 

Clear Favorites

Clears the Available Actions pane's favorite actions list. More on My Actions Pane

 

Clear Recent

Clears the Available Actions's recent list of actions.  More on My Actions Pane

 

Clear All My Actions

Clear's the My Actions list. More on My Actions Pane

 

Remove from Favorites

Removes the selected action from the Favorites list. More on My Actions Pane

 

Add to Favorites

Adds the selected action to the Favorites list.  More on My Actions Pane

Application Button


The Application Button is located in the upper-left corner of the Task Builder and presents a menu of important commands that essentially involve performing specific non document related operations. In other words, such operations do not directly relate to the editing of the task at hand. They include items such as New, Open, Save, Print, and Close - items that normally reside in the File menu of legacy systems. The right side of the menu lists your recently opened tasks. These are always conveniently visible so that you don't have to search your computer for a task you frequently work on. In addition, the bottom right corner of the menu contains the Preferences button. Clicking this button opens a Preferences dialog that supplies an assortment options used to configure visual and behavioral attributes of the Task Builder.

File Button


The File Button is located in the upper-left corner of the Task Builder Ribbon and presents a menu of commands that involve performing specific non document related operations. In other words, such operations do not directly relate to the editing of the task at hand. They include items such as New, Open, Save, Print, and Close - items that normally reside in the File menu of legacy systems. The right side of the menu lists your recently opened tasks. These are always conveniently visible so that you don't have to search your computer for a task you frequently work on. In addition, the bottom right corner of the menu contains the Preferences button. Clicking this button opens a Preferences dialog that supplies an assortment options used to configure visual and behavioral attributes of the Task Builder.

Menu Commands

The following table provides a description for each command found when clicking the Application button along with their associated controls and keyboard hot-keys (if applicable).

Control

Command

Description

Hot-Key

New

Creates a new task. Selecting this option adds a new tab in the Steps pane.

NOTE: Using this option creates an unmanaged task.

CTRL+N

Open...

Opens an existing task. A standard Windows Explorer dialog appears allowing you to navigate to the task (.AML) file to open.

CTRL+O

 

Save

Saves the current task. If the task being saved is a managed task, it will be saved to its present location. If saving an unmanaged task (i.e. created using the New option), a standard Windows Explorer dialog appears allowing you to select the folder in which to save the task (.AML) file.

CTRL+S

Save As...

Saves a copy of the task file or saves the task file in another format. A standard Windows Explorer dialog appears allowing you to navigate to the location in which to save the task (.AML) file.

SHIFT+CTRL+S

Save All

Save all open tasks

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Print

Prints the steps of the current task as they appear in the Steps pane.

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Send

E-mails the current task to the specified recipient.

The available send options are:

  • Mail Recipient - Sends the displayed task in the body of an e-mail

  • Mail Recipient (As Attachment) - Sends the displayed task as an e-mail attachment.

  • Mail All to Recipient (As Attachment) - Sends all open tasks as e-mail attachments.

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Tools

Operates a specific Task Builder operation.

The available options are:

  • Expression Builder - Opens the Expression Builder Window

  • Reset - Resets the Task Builder interface to its original form. Selecting this option opens a dialog box warning you that all customizations will revert to default. Click Yes to proceed.

  • Import Steps - Imports steps from another task to the current task.

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Close

Closes the current task file. If changes were made, a dialog box will appear prompting whether to save the changes. Click Yes to proceed.

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Close All

Closes all currently opened tasks. If changes were made to one or more tasks, a dialog will appear prompting whether to save the changes. Click Yes to proceed.

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  Quick Access Toolbar


The Quick Access Toolbar is the small area to the upper left of the Ribbon and provides you with one-click shortcuts to commonly used commands that are independent of the ribbon tabs that are currently displayed. You can add your favorite commands to it so that they are available no matter which tab you are on. Additionally, you can move the Quick Access Toolbar from one of two possible locations.

Default Quick Access Toolbar Commands

By default, the Quick Access Toolbar exposes single-click buttons that represent the most often used commands, such as Open, Save, Undo, Redo and Run. The table below provides a description of those commands.

Control

Command

Description

Hot-Key

Open

Opens an existing task. A standard Windows Explorer dialog appears allowing you to navigate to the task (.AML) file to open.

CTRL+O

Save

Saves the current task. If the task being saved is a managed task, it will be saved to its present location. If saving an unmanaged task (i.e. created using the New option), a standard Windows Explorer dialog appears allowing you to select the folder in which to save the task (.AML) file.

CTRL+S

Find

Finds a specific word or phrase. More on find options

 Sub-commands include:

  • Find Next - Finds the next instance of a word or phrase.

  • Find Previous - Finds the previous instance of a word or phrase.

CTRL+F

Run

Runs the steps of the current task sequentially. More on run options

Sub-commands include:

  • Run All - Runs all the steps of the current task sequentially.

  • Run Selected - Runs the selected steps.

  • Run From Here - Runs the task from the selected step.

  • Step - Runs the task step by step.

F5

Undo

Closes the current task file. If changes were made, a dialog box will appear prompting whether to save the changes. Click Yes to proceed.

CTRL+Z

Redo

Closes all currently opened tasks. If changes were made to one or more tasks, a dialog will appear prompting whether to save the changes. Click Yes to proceed.

CTRL+Y

To remove buttons from the Quick Access Toolbar:

  1. Click the Customize Quick Access Toolbar button (to the right of the toolbar).

  2. On the menu that appears, click the command you want to omit from the toolbar. The check mark beside that command will disappear indicating that the command has been removed. The example above shows that the Find command has been removed.

  3. To reinstate the command, simply click the command previously omitted.

Displaying the Quick Access Toolbar Below the Ribbon

In addition to adding and removing commands, you can also customize the Quick Access Toolbar to be displayed below the Ribbon. There is an option to select which accomplishes this on the Customize Quick Access Toolbar panel (at the bottom).

To show the Quick Access Toolbar below the ribbon:

  1. Click the Customize Quick Access Toolbar button (to the right of the toolbar).

  2. On the menu, click the option Show Quick Access Toolbar Below the Ribbon.

  3. To reinstate the toolbar above the ribbon, click the option Show Quick Access Toolbar Above the Ribbon.

  Access Keys


If you prefer to use the keyboard instead of the mouse, the Ribbon provides keyboard shortcuts called Access Keys that enable you to quickly perform operations without reaching for the mouse. Access keys provide a quick and convenient way to use a command by pressing a few keystrokes, no matter where you are in the program.

NOTE: Along with the new Access Keys, original keyboard shortcuts (or hot-keys) found in older versions of Task Builder can also be used. To view the name of each command and determine associated hot-keys (if applicable), hover the mouse directly above the desired command.

 

To use the Access Keys:

  1. Press and release the ALT key. The KeyTips are displayed over each feature that is available in the current view.

  1. Press the letter/number shown in the KeyTip over the feature that you want to use. Depending on which letter/number you pressed, you may be shown additional KeyTips.

  2. Continue pressing letters/numbers until you press the letter of the specific command or option that you want to use.  

NOTE: To cancel the action that you are taking and hide the KeyTips, press and release the ALT key.

Other Keyboard Navigation Options


Another way to use the keyboard to work with the Ribbon is to move the focus among the tabs and commands until you find the feature that you want to use. The following table lists some ways to move the keyboard focus without using the mouse.

To Do This

Press

Select the active tab of the Ribbon and activate the access keys.

ALT or F10. Press either of these keys again to move back to the document and cancel the access keys.

Move to another tab of the Ribbon.

ALT or F10 to select the active tab, and then LEFT ARROW or RIGHT ARROW

Minimize or restore the Ribbon.

CTRL+F1

Move the focus to each command in the Ribbon, forward or backward.

ALT or F10, and then TAB or SHIFT+TAB

Move down, up, left, or right among the items in the Ribbon.

DOWN ARROW, UP ARROW, LEFT ARROW, or RIGHT ARROW

Activate the selected command or control in the Ribbon.

SPACE BAR or ENTER

Open the selected menu or gallery in the Ribbon.

SPACE BAR or ENTER

See Also

Task Builder Steps Pane

Task Builder Status Bar

Task Builder My Actions Panel

Task Builder Debug Pane