Merging vs. Cloning in WinTOTAL Aurora

This document explains why merging is better than cloning in WinTOTAL Aurora. It will also show you how to properly merge reports.

Document 5087  |  Last updated:  12/29/2016 KMG

I've heard cloning reports causes problems. Is it wrong to clone my reports?

No. Cloning in WinTOTAL creates an exact copy of a previous report. The potential problem with creating an exact duplicate is that over time, as you make edits to a report, clone it, make more edits, clone again and so on, you can forget about special cases you did in one report or another. Maybe you locked a field, changed formatting or changed a font. Maybe you swapped out a form and mixed and matched data even more. So, while there's nothing inherently wrong with cloning a file, you may find that over several generations of cloning, there are some unexpected results.

Why would I use SmartMerge instead?

SmartMerge doesn't create duplicate reports. It only transfers the data you select to merge into a new report. There's no Merge button in the Appraisal Desktop, but it does appear in the Order and Forms PowerViews after you've created the report. In other words, you create a clean file from scratch, then transfer the data and forms you want instead of cleaning up a copy of the original file.

Are there other benefits to merging?

Yes. One of the biggest benefits to SmartMerge is that you can choose exactly what you want to merge.

  • For instance, you may want to merge Neighborhood information from one report, then go back and transfer the Improvements section from another report. Since you get to choose what you want to merge and what you don't, you'll have only the information you need, and no extra to clean up from a clone - a huge time saver!
  • Merging can also convert between form types on the fly. If the current major form in your report is the new 1004, but you want to merge from the old 1004, it's no problem. WinTOTAL transfer the correct information to all applicable fields.
  • Merging is also useful for orders that come in through your XSite or were started by an admin person that wouldn't necessarily know what template to use when they start orders for you. When you open up the order to view it, you can keep all the information that was entered online and merge a template on top of it - retaining the information in the original order.

What are the steps to merge?

Merging is just as easy as the cloning method.

  1. Create a new report by clicking New.
  2. When WinTOTAL takes you to the Order PowerView, fill out information about the new order. It all transfers to the report forms. For best results, choose contacts like the appraiser, lender, etc from the contacts database - especially if you're used to cloning, since you might have partial entries in the report from which you're going to merge.
  3. Once you're finished entering data, click Merge in the toolbar.

  4. In the smerge screen, mark the Selected Forms in Report option.

  5. Now, using the folders on the left and the files listed at the top, locate the report you'd like to use.
  6. Select your desired report. In the section at the bottom, double-click the items you wish to merge. Notice an icon appears to the left of each item selected for transfer.
  7. Verify your selections, then click Merge Forms AND Data in the upper left corner.
    Do NOT click the Clone button. Since clone creates an exact copy of the report you select, Clone will OVERWRITE the data you've typed into the Order PowerView thus far. Merge DOES NOT overwrite your data.

WinTOTAL immediately merges in the data you selected, but you can always click Merge again to transfer more information.

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