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How to use the HESA XML data entry tool

Version 1.0 Produced 2017-10-26


Downloading the tool

The data entry tool can be downloaded here. This link will open the setup wizard. Follow the step-by-step instructions to download the tool on a local PC or network.

As the tool was developed using Microsoft's .Net Framework 4.5, HESA recommends using a machine with the minimum specifications published by Microsoft.

Please click here to view a guidance video for the XML data entry tool.

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Running the tool

Double-click on the XML data entry tool icon located on your desktop, or alternatively select and open the file from its saved location on your PC.

You will be taken to the front page of the data entry tool:


From this page you can begin work on a new XML file, or you can go back to a saved XML file that you were previously working on by going to File > Open and selecting the appropriate file.

Creating an XML file

When creating a new file, codes are entered into free text box, or selected from the drop-down box next to the short name for that field.


The question mark next to this will take you to the relevant page of the coding manual:


To the right of this, the tool will indicate whether a a field is mandatory:


A cross next to a field indicates that an invalid entry has been made:


The fields for the sub-entities of the entity being viewed (e.g. Contract is sub-entity of the Person entity in the Staff record) can be edited by clicking on the appropriate link. Extra sub entities can be added by clicking the "Add a new../another.." link:


Individual entities (e.g. Contract) can be deleted by selecting them on the left-hand side of the tool and pressing the 'delete' button on your keyboard. A prompt will then ask for this action to be confirmed.

Once finished, the file can be saved by clicking File > Save.

Navigating the display

The tool will indicate whether or not all mandatory fields have been completed for the file in a summary at the top left of the screen. Where fields are missing it will report crosses:


Where fields have been completed with valid information, ticks will be displayed:


Error validation

The kit is also able to pick up where schema errors are present in the data being collected. This will be highlighted in the bottom right of the tool:


If this link is clicked on, the tool will display the detail of these errors:


Schema errors occur where there is a problem with the structure or order of the file, or an invalid character is included.

Further detail on XML can be found on the page Guidance and support with using XML.

Updating the tool

When you start the XML data entry tool it will automatically check the HESA server for updates to the schema, downloading these automatically where available. If the tool itself is updated, HESA will alert contacts, who will need to download the new version from the HESA website.

Need help?

Contact Liaison by email or on +44 (0)1242 388 531.