Numbers in Narratives

This tutorial will talk you through the following:

  • How to use same numbers in multiple narratives
  • How to create references
  • How to add references to your documents
  • How to supply extra references

Let's get started

In Step 8 we have added and updated the following files:



The budget book file with reference definition

The budget book file without reference


The file with the references

Exhibits\Report - Capital Improvement Total Expenditures.docx
Narratives\Budget Summary.docx
Narratives\Budget Summary.docx
Narratives\Capital Improvement
Narratives\General Fund Expenditures.docx
Narratives\City Manager Letter.docx
Narratives\Budget Formulation Calendar.docx
Narratives\Budget Formulation Calendar.docx
Templates\Cover Page A.docx
Templates\Cover Page B.docx
Templates\Cover Page C.docx
Templates\Cover Page D.docx

In these files we have replaced a few actual values, with the references


Numbers in Narratives

One of the main steps on the "Get my final book" check list is the step to verify that you are using the same value, let's say, for the Approved Budget amount across all the narratives.

Protecting the consistency of your documents is the task that keeps the trust alive.

To simplify this task the Budget In Brief application allows you to store common numbers, or other commonly used values in a special reference file, and also use these stored references from that file across multiple documents.

When you look at the "Capital Improvement Expenditures.docx" from the Step 7 Tutorial you will see that the fiscal year and the capital improvement expenditures are spelled out in Figure 1.

If the capital improvement expenditure amount would increase after one of the council meetings, you will also need to change values in the "Budget Summary.docx" document in Figure 2, and also possibly in any other documents where the capital improvement expenditures amount is specified.


Figure 1

Figure 2

The Budget In Brief application allows you to specify a reference to the value instead of the actual value which is meant to be in the documents, and then during the final document creation process, replace the reference with the actual value.

In the "Capital Improvement Expenditures.docx" document, please check Figure 3 below, we are referencing the fiscal year value and the capital improvement expenditures value in millions.

At the same time, the "Budget Summary.docx" document references the fiscal year in multiple places, the operating budget, in billions, and the capital improvement expenditures value, in millions, on Figure 4.

Figure 3

Figure 4

To reference a value you will need to wrap reference name in to square brackets. In the prior example, to reference a fiscal year, we have used the [FiscalYear] reference; to reference the operating and Capital Improvement Budgets we have used the [Operating_Budget_in_Billion] reference and the [Capital_Improvement_Budget_in_Million] reference respectively.

But where are the reference values coming from?

Where are the reference values coming from?

The reference values come from the "my.reference" file, which can be specified in the "" file. Or, it could be specified manually during document creation. (As in figure 5)

Figure 5

Note: The references from multiple files will be applied in the order in which reference files are specified in, in the budget book file.

How do a Reference File looks like

Below is the Step 8 "budget.reference" file content.

  <reference name="FiscalYear" value="2002-03"/>
  <reference name="FiscalYear_approved_budget_in_Billion" value="1.72"/>
  <reference name="Capital_Improvement_Budget_in_Million" value="267.4"/>
  <reference name="Operating_Budget_in_Billion" value="1.45"/>

You could have references to a number, a string, or paragraph text.

If you would like to reference the number of issued permits, you will need to create the following reference:

<reference name="Number_Of_Issued_Permits_2001_2002" value="29,919"/>

Then, change the City of Dallas Profile.docx, to use the [Number_Of_Issued_Permits_2001_2002] reference.

Figure 6


Use references; they increase the quality, protect the consistency, make rollover to new fiscal year easier, save you time, and increase the flexibility of your book project.


Thank you again

A big thank you to the City of Dallas Texas! You can find the original City of Dallas Texas - 2003 Budget In Brief document in the Originals folder, in our case it is "S:\Step 1\Originals". You may also visit the City of Dallas budget page at this URL:

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