How to Use the Reference View
  • 23 Jan 2024
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How to Use the Reference View

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Article Summary

Reference View is a powerful interface tool that allows the user to see the flow of data, via tasks, through a workflow. Before making changes to a workflow, a user can see how the flow of data from the current tasks will be impacted.

Reference View Mode

To enter Reference View mode, click on a task and then use the keyboard shortcut "R". Alternatively, perform a context click on the task (right-click on; mouse/two finger click-on; mouse pad/hold down Ctrl key and click on the task) and then select the View References option in the context menu.

Figure 1: Enable Reference View from the Stub Task

When Reference View is enabled, all the tasks the selected origin task uses for variable inputs (referred to as 'prior' tasks) and all tasks using variables of the selected task (referred to as 'subsequent' tasks) are displayed in a custom node template. All other tasks and transitions are lowered in opacity.

While in Reference View mode, the user can interact with the canvas as normal, except for any actions that could potentially change a task's references, which would trigger a notification suggesting the user exits the reference view to complete their attempted action. Reference View allows for a convenient visualization of all tasks that any particular task uses or is used by.

Reference View Visualizations

Listed below are the visualizations and features used in Automation Studio to distinguish the Reference View:

  • Origin Tasks are focused by four gray floating corner accents/highlights surrounding on the task.
  • Prior Tasks are highlighted in orange to indicate where data is coming into the origin task.
  • Subsequent Tasks that receive data from the origin task are highlighted in blue and show where data is going.


Below, the Stub task is the Reference View Origin Task and is highlighted with the four corner accents. It is pulling in data from both of the Prior tasks (the New Variable and Modify tasks) displayed in orange. It is passing data through both of the Subsequent tasks (the Evaluation task and another Stub task) displayed in blue.

Figure 2: Data Flow for Reference View

Below is an example of a warning a user will see when attempting an action that would potentially change references. In this example, there is an attempt to delete the Reference View Origin Task. The delete options in the context menu are disabled and when the keyboard shortcut is used, the warning notification appears in the upper-right corner of the canvas.

Figure 3: Reference View Warning

When to Use Reference View

Before making any changes to tasks on a workflow, use the Reference View to see what the current task being used is interacting with and connected to, and to see how the flow of data will be affected in other tasks.

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