Using Dynamic variables in VAO

One of the more discrete things in VAO is that you can have dynamic variables added to your report template and each time a report is generated - any type of report in fact - the variables will be replaced with the right info for the report that was processed. This is something I found at first to be a little odd to do.  So I am writing it up here to make it easier for people, and I will use lots of screenshots.

I think it might be useful to start with what we end up with first.


Below is the table of contents for the report.

Note how Dynamic Text looks just like the rest?  That is because after I typed it I applied the same header to it that the other sections used (Header 2).

Now we see the simple example of Dynamic text.

The plan name was a variable, and so was the number of virtual machines that the plan protects.

What variables can we use?

The variables currently are: ~Created, ~TimeZone, ~PlanType, ~PlanName, ~PlanDescription, ~PlanContactName, ~PlanContactEmail, ~PlanContactTel, ~Site, ~SiteScopeName, ~SiteDescription, ~SiteContactName, ~SiteContactEmail, ~SiteContactTel, ~VmsInPlan, ~GroupsInPlan, ~ReportType, ~TargetRTO and ~ TargetRPO.

Let make it work

So you need to Edit your template - which is found in Report Templates. This does not work on a Mac, but only on Windows. You will need to confirm you are sure, and then authenticate. Then you will need to enable editing.

So we are ready now.

  • I find it easier to work with the variables when I am zoomed in 200%.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the doc.

  • I have typed in at the bottom of the doc the Dynamic Text, but have not yet applied a header to it.  Check the header in the section above and use the same.  BTW, the text above was entered by me.  It is all stuff in a couple of DR events I did not know, but desperately needed.  It is just simple text added to help out.
  • I type in the first use of dynamic text - PlanName.

  • And now it gets a little weird. You need to select Developer in the ribbon bar.  Then select Design Mode.

  • Now select PlanName text.
  • Then you need to select Aa in the Developer ribbon area.

  • Select PlanName again.
  • Then in the Developer area select Properties.

  • This will bring up a dialog. In both the Title and Tag fields enter ~PlanName. With the tilde, and exact case you see here.

  • Once you select OK things will look a little different.

  • Now lets go through the instructions above for the following variables:
    • PlanDescription
    • PlanContactName
    • VMsinPlan
  • It should look something like below.

  • Now we do a File / Save.
  • Next we do a File / Close.
  • Now close Word.
  • We will not see what we did in the template until we click on a different template and back again. If you do that, and then scroll down, you will see what we did. Sort of plain looking.

  • To see what it will look like for real, you need to change to the Orchestration Plans area.
  • Highlight a plan, and then select Reports.

  • Once you select the Update Definition Report it will be produced.
  • Access the Reports again and select the Plan Definition choice. You will then see something like below.

  • When you click on the blue - which is the name of the plan we had highlighted, you will have a PDF downloaded.
  • Once the PDF has downloaded open it.
  • We should see what we did - Dynamic Text in the table of contents.

  • Now click on the Dynamic Text line so we can jump to what we did.

And we can see things worked!  There is two periods in the second line due to one being from the description and one from the report template.

I hope that this gets you started using the dynamic variables which are quite powerful and useful I think.

Let me know if you have questions or comments.  Always happy to help my readers.


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