Getting Started with the PowerPoint Writer: Tables

Liz Sanderson
Liz Sanderson
  • Updated

FME Version

  • FME 2020.0


Tables are a useful way of displaying data and create a tidy visualization in a slideshow. This tutorial is part three of six and will look at how to create tables, then write them to PowerPoint. We will be creating a table for each food type containing the business names and locations associated with each.



PowerpointWriter-3-Tables-Begin.fmwt Beginning workspace

PowerpointWriter-3-Tables-Part1-Complete.fmwt Completed Part 1 workspace

PowerpointWriter-3-Tables-Part2-Complete.fmwt Completed Part 2 workspace

street_food_vendors.xlsx Excel data for step 2

AreaOfInterest.xlsx Excel data for step 3


Step-by-step Instructions

This article contains two separate parts, the first part adds data and manipulates it in preparation for the next three tutorials in the series. The second part is the table creation using the PowerPointStyler. If you are only interested in the table creation, skip to Part 2 and open the PowerPointWriter-3-Tables-Part1-Complete.fmwt workspace.


Part 1: Data Preparation

1. Open starting workspace

Open the PowerPointWriter-3-Tables-Begin.fmwt workspace. This workspace is a continuation of the previous two tutorials, so you can continue with your previous workspace if you wish.


2. Add Street Food Vendors

Now we will add the street vendor data and start building. Add a Microsoft Excel Reader to the canvas and select Street-Food-Vendors.csv as the dataset. Set the Coord. System to LL84 and then in the Parameters ensure that the Types for Longitude and Latitude are set to x_coordinate and y_coordinate, respectively.



3. Add Area of Interest

Most of the street food vendors cluster in particular areas based on the amount of foot traffic they see in a day. Those areas have been identified and put into an Excel spreadsheet. Add another Microsoft Excel Reader to the canvas and set AreaOfInterest.xlsx as the dataset. Set the Coord. System to LL84 and then double-check the Latitude and Longitude in the parameters.



4. Buffer Area of Interest

If you inspect the AreaOfInterest Excel feature type, you will notice that each area is only a single point feature. We will need to create a buffer so that we can encompass the street food vendors and add the area of interest attribute to them. Add a Bufferer transformer after the Area of Interest feature type. In the parameters set the Buffer Amount to 125 and the Buffer Distance Units to Meters. Then we want our buffer to be rectangular so set the End Cap Style to Square and the Corner Style to Miter.



Connect an Inspector transformer to both the Street Food Vendors feature type and the Bufferer or Run with Cached Features and inspect both outputs. We want to ensure that our buffered area encompasses enough of the street food vendors without overlapping.



5. Overlay Street Food Vendors

Now that we have decided our buffered area is large enough, we need to filter the food vendor points and add the MainArea attribute. Add a SpatialFilter transformer to the canvas and connect the Street Food Vendors to the Candidate input port and the Buffered output port on the Bufferer to the Filter input port on the SpatialFilter.



In the parameters for Spatial Predicates to Test enable “Filter Contains Candidate” and “Filter Intersects Candidate” then enable Merge Attributes.



6. Clean up attributes

Finally, before we can create our tables, we will need to clean up the attributes. Add an AttributeManager transformer to the canvas and connect it to the Passed output port on the SpatialFilter. Remove all the attributes except STATUS, BUSINESS_NAME, LOCATION, DESCRIPTION, and MainArea.

Then rename the following attributes:

Input Attribute

Output Attribute




Business Name


Street Location


Food Type




7. Run translation

Run the translation to the AttributeManager to ensure that the attributes are set up correctly. You should have 41 point features each with an associated District.


Part 2: PowerPoint Table Creation

If you did not complete Part 1, please open the PowerPointWriter-3-Tables-Part1-Complete.fmwt workspace.


1. Sort by Business Name

We want our tables to be in alphabetical order by Business Name for each of the food types. Add a Sorter transformer to the canvas and connect it to the output port on the AttributeManager. In the parameters set the Sort By Attribute to Business Name then set it to Alphabetic by Ascending order.


2. Filter Attributes

Now we want to create a slide for each Food Type, to do this we will need to filter by the food types. Add an AttributeFilter transformer to the canvas and set Attribute to Filter By to Food Type. Next click the Import button, this will open a wizard to import attributes. Set the Reader to Microsoft Excel and the Dataset to street_food_vendors.xlsx, then click Next, then Next again. On the Select Attributes dialog select DESCRIPTION for Value and then click Import. This will import all of the food types into the AttributeFilter. Then click OK to close the AttributeFilter.



3. Create the table

Next, add a PowerPointStyler transformer and connect it to the Asian Cuisine output port on the AttributeFilter. In the parameters set the Slide Type to Table. Then for Title click on the drop-down and select FoodType.

For the Table Style you can select any style you wish, but for this tutorial, we are using Themed Style 2 Accent 5.

Finally for the Table Columns set the following parameters:

Column Header

Column Values

Column Width

Food Truck

Business Name



Street Location



You can leave Slide Order as Automatic, for now, we will change that in a minute.



5. Create a Table for Each Food Type

To ensure that we have a table for each food type, we will need to duplicate the PowerPointStyler that is connected to the AttributeFilter. Select the PowerPointStyler and right-click > Duplicate or ctrl-D, and connect the duplicated transformers to the Comfort Food output port on the AttributeFilter.

Repeat this step 6 more times until there is a PowerPointStyler for each of the Food Type attributes on the AttributeFilter.



6. Set Slide Order

Optional step to demonstrate manual slide ordering. If you placed your duplicated PowerPointStylers in the right order, then this step can be skipped.

We want to ensure that our table slides appear in alphabetical order and we might not have connected the duplicated PowerPointStylers in the right order for the slide order to be automatic. To fix this, add an AttributeCreator before the AttributeFilter and create a new attribute called SlideGroup and give it the value of Table. Now in each of the PowerPointStylers connected to the AttributeFilter, expand the Slide Ordering section and set Slide Order Group By to the attribute SlideGroup. Then set the Slide Order Within Group according to the table below:

Food Type Attribute

Slide Order

Asian Cuisine


Comfort Food


European Cuisine


Hot Dogs and Drinks


Local Meats and Seafood


Mexican Cuisine


Middle Eastern Cuisine


Soup and Sandwiches



The slide order can be manually set by using groups or by typing in a number. Any slides still set with Automatic for both the Group By and Within Group, these will appear before any manually assigned slide orders except when the Slide Order Group By is set to 1.


7. Connect Everything to the PowerPoint Writer

Now that everything is set up, select all of the PowerPointStylers that are connected to the AttributeFilter and then add a Junction transformer, this will ensure our workspace is nice and tidy. Then connect the Junction to the PowerPoint Writer. In addition to the Junction making the workspace tidy, you can also add a bookmark around this section of transformers and collapse it to give you more space.

Run the translation and then open up the output PowerPoint. There should be eight new slides added each with their own table.

Note: When running workspaces that use Automatic as the Slide Order, be sure to rerun the entire workspace to have the slides appear in the correct order.


Save your workspace and then continue on to the next tutorial, where we will be adding a bar chart to our presentation.


Asian Cuisine and Local Meats and Seafood tables viewed in Microsoft PowerPoint

Note: Sometimes table creation isn’t perfect and you will need to manually adjust the sizing within PowerPoint for your final presentation. For example, the Hot Dogs and Drinks table extends pass the slide.

Additional Note: If when you open the completed PowerPoint and it is in Master View. Click the "Close Master View" button on the ribbon to return to your output.


Data Attribution

The data used here originates from open data made available by the City of Vancouver, British Columbia. It contains information licensed under the Open Government License - Vancouver.


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