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Using the Muhimbi PDF Converter to generate FDA / eCTD valid documents

Posted at: 11:53 AM on 27 July 2015 by Muhimbi

FDAOur popular PDF Converter for SharePoint and PDF Converter Services (for Java, C#, PHP, Ruby), as well as the PDF Converter for SharePoint Online / Office 365 is used in almost any imaginable industry. Local and federal government, financial industry, retail, engineering, space exploration etc. Some of these industries have pretty strict requirements when it comes to submitting or archiving documents.

One of the industries that specify such requirements is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In their specifications for Providing Regulatory Submissions in Electronic Format — Certain Human Pharmaceutical Product Applications and Related Submissions Using the eCTD Specifications they list the following requirements. 

  • PDF versions 1.4 through 1.7, PDF/A-1 and PDF/A-2: We support all these versions, and more, and can even convert existing PDF files to PDF 1.1 – 1.7 as well as PDF/A1b & A2b for long term archiving.
  • Do not activate security settings or password protection: Although we support a range of PDF Security, Restriction and encryption facilities. The FDA’s recommendation is to not apply any security to the generated documents.
  • Fully embed all non-standard fonts:  Embedding or stripping of embedded fonts is fully supported by our software. Even better, just use PDF/A output which automatically takes care of most requirements.
  • Avoid image-based PDF files whenever possible: Image based content can be hard to read on screen and – even worse – is not searchable. As a result people cannot copy its contents or find it using whatever search engine they happen to use. When dealing with image based content such as scans and faxes, use our Optical Character Recognition (OCR) abilities to automatically recognise all text and include it in the PDF file.
  • Optimize the PDF for fast web view: Many PDF files are accessed via the internet. To prevent long downloads, PDF files can be Linearized / Optimised for fast web view. This reduces the loading time of the initial pages considerably.
  • Table of contents (TOC): The ability to merge multiple files is probably the second most used feature provided by our software. However, the result of a merge operation may result in a document that is hundreds of pages long, which can make navigation a bit difficult. Our software automatically adds PDF bookmarks to ease navigation, but even better can automatically generate a full featured Table Of Contents.
  • Initial View Settings: Making sure that the PDF is displayed in the most optimal manner when the document is opened removes the effort from the end user and reduces the need for training. Naturally we fully support this
  • Page Numbering: Especially in large documents, page numbering is extremely important. Most documents already contain page numbers, but when merging multiple documents together these page numbers do not reflect the reality. Use our extensive watermarking facilities to automatically calculate and display page numbers

If you have any questions then please leave a comment below or contact our friendly support desk, we love to talk to our customers.

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Introducing the new High-Fidelity InfoPath converter

Posted at: 6:21 PM on 16 July 2015 by Muhimbi

infopath_L1We like to throw in a wildcard every once in a while, functionality that no-one has asked for, but we think our customers will really like. This tends to work out very well, for example the time we decided to provide a lot of flexibility around copying of SharePoint meta-data. Another one of those crazy wild-cards was support for the conversion of InfoPath forms to PDF, XLS, HTML and DOC. InfoPath is pretty obscure, right? Microsoft has even retired it, who needs a converter, who even cares? EVERYONE! A surprising number of people want to convert and archive InfoPath files, and for great reasons as well.

Over the years we have added many popular facilities to the InfoPath converter including the ability to convert InfoPath attachments and the ability to dynamically control which InfoPath view to use for PDF conversion. There was only one problem though, as Microsoft stopped caring about InfoPath, they slowly but surely crippled its PDF output abilities. It all started with the introduction of Internet Explorer 9 and was made worse with the introduction of Windows Server 2012 and InfoPath 2013. Out of the box, and completely unrelated to our software, InfoPath doesn’t even include content of checkboxes in a PDF, and that is just one of the smaller problems.

Our support desk is always happy to assist those customers who, for reasons beyond their control, cannot downgrade Internet Explorer or switch Windows versions. More often than not this resulted in solutions that worked well enough, but…. ughhh… horrible hacks, loads of support hours wasted, non-intuitive solutions, this has to stop…. and, as of today, it has!

The new InfoPath converter is part of the upcoming 8.0 release, if you would like early access then please contact us.

 

Version 8.0 of the PDF Converter for SharePoint, PDF Converter Services (for Java, C#, PHP, Ruby) as well as our PDF Converter for SharePoint Online comes with a brand new InfoPath converter. It still supports all the cool features of the previous converter, but the generated PDF files look much, MUCH, better, they basically look identical to what comes out of the printer.

The key improvements are:

  • ‘Printer like’ output.
  • Images & logos are displayed in high resolution.
  • Border colors and thickness are correct.
  • ‘Phantom’ grey borders are a thing of the past.
  • Page size can be controlled in detail.
  • Page orientation can be controlled in detail.

The last 2 options are particular important for forms that have been designed with SharePoint’s Forms Services in mind. Although those forms are created in InfoPath as well, and can be converted using our software just fine, these forms typically don’t specify a page size or orientation. The new PDF Converter automatically picks up these settings when they ARE defined in the form, but when the information is missing it will try to substitute it. These settings can be overridden globally or at the individual conversion level.

 

Before & AfterBefore (left) and after (right). Click to zoom in and look at those horrible borders and image quality in detail.

 

Although the default values suffice for most situations, the following entries can be controlled via the conversion service’s configuration file. For details about how to edit this file see this article..

  • InfoPathConverterFullFidelity.UseNativePrintEngine: This setting controls which InfoPath converter is used, the legacy one (false) or the new high-fidelity one (true). This setting is automatically populated with the option selected during installation.
  • InfoPathConverterFullFidelity.DefaultPaperSize: The output paper size to use for InfoPath views without a specified printer / paper size. This does not change the paper size for views where that information IS specified. Leave this setting empty to take the value from the default printer or specify a named format such as 'A4' or 'Letter' (Full list of accepted paper sizes). PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS VALUE IS CASE SENSITIVE.
  • InfoPathConverterFullFidelity.ForcePaperSize: Force the paper size, regardless of the printer / paper size being present in the definition of the InfoPath view.
  • InfoPathConverterFullFidelity.DefaultPageOrientation: The Page orientation for InfoPath views that don't explicitly specify a printer / paper size. Either 'Portrait' or 'Landscape'. Leave empty to let InfoPath decide.
  • InfoPathConverterFullFidelity.ForcePageOrientation: Force the page orientation regardless of the printer / paper size being present in the definition of the InfoPath view

 

The easiest way to enable the new InfoPath converter is to do so during the setup process, for details see this blog post.

If you are still on Windows Server 2003 then we don’t judge you, but you will need to contact our support desk to request assistance with the deployment of the new InfoPath converter as after 12 years… well… things have moved on a bit.

 

Any questions or feedback? Leave a comment below or contact us, we love talking to our customers.

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Muhimbi PDF Converter - New Setup experience

Posted at: 3:29 PM on 06 July 2015 by Muhimbi

At the time of writing our range of Server Side PDF Conversion and Automation based products, including the Muhimbi PDF Converter for SharePoint and the Muhimbi PDF Converter Services (for Java, .NET, PHP, Ruby) have been in the market for over 7 years. Although our setup experience has always been fine, it has never been excellent. Being excellent is something we strive for so we have dug through our historical support desk tickets to determine the worst pain points and address them as part of the new installation ‘experience’.

Carrying out a full deployment still requires some work and preparation – the entire product is a bit ‘enterprisey’ - getting the proper Windows account in place, granting privileges and installing some prerequisites, these steps are explained in detail in Chapter 2 of our comprehensive Administration Guide. Do yourself, and our support desk, a monumental favour and read that chapter, including references to all Appendices, in full. You will save yourself a lot of time and frustration.

The new installer is part of the upcoming version 8.0, if you would like early access then please contact us.

 

Let’s walk through a typical deployment and highlight some of the decision points. The screenshots and process below is based on the PDF Converter for SharePoint. Being less complex, the PDF Converter Services setup process is largely the same, it just lacks some of the SharePoint specific screens (and that installer uses a yellow background colour so it is immediately clear which product you are installing).

Naturally the first step is to download the free trial version. Once downloaded run setup.exe, resulting in the following screen. This screen allows for the Administration Guide to be opened in your PDF Reader, open it and start reading at chapter 2. We know you don’t want to read manuals, but it will save you time later.

Screen1

 

Click Next to continue, read the boring but essential license agreement and accept the terms to continue. You can even print it and use it as wallpaper, everyone is a winner.

Screen2

 

The following screen only applies to the PDF Converter for SharePoint and provides the following three options. Please read our blog post about typical deployment scenarios to learn more about how highly scalable products like the Muhimbi PDF Converter are typically deployed. When executing the installer on a machine that is not part of a SharePoint farm then the SharePoint related options will be disabled.

  1. Install the Conversion Service on this system and the SharePoint front-end on the entire farm: This is the recommended option for most installations providing the installer is being executed on a single server SharePoint farm or on one of the App servers. This option deploys the conversion service (a Windows service that does all the heavy processing work) on the current server and pushes the SharePoint ‘WSP’ file out to all SharePoint servers.
  2. Install only the Conversion Service on this computer: Use this option to install only the conversion service on the current system, and skip the deployment of the SharePoint WSP files. This is a good option when installing the conversion service on a system that is not part of a SharePoint farm, or if you are not yet ready to deploy the SharePoint front-end software.
  3. Install the SharePoint front-end on the entire farm: This option must be executed on only one of the SharePoint servers. It automatically pushes the SharePoint WSP to all servers in the farm. When selecting this option you will be asked to specify the name of the server that will host (or already hosts) the conversion service. Doing so will automatically update the location of the conversion service in our Central Administration screen.

 

screen3

 

If the conversion service is being deployed as part of the current installation then use the following screen to specify the path to deploy it to. It is recommended to accept the default path, or just change the drive letter. It will work fine in other locations, but it may make troubleshooting more difficult.

screen4

 

Providing the conversion service is being deployed as part of the current installation process, you will be asked to specify the name of the Windows account the conversion service will run under. This may be a local machine account (in that case leave the domain name empty) or a domain account (please enter the domain in the separate field). This account must be a member of the local Administrators group and does not require any other special settings. Unless specified otherwise, the account will be granted ‘Log on as a Service’ rights automatically.

screen5

 

Now, this is where it (finally) gets interesting. As mentioned previously, there are some prerequisites you must get in place, as described in Chapter 2 of the Administration Guide. The installer will check that all these prerequisites are indeed in place and highlight any problem areas with a red X. If any warnings are displayed then you may continue with the installation process and address, or ignore, them after the installation completes. However, for the best experience you should close the installer, address any issues, restart the installer and check that the problems have been resolved.

screen6

 

Depending on your exact needs, and providing you are deploying the conversion service, you may want to change the following settings in the next screen:

  1. Open TCP Port 41734 on the Windows Firewall: In a multi-server farm it is essential that the front end servers can communicate with the conversion server. The installer can open the correct port automatically, but please take into account that this only works for a basic Windows Firewall installation. When deploying the software in an environment with a different firewall or when the firewall is automatically configured and locked down, you may need to open this port manually.
  2. Disable the Loopback Check: In certain cases a security feature in Windows makes it difficult to connect to a server by machine name, this is known as the Loopback Check. Providing this option is enabled (the default option in Windows) you can use the installer to disable this check. If this option is already disabled (perhaps by an administrator or another process) then you will not be able to change it using the Muhimbi installer. This prevents interoperability problems with other software. If you wish to change this setting by hand then see this blog post.
  3. Download and install Ghostscript: Some functionality provided by the Muhimbi PDF Converter leverages a technology known as Ghostscript. If you expect to carry out conversions to PDF/A, conversions between different PDF versions or use the recently introduced high fidelity InfoPath converter then you should select this option. The installer will download and install Ghostscript automatically, but if the server you are deploying the conversion service on does not have internet connectivity, which is quite common in data centres, then you have the option to download and install Ghostscript manually. Providing it is installed in the default path (on any of the system’s drives) the PDF Converter will automatically detect it.

 

screen7

 

Our range of PDF Converters provide support for some less than common file formats including Microsoft InfoPath. (Microsoft has discontinued support so start archiving to PDF). Microsoft has slowly crippled InfoPath PDF support over the past few years so if you are running a Windows version newer than Windows Server 2008R2 or an Internet Explorer version newer than version 9, you will find that InfoPath PDF output does not work very well. On those systems, as well as other systems, it is highly recommend to enable our new converter. The only reason to use the ‘Legacy Converter’ is if you already use the Muhimbi PDF Converter in your environment to convert InfoPath to PDF and everything is working well. If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it.

Please note that the new InfoPath converter requires Ghostscript to be installed on the system running the conversion service (see the previous screen).

screen8

 

If you already have a license key then specify its location in the following screen. To install the trial version there is no need to specify a license file. If you have a license for the PDF Converter Professional add-on license then please copy that license file to the path the conversion service is being deployed to. Once the conversion service has been deployed you will find a handy shortcut to this folder in the Windows Start Menu.

screen9

 

That is it, the installer will now deploy the selected components and configure the local system in line with the specified settings. This may take a couple of minutes.

screen10

 

If all went well you will see the following screen. Congratulations, you have done it, woohooooo!

screen11

 

Providing you are installing the SharePoint front-end as part of the current installation process, our Central Administration screen will be opened automatically. Use this screen to configure the system further or execute a validation test to check that everything is indeed working as expected. If you encounter any problems with the validation process then please see this Knowledge Base article.

screen12

 

We recommend using Central Admin’s Solution Management screen to verify that the SharePoint WSP files were deployed without errors or warnings. The following WSP files are typically deployed.

  1. muhimbi.pdfconverter.*.wsp:  This WSP contains the main PDF Converter facilities.
  2. muhimbi.licensing.*.wsp:  The Muhimbi License Manager.
  3. muhimbi.pdfconverter.workflowmanager.*.wsp:  Deployed on SharePoint 2013 (and newer) systems only. This WSP file contains the workflow actions for the new ‘Workflow Manager’ based workflows.

 

screen15

 

Once it has been confirmed that everything is installed correctly, you may want to enable or disable various SharePoint Features related to the Muhimbi PDF Converter. A full list of all SharePoint Features can be found in the SharePoint Administration Guide, but some of the key ones are:

  1. Muhimbi PDF Converter: Enable the main PDF Converter user interface and activate the workflow activities for SharePoint Designer and SharePoint 2010 workflows. This Feature is enabled by default.
  2. Muhimbi PDF Converter – Automatic PDF Processing User Interface: Enable the user interface for the real-time watermarking and security facility. Please enable Muhimbi PDF Converter – Automated PDF Processor before enabling this Feature.
  3. Muhimbi PDF Converter – Automated PDF Processor: Enable the module that controls real-time processing.
  4. Muhimbi PDF Converter – Nintex Workflow Integration: Enable Nintex Workflow integration.

 

screen14

 

 

Upgrading from a pre-8.0 version.

If you currently have a version of the Muhimbi PDF Converter installed, a version older than 8.0, then please uninstall that version manually before installing version 8.0. Before starting the uninstallation process have a look at the Upgrading section in the Administration Guide to make sure you don’t lose any changes that may have been made by manually adjusting various files.

  1. Uninstall SharePoint Front-End: Manually retract and remove the WSP files from Central Administration or run the uninstall.cmd scripts that ship alongside the version of the PDF Converter that is currently installed. Please make sure that both the PDF Converter and License Manager WSPs are uninstalled.
  2. Uninstall Conversion Service: Use Windows’ Add or Remove Programs facility to uninstall the conversion service.

 

Leave questions or comments below, or contact our friendly support desk, we love to help.

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Automatically padding documents for merging double sided documents

Posted at: 3:14 PM on 30 June 2015 by Muhimbi

DoublesidedWow, what a title for a blog post ‘Automatically padding documents for merging double sided documents’, what does that even mean? Well, let me try and explain.

One of the more popular features in our range of server side PDF Conversion products is the ability to merge multiple documents (e.g. a couple of MS-Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Image files) into a single PDF. Works great! However, up until now we did a straight merge, each document was merged directly after the previous one. Although most of the time that is the desired behaviour, some merged documents are really intended for printing, more specifically, double-sided printing. When printing double sided you typically want each new document to start on the right-hand (or Odd) page.

As of version 8.0 (Out soon, contact us if you require early access) we make it possible to automatically inject blank pages for situations like the one described above.

This behaviour can be controlled in a number of ways.

 

Conversion Service configuration file

It can be controlled globally, for all merge operations regardless of how they are carried out, by editing the following setting in the conversion service’s configuration file:

  <!-- Control merge behaviour. Leave empty to use the setting specified in the web service call.
        * Next - When merging, start each document on the next page.
        * Odd  - When merging, start each document on an odd page.
        * Even - When merging, start each document on the next even page. –>
  <add key="Merging.ForceDocumentStartPage" value=""/>


 

Request by request basis

If you do not wish to apply this new behaviour to all merge operations then it is possible to control it on a request-by-request basis by passing a value into MergeSettings.DocumentStartPage as part of a web service call or via our XML override syntax.

MergeSettings

 

Pretty useful. Any questions or comments, leave a message below or contact our friendly support desk.

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The PDF Converter for SharePoint Online and Office 365 has Arrived!

Posted at: 12:16 PM on 04 June 2015 by David Radford

  SPO-365

Yes, you heard that right!  The popular Muhimbi PDF Converter for SharePoint is now available for SharePoint Online and Office 365.  What does this mean for you?  Well, if you’re using SharePoint Online / Office 365 or are looking to move to it, you can now access the Converter’s functionality from any SharePoint Online Site Collection, available directly from the SharePoint App Store!

SharePoint Online is an increasingly popular way for companies, large and small, to leverage the advantages of SharePoint, without the server and maintenance overhead of on-premise installations.  It also makes it easy to grow when usage increases, just like the Muhimbi PDF Converter for SharePoint Online.  Our new subscription model allows you to easily add features and capacity as your environment and needs grow, without the need to carry out complex software deployments on your own servers.  From large to small- we convert them all!

To start, you can find an overview of the available features and various subscription tiers in the brochure attached to this Knowledge Base Article.

We’ve worked hard to provide our SharePoint Online customers the same experience our on-site customers have come to expect.  This means, baring some minor limitations due to the SharePoint Online model, you’ll get the same full featured, robust application we’ve long provided for SharePoint on-premise.  

With many more features, including our popular real-time (‘on open’) watermarking facility, and support for Nintex Workflow for Office 365 to come.

 

Handy ribbon menu convert icon for the User Interface?  Right here and in the dropdown context menu:

 

Convert and merge multiple file types from the User Interface including meta-data?  At your service from the same button:

 

Create custom SharePoint Online workflows using our workflow actions?  Well, of course!:

 

The Muhimbi PDF Converter for SharePoint Online supports all our standard file formats.  Yes, including InfoPath- and not just standard InfoPath forms, but the browser enabled ones your users have been filling out in SharePoint Online!  The Converter for SharePoint Online also uses our brand new InfoPath conversion engine, which eliminates many of the formatting issues that have begun to crop-up when using the latest Windows Server and Internet Explorer versions.

This all sounds great!  How can I get the Converter for our SharePoint Online environment?  It’s easy!  Just go to the SharePoint App store, select the Muhimbi App and click the green “Add” button.  Once that’s done, just attempt a conversion from the User Interface, enter your e-mail address when prompted and begin you fully featured free trial.  If you want to create SharePoint Designer based workflows, just follow the simple instructions in this link (or watch the how-to video) in order to deploy our workflow activities.

The Muhimbi PDF Converter for SharePoint Online is a new product, built on our time tested on-premise platform, and like our on-premise version, is very actively developed.  Please check back here for new features and functionality or subscribe to our newsletter to keep up-to-date as we continue to improve this newest member of our Muhimbi PDF Converter line of products.

As always, our support desk is happy to hear from you if you have any questions or need some help with getting things to work the way you want.  Please feel free to contact us at: support@muhimbi.com or browse our comprehensive knowledge base.

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PDF Converter Services 7.3 – Table Of Content Generator & Performance improvements

Posted at: 3:10 PM on 05 March 2015 by Muhimbi

PDFConverterServicesBox4_thumb3

Although our developers have been working hard on the SharePoint Online version of the Muhimbi PDF Converter, that doesn’t mean we have forgotten about the on-premise version, after all it is used on thousands of servers.

Today we are announcing the release of version 7.3, which - in addition to having a fancy new Table Of Content Generator - also includes a number of bug fixes and major performance improvements when merging large files.

The following blog posts provide more detail

 
A quick introduction for those not familiar with the product: The Muhimbi PDF Converter Services is an ‘on premises’ server based SDK that allows software developers to convert typical Office files to PDF format using a robust, scalable but friendly Web Services interface from Java, .NET, Ruby & PHP based solutions. It supports a large number of file types including MS-Office and ODF file formats as well as HTML, MSG (email), EML, AutoCAD and Image based files and is used by some of the largest organisations in the world for mission critical document conversions. In addition to converting documents the product ships with a sophisticated watermarking engine, PDF Splitting and Merging facilities, an OCR facility and the ability to secure PDF files. A separate SharePoint specific version is available as well.
 

Sample-TOC7
Automatically Generated Table Of Contents

 
In addition to the changes listed above, some of the main changes and additions in the new version are as follows:

2264 EML Fix EML to PDF - Accessing content stream of non-leaf entities is not supported.
2237 EML Fix EML to PDF - Attachments present in an attached EML file show as attachments of the main file
2245 Merging Fix System.ArgumentOutOfRangeException when merging AnyDWG PDF Files.
2247 Merging Fix NullReferenceException while merging
2255 Merging Fix NullRefException when merging certain PDF files
2243 Merging Fix Object reference not set to an instance of an object when merging certain files
2168 Merging Fix Merge Operations reset the security settings
1978 Merging Fix Error in 'PdfLoadedPageCollection.GetPage' while merging certain files
2232 Merging Improvement Loading some existing PDF files is slow (e.g. for merge operations)
2240 Merging Improvement Merging certain existing PDF files is very slow
2263 Merging New Implement Table of Content (TOC) Facility
1950 MSG Fix MSG to PDF - some formatting is incorrect when HTML email contains inline images
2258 MSG Fix MSG to PDF - Attachment Recursion Problem
2228 MSG Fix MSG to PDF - The German Word 'täglich' is displayed as 'tälich' by the time it makes it into the PDF.
2315 OCR Fix OCR Tasks are not always aborted after timeout
2304 OCR Fix OCRed Text is placed off-screen in some cases
2281 OCR Fix OCR - Some files are not processed at all
2269 OCR Fix TIFF not extracted correctly during OCR
2266 OCR Fix OCR - Error when OCRing PDF files that contain no images
2278 Other Fix Unexpected token loading certain Acrobat 1.3 files
2260 Other Fix Can't reregister an object when loading PDF
2246 Other Improvement Opening 3rd party PDF files takes a long time / Never finishes
2256 Other New Document the use of the conversion service with SSL
2176 Other New Create sample code for adding Digital Signature to PDF
2239 PowerPoint Fix PowerPoint converter may fail under load on Office 2013 systems
2312 Watermarking Fix Real-time watermarking history entries always returns the latest file

 

For more information check out the following resources:


As always, feel free to contact us using Twitter, our Blog, regular email or subscribe to our newsletter.

Download your free trial here (42MB). .

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PDF Converter for SharePoint 7.3 - K2 Support & Table Of Content Generator

Posted at: 11:54 AM on by Muhimbi

PDFBox5

Although our developers have been working hard on the SharePoint Online version of the Muhimbi PDF Converter for SharePoint, that doesn’t mean we have forgotten about the on-premise version, after all it is used on thousands of SharePoint 2007, 2010 and 2013 servers.

Today we are announcing the release of version 7.3, which - in addition to support for K2 blackpearl workflows and a fancy Table Of Content Generator - also includes a number of bug fixes and major performance improvements when merging large files.

The following blog posts provide more detail

 
For those not familiar with the product, the PDF Converter for SharePoint is a lightweight solution that allows end-users to merge, split, watermark, secure, OCR and convert common document types - including InfoPath, AutoCAD, MSG (email) MS-Office, HTML and images - to PDF as well as other formats from within SharePoint using a friendly user interface, workflows or a web service call without the need to install any client side software or Adobe Acrobat. It integrates at a deep level with SharePoint and leverages facilities such as the Audit log, Nintex Workflow, K2 blackpearl, localisation, security and tracing. It runs on SharePoint 2007, 2010 & 2013 and is available in English, German, Dutch, French, Traditional Chinese and Japanese. For detailed information check out the
product page.

Collage  Use K2 SmartObjects to Convert, Merge, Watermark and OCR files.


In addition to the changes listed above, some of the main changes and additions in the new version are as follows:

2264 EML Fix EML to PDF - Accessing content stream of non-leaf entities is not supported.
2237 EML Fix EML to PDF - Attachments present in an attached EML file show as attachments of the main file
2275 K2 New Add support for K2 blackpearl workflow integration
2245 Merging Fix System.ArgumentOutOfRangeException when merging AnyDWG PDF Files.
2247 Merging Fix NullReferenceException while merging
2255 Merging Fix NullRefException when merging certain PDF files
2243 Merging Fix Object reference not set to an instance of an object when merging certain files
2168 Merging Fix Merge Operations reset the security settings
1978 Merging Fix Error in 'PdfLoadedPageCollection.GetPage' while merging certain files
2232 Merging Improvement Loading some existing PDF files is slow (e.g. for merge operations)
2240 Merging Improvement Merging certain existing PDF files is very slow
2263 Merging New Implement Table of Content (TOC) Facility
1950 MSG Fix MSG to PDF - some formatting is incorrect when HTML email contains inline images
2258 MSG Fix MSG to PDF - Attachment Recursion Problem
2228 MSG Fix MSG to PDF - The German Word 'täglich' is displayed as 'tälich' by the time it makes it into the PDF.
2315 OCR Fix OCR Tasks are not always aborted after timeout
2304 OCR Fix OCRed Text is placed off-screen in some cases
2281 OCR Fix OCR - Some files are not processed at all
2269 OCR Fix TIFF not extracted correctly during OCR
2266 OCR Fix OCR - Error when OCRing PDF files that contain no images
2278 Other Fix Unexpected token loading certain Acrobat 1.3 files
2260 Other Fix Can't reregister an object when loading PDF
2246 Other Improvement Opening 3rd party PDF files takes a long time / Never finishes
2256 Other New Document the use of the conversion service with SSL
2176 Other New Create sample code for adding Digital Signature to PDF
2239 PowerPoint Fix PowerPoint converter may fail under load on Office 2013 systems
2312 Watermarking Fix Real-time watermarking history entries always returns the latest file


For more information check out the following resources:


As always, feel free to contact us using Twitter, our Blog, regular email or subscribe to our newsletter.

Download your free trial here (49MB). .

.

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Converting, Merging & Watermarking SharePoint Documents using K2 Designer

Posted at: 6:04 PM on 04 March 2015 by Muhimbi

PrintAs of version 7.3, the Muhimbi PDF Converter for SharePoint provides native support for the K2 workflow engine using K2’s SmartObjects technology.

K2 blackpearl comes with a number of different workflow editors. The majority of K2 workflow designers will be most familiar with K2 Studio, but Visual Studio as well as web based workflow editors are also available. This post describes how to create a basic workflow to convert documents to PDF (as well as other formats) using a basic K2 Designer workflow. Similar tutorials are available for K2 Studio, Nintex Workflow as well as SharePoint Designer.

A note on licensing the Muhimbi PDF Converter for SharePoint when used in combination with K2 blackpearl. Muhimbi’s licensing model is very simple, if a server runs Muhimbi Software in any way shape or form, then it requires a server license. Even though the PDF Conversion engine may be installed on a non-K2 server, all K2 Servers run our SmartObjects and therefore require a license. For details, in plain English, about how Muhimbi’s software is licensed, see this Knowledge Base Article.

A version of this blog post can also be found in the User Guide, Chapter 5.3.

 

Prerequisites


Before creating the workflow, please make sure Muhimbi’s K2 Integration facilities have been deployed as described in the Administration Guide, Appendix – Deploying K2 Integration facilities. Basic knowledge of creating workflows in K2 Designer, and having the privileges to do so, is assumed.

This tutorial was written for SharePoint 2010. Muhimbi’s PDF Converter for SharePoint integrates equally well with SharePoint 2007 & 2013, but the actual steps for creating K2 workflows differ in each SharePoint version, particularly in SharePoint 2013. Please refer to K2’s tutorials and documentation for your particular environment.

The Muhimbi PDF Converter for SharePoint is exposed in K2 as a series of SmartObjects. By default SmartObjects are not available for use in the K2 Designer, an administrator must add them. The steps to do so are as follows:

  1. In the relevant Site Collection open K2 Site Settings. If this option is not available then please make sure the relevant K2 Designer SharePoint Features have been enabled at the Site Collections and Site Level.
  2. Under K2 Designer for SharePoint Management select Configure SmartObject Access.
  3. If Muhimbi Document Converter for SharePoint is not already present in the list, click Add new item.
  4. In the Add SmartObject Window open the Muhimbi Folder and tick the box next to Muhimbi Document Converter for SharePoint.
  5. Under Advanced, select the option to Automatically create all methods and click Finish to complete the operation.

 

Enable K2 Designer SmartObject

 

Creating the workflow


In this tutorial we will create a basic workflow to convert files to PDF and associate the workflow with a Document Library. This workflow is similar to the one we built using K2 Studio, but as K2 Designer works slightly differently we have to jump though some additional hoops.

  1. Create a new Document Library named Tutorial2 in a site collection of your choice.
  2. In the Tutorial2 Library, select the Library ribbon tab and click K2 Workflow.
  3. In the Welcome dialog, assuming it is displayed by default, select the Create a new workflow option.
  4. Name the workflow Tutorial2, accept the default settings and, as this tutorial does not need any of the other Wizard screens, click Finish.
  5. In order for a SmartObject to be able to convert a document a number of parameters are needed. In K2 Studio these parameters (EventDetails.ListItemRelativeURL and EventDetails.SiteURL) are available from the Context Browser, but in K2 Designer we have to manually create them. The steps are as follows:
    1. In K2 Designer select File / Configure Workflow Settings / Data Fields.
    2. Click the Add button and specify SiteURL as the name.
    3. Although we could use a complex regular expression to determine this value at run time, let’s keep it simple and specify the URL to the site collection as the Default Value. In our case http://portal.denallix.com/ (including the trailing slash!).
    4. Click OK and add another Data Field named ListItemRelativeURL.

      K2 Designer - Define Data Fields
    5. Accept the default settings, click OK and OK again to close the Data Fields dialog.
    6. Hover the mouse over the Start line in the designer, a button will appear, click it and confirm the question to add a new step.
    7. Select the Workflow Steps tab in the ribbon and drag the Set Data Fields activity onto the newly created step.
    8. We already know the SiteURL, but we need to calculate the value of the ListItemRelativeURL by taking Document Context.Document URL and removing the SiteURL from the beginning. This is not difficult, just a bit fiddly.
      1. In the Context Browser open Inline Functions / Text and drag the Mid(Text,Start) on top of ListItemRelativeURL.
      2. In the Editor that is opened drag and drop Document Context / Document URL onto the Text field.
      3. Drag and drop Inline Functions / Text / Length onto the Start field.
      4. In the Editor that is opened drag and drop Data Fields / Site URL onto the Text field.
      5. Click OK in the various Edit windows and verify that the Set Data Fields Wizard looks as follows.
      6. Click Finish to continue.
    K2 Designer - Calculate Data Fields
  6. With the required data fields in place, select the SmartObjects tab and drag the Convert Document smart object onto the empty workflow container and fill out the fields:
    1. Source URL: The URL of the document to convert. The syntax is as per this post, please make sure that the web application name (http://yourwebapp) IS NOT included in the URL. In this tutorial we use the previously calculated data field by dragging Context Browser / Data Fields / ListItemRelativeURL onto the SourceURL field.
    2. SharePoint Site URL: Similar to K2’s other SharePoint SmartObjects and Wizards, you will need to specify the URL of the site collection the workflow is acting on. The steps are identical to specifying the Source Url, just select SiteURL from Data Fields.
    3. Destination URL: The optional path and file name of where the converted file will be written to. When left empty the converted file will be saved in the same folder as the source file using the same file name, just with the extension of the specified file type. This field uses the same format and rules as the Source URL field. In this tutorial we’ll leave this field empty. For details on what locations documents can be converted to and how to specify paths, please see here.
    4. File Type: The extension of the file type we are converting to. In this case assign the PDF value.
    5. Include Meta-Data: In this example we want to copy all meta-data available on the source document to the converted document. Please accept the default Yes value
    6. Optional Parameters: The Muhimbi PDF Converter is a very powerful product that allows many different settings to be specified. It is not feasible to make all of these settings available via individual field mappings, which is why we have developed a special XML syntax to populate these parameters. For this tutorial leave this field empty, you can find more details in this blog post. Please keep in mind that K2 Designer does not provide support for entering line breaks in SmartObject mappings so we recommend creating this XML in a regular code editor (or Notepad) and copy it from there into the Optional Parameters field.
       
    K2 Designer - Smart Object 1[3]
  7. Click Next followed by Finish, this tutorial does not use the return properties.
  8. From the File option in the ribbon select the Deploy option. Click Next (twice) followed by Finish.

 

K2 Designer - Workflow

 

Testing the Workflow


Verify the workflow is working correctly by uploading an MS-Word file (or Excel, MSG, TIFF, PowerPoint or any of the many other formats we support) into the Tutorial2 Document Library and manually starting the workflow on the file. To manually start a workflow, in SharePoint open the context menu for the relevant file and select the ‘Workflows’ option.

If all has been configured well, and the workflow has been created correctly then - within a few seconds - a PDF copy of the source file should appear in the Tutorial2 library.

 

Troubleshooting


If the workflow does not work correctly then either use the Process Overview report in K2 Workspace to drill down into the workflow, or - and this is what we like to do - insert a Send E-mail step between the Set Data Fields and Convert Document steps, and populate the email with the content of the various data fields. By sending the email to Context Browser / Workflow Context / Originator E-mail it is easy to verify that the workflow is actually running and get an overview of what is going on without having to dive into the K2 Workspace Reports.

 

For more details on how to create SharePoint Workflows using K2 blackpearl see the K2 Website. A fully installed Virtual Machine (Excluding the Muhimbi PDF Converter for SharePoint) is available as well.

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Converting, Merging & Watermarking SharePoint Documents using K2 Studio

Posted at: 4:16 PM on by Muhimbi

PrintAs of version 7.3, the Muhimbi PDF Converter for SharePoint provides native support for the K2 workflow engine using K2’s SmartObjects technology. This post describes how to create a basic workflow to convert documents to PDF (as well as other formats) using a basic K2 Studio Workflow. Similar tutorials are available for K2 Designer, Nintex Workflow as well as SharePoint Designer.

A note on licensing the Muhimbi PDF Converter for SharePoint when used in combination with K2 blackpearl. Muhimbi’s licensing model is very simple, if a server runs Muhimbi Software in any way shape or form, then it requires a server license. Even though the PDF Conversion engine may be installed on a non-K2 server, all K2 Servers run our SmartObjects and therefore require a license. For details, in plain English, about how Muhimbi’s software is licensed, see this Knowledge Base Article.

A version of this blog post can also be found in the User Guide, Chapter 5.2.

 

Creating the workflow

 
Before creating the workflow, please make sure Muhimbi’s K2 Integration facilities have been deployed as described in the Administration Guide, Appendix – Deploying K2 Integration facilities. Basic knowledge of creating workflows in K2 Studio, and having the privileges to do so, is assumed.

This tutorial was written for SharePoint 2010. Muhimbi’s PDF Converter for SharePoint integrates equally well with SharePoint 2007 & 2013, but the actual steps for creating K2 workflows differ in each SharePoint version, particularly in SharePoint 2013. Please refer to K2’s tutorials and documentation for your particular environment.

In this tutorial we will create a basic workflow to convert files to PDF and associate the workflow with a Document Library named Tutorial.

  1. Create a new Document Library named Tutorial in a site collection of your choice.
  2. Launch K2 Studio and create a new project of type K2 Process using template Blank Process. Save it in a location of your choice.
  3. Once the workflow editor is displayed select Process Wizards in the left hand pane and drag the SharePoint Events Process onto the design surface.
  4. Click Next in the wizard and then, in the Action screen, select the Events for List and Library Items option.
  5. On the Connection Settings screen specify the URL of your site collection, browse to the Tutorial Document library created as part of step 1 and click Next.
  6. In the Events Selection screen select Item Updated. Although we could select the Item Added option as well to automatically convert new documents, that would require additional logic to see if the created type is of type PDF, which complicates this workflow and is beyond the scope of this tutorial. Click Next.
  7. This tutorial does not require any of the item’s Metadata, so click Finish to complete the wizard.
  8. Using the Event Wizards pane drag the SmartObject Event onto the design surface and click Next on the first screen of the Wizard.
  9. Enter Convert Document as the Event Name and click the ellipses (…) next to SmartObject Method to open the Context Browser.
  10. In the Context Browser Navigate to the Environment (the first) tab and select SmartObject Server(s) / SmartObject Server / Muhimbi / Muhimbi Document Converter for SharePoint / Single Method / Convert Document and click the Add button followed by the Next button.

    SmartObject Context Browser
  11. The Input Mapping screen shows the various properties supported by the Convert Document SmartObject.
    1. Source URL: The URL of the document to convert. The syntax is as per this post, please make sure that the web application name (http://yourwebapp) IS NOT included in the URL. In this tutorial we are going to convert the document that started the workflow.
      1. Select Source URL and click the Assign button followed by the Ellipses button behind the Value field.
      2. In the Context Browser select the Process/Activity Data tab (the 3rd one) and navigate to XML Fields / [Your Project Name] / EventDetails / EventDetails / ListItemRelativeURL. Click the Add button followed by OK.
    2. Destination URL: The optional path and file name of where the converted file will be written to. When left empty the converted file will be saved in the same folder as the source file using the same file name, just with the extension of the specified file type. This field uses the same format and rules as the Source URL field. In this tutorial we’ll leave this field empty. For details on what locations documents can be converted to and how to specify paths, please see here.
    3. File Type: The extension of the file type we are converting to. In this case assign the PDF value.
    4. Optional Parameters: The Muhimbi PDF Converter is a very powerful product that allows many different settings to be specified. It is not feasible to make all of these settings available via individual field mappings, which is why we have developed a special XML syntax to populate these parameters. For this tutorial leave this field empty, you can find more details in this blog post. Please keep in mind that K2 Studio does not provide support for entering line breaks in SmartObject mappings so we recommend creating this XML in a regular code editor (or Notepad) and copy it from there into the Optional Parameters field.
    5. SharePoint Site URL: Similar to K2’s other SharePoint SmartObjects and Wizards, you will need to specify the URL of the site collection the workflow is acting on. The steps are identical to specifying the Source Url, just select SiteURL from EventDetails.
    6. Include Meta-Data: In this example we want to copy all meta-data available on the source document to the converted document. Please assign Yes to this field. Please keep in mind that at the time of writing K2 Does not validate the values specified in YesNo fields, so pay extra attention when filling out this field.

      PDF Conversion Smart Object
  12. In this tutorial we are not using the Return Mappings, so click Finish to close the wizard.
  13. We need to connect the Workflow Activity to the workflow. On the Design Surface right-click on the Start element and drag a line to the newly created activity.
  14. Click the Deploy button in the Home ribbon. Once the Deploy Project Wizard is displayed click the Finish button.

 

Basic Conversion Workflow

 

Testing the Workflow


Verify the workflow is working correctly by uploading an MS-Word (or Excel, MSG, TIFF, PowerPoint or any of the many other formats we support) into the Tutorial Document Library. As we have configured the workflow to only trigger when a document is updated, either open the document and resave it or update the properties of the document using the ribbon.

If all has been configured well and the workflow has been created correctly then, within a few seconds, a PDF copy of the source file should appear in the Tutorial library.

 

Troubleshooting


If the workflow does not work correctly then either use the Process Overview report in K2 Workspace to drill down into the workflow, or - and this is what we like to do - insert an E-Mail event step before the Convert Document step and populate the email with the content of the various lookup fields. Sending an email to the originator makes it easy to verify that the workflow is actually running and get an overview of what is going on without having to dive into the K2 Workspace Reports.

Email Based Debugging

 

For more details on how to create SharePoint Workflows using K2 blackpearl see the K2 Website. A fully installed Virtual Machine (Excluding the Muhimbi PDF Converter for SharePoint) is available as well.

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