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Importing content into EA

One of the best ways to make your EA models useful, trusted and relevant is to gather knowledge from elsewhere in your organisation, and put it into EA - we call this "Harvesting".

Harvesting means that you don’t have to start from an empty model. You can harvest information from previous projects, company or industry standards, and even simple organisation charts. All of this is potentially useful information, which users of the model will recognise, and which they can reference from the new bits they invent. (see the Artful Modeller posting on Psychology of Harvesting).

Harvesting Word documents

Creating a Package Structure from a Word document

Choose the EA Package where you want the imported data to go. Using eaDocX, open the Word document which contains the content you want to import and select the text you want to import, including the headings and paragraphs. Then go back to your browser package and with one click just import it directly into EA.

Any existing structure in the Word document is used to create a package structure in your EA model, with a new package created for each heading in your document.

If eaDocX finds content that it doesn't understand, such as tables and diagrams, it will just skip over them and continue. Sadly importing diagrams still has to be done manually, but tables can be managed using eaXL to import the data.

Not only do we now have the structure, we also have the content underneath each heading which has become the content of the package Notes field, and we get more information in the package description.

This means you can quickly get a mass of semi-structured information into EA really quickly.

Adding Elements using Excel

Importing data into EA is simple with eaDocX/eaXL. Start by telling EA what to expect – so in the EA package where your data will go, create a single element type for one of the new elements that you want to create.

  • Export that to Excel, including the standard EA and tagged value fields that you want to populate (e.g., Element type, name, notes, stereotype, priority).
  • Add the data that you need to import as new rows in that worksheet.
  • Then just import the data back into EA.

You can use this to create new elements quickly, and also to import data from other sources.

The new elements will be children of the package which is immediately above them in the spreadsheet.

If this isn’t the right place, it’s usually easiest to move them about using the EA Project Browser, then re-export the results back into eaXL if required.

RTF Master and Model documents

If you have already tried to produce documents using the built-in EA RTF generator, then you may already have some Master documents or Model documents defined. eaDocX can use those document definitions to create eaDocX documents. So you can super-charge your existing contents with Word styles and formatting.

Simply open a new eaDocX document inside EA and then add your EA master or EA model document definition as a document section.

As with any other EA content, eaDocX will automatically give you options to format these sections precisely as you want. eaDocX looks at the elements, packages, matrices, and diagrams you have included and presents a full set of Word formatting options.

You can then add to your model or master document content, with new eaDocX sections (link to new Building documents with Sections article) – all updated with a single click and delivering real insight into your model.

Use the documents you have already created, and take them to the next level with eaDocX.

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