Desktop User Guides > Professional > Using UNICOM Intelligence Professional > Using UNICOM Intelligence Professional to develop interviews > Running interviews automatically > Using hints
 
Using hints
You can use hints to reduce the range of values that UNICOM Intelligence Professional can choose from when generating an answer in Auto Answer.
To be able to use hints, you must be comfortable using MDM Explorer to create and amend custom properties in your .mdd file. Note that you cannot use the metadata viewers in UNICOM Intelligence Professional to update custom properties. Make sure that you close your interview script in UNICOM Intelligence Professional before using MDM Explorer.
You can create hints for either Field or VariableInstance objects. Always use the Field object unless you are creating different hints for each question in a loop. All custom properties used to specify hints must be created in the AutoAnswer context, so check that this context exists in your .mdd file and create it if necessary before trying to create hints.
This is a list of the custom properties that you can create.
AllowedCategories
For categorical questions, this string property defines a subset of categories from which UNICOM Intelligence Professional can choose an answer. For example, if a question's category names are the seven days of the week, you could set the value of this property to monday,tuesday,saturday to specify that UNICOM Intelligence Professional can choose the answer only from those three categories.
When specifying the value of this property, do not enclose the value within braces. When specifying more than one category name, separate the category names using commas. If the question includes factors, specify the category names, and not the factor values.
Max
For numeric and date questions, this property defines the maximum value that can be used as an answer. For text questions, this property defines the maximum length of the answer. For categorical questions, this property defines the maximum number of categories that UNICOM Intelligence Professional should choose.
For numeric and date questions, set the data type of this property to match the question type (either long, double, or date). For text and categorical questions, set the data type to long.
Min
For numeric and date questions, this property defines the minimum value that can be used as an answer. For text questions, this property defines the minimum length of the answer. For categorical questions, this property defines the minimum number of categories that UNICOM Intelligence Professional should choose.
For numeric and date questions, set the data type of this property to match the question type (either long, double, or date). For text and categorical questions, set the data type to long.
Value
The actual value that UNICOM Intelligence Professional should use for the answer. You can use this hint for any type of question. If the hint is for a categorical question, specify the category name or names using the same method as for AllowedCategories.
For numeric and date questions, set the data type of this property to match the question type (either long, double, or date). For text and categorical questions, set the data type to string.
Notes
Decimal values for the Min, Max, and Value custom properties must always be specified using a dot (.) for the separator, and dates must always be specified in the yyyy/mm/dd format.
To ensure that Auto Answer does not select any categorical responses, set the Max value to zero (0).
For non-categorical questions, you can specify a special response such as Don't Know as the answer. To do this, create the Value custom property on the question and set the value of the property to Codes. Then create a Value custom property on the Codes object for the question, and set the value of the property to the name of the code that defines the special response.
When you run Auto Answer, you can confirm that a hint has been used by looking at the answers in the Output pane. If you specify an invalid hint for the type of question, such as a text value for a numeric question, UNICOM Intelligence Professional writes a warning message to the Output pane and ignores the hint. However, if the Value property specifies an invalid category or code for a question, Auto Answer stops and an error message is displayed.
See also
Running interviews automatically