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PDF Converter for SharePoint Online 9.9 - MS-Flow, API & Long running operations

Posted at: 11:43 AM on 27 April 2017 by Muhimbi

sharepoint-online-logoIn addition to releasing new versions of the on-premise editions of our popular PDF Converter for SharePoint and PDF Converter Services (for C#, Java, PHP), our team has been working hard on a new  PDF Converter for SharePoint Online release.

This new release – version 9.9 already -  was rolled out a few weeks ago and has reached all our customers by the time you read this. In addition to making some improvements in the areas of copying metadata and real-time watermarking, we have also added support for Microsoft Flow (inc PowerApps and Logic Apps), a new REST based API that makes it easy to integrate our Online software in your own JavaScript, C#, PHP, Java, Python and Ruby code, and key changes have been made to the way our workflow actions deal with (very) long running operations.
 

Please note that all SharePoint Online versions are numbered in the 9.X range. At the time of writing the most recent version of the on-premise software is 8.2.
 

For more details see :

 
If you are an existing customer, or installed a trial version before May 2017, then we recommend installing the latest workflow actions for the best possible experience.
 
   
 
For those not familiar with the product, the Muhimbi PDF Converter for SharePoint Online is a lightweight subscription based 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 using SharePoint Online through a friendly user interface or via workflows, without the need to install any client side software or Adobe Acrobat. More details can be found on the
product page. 
  

Muhimbi Flow ActionsAn overview of all our Actions in Microsoft Flow.


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

2853 API New Expose all functionality via a REST based API
2803 Flow New Add support for Microsoft Flow
3035 Metadata Fix Copying metadata for Enterprise Keywords to office documents (doc, ppt, etc) stopped working
2964 Metadata Fix Copying metadata for on-prem collections migrated to Online using ShareGate causes errors
3031 Metadata Improvement Make copying of metadata more resilient when Microsoft's SharePoint Online team make changes
2950 Metadata Improvement Skip Workflow status field when copying metadata
2874 System Improvement Implement automatically renewal of token using redirects instead of session expiry error
2875 System Improvement Always include primary contact in alert emails
2905 TOC Improvement Improve generation of Table of Contents
2767 UI Fix Improve situation where multiple folder pickers are active at the same time
3011 UI Improvement Improve performance of folder picker on very complex sites
2965 UI Improvement Batch conversion using UI - Source file is missing in display data
2866 UI Improvement Change the message when a file is not supported by the converter
2865 UI Improvement Allow for the User Interface to be completely disabled in the APP (so workflow only)
2762 Watermarking Fix Filtering for empty fields doesn't work as expected
3049 Watermarking Fix Improve security around real-time watermarking
3061 Watermarking Fix Reading user profile in real-time watermark stopped working due to Microsoft change
2931 Watermarking Fix Cannot open a file within a folder using special characters
2891 Watermarking Fix Date/time filter does not work as expected
2880 Watermarking Fix Filtering for 'opened by' and using '[me]' does not work as expected
2987 Watermarking Improvement Add warning when people are using ‘modern Document Libraries’
2903 Workflow Improvement Add support for (very) long running workflow operations
2867 Workflow Improvement Allow any file location to be specified as the source file in workflows
2857 Workflow Improvement Implement xml overrides for InfoPath conversion
3005 Workflow New Add 'DocumentStartPage' parameter to Merge activity


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.
 

Start your 30 day trial by installing the App and Workflow Actions

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Use Microsoft Flow to convert and archive incoming emails in PDF format

Posted at: 2:45 PM on 12 April 2017 by Muhimbi

gmailAs part of our ongoing series about using the Muhimbi PDF Converter Services Online in combination with Microsoft Flow, Logic Apps and PowerApps, we present an example about how to automatically convert the body of incoming emails to PDF, and archive the results in DropBox.

For those not familiar with the product, the Muhimbi PDF Converter Services Online is a popular product to PDF Convert, Merge, Watermark, Secure and OCR files from Microsoft Flow, Logic Apps, PowerApps as well as your own code using C#, Java, Python, JavaScript, PHP, Ruby and most other modern platforms. Leave a message below or contact us if you have any questions.

 

Earlier today we were contacted by a Flow user who wanted to convert incoming emails to PDF. Now, the Muhimbi PDF Converter actually comes with an awesome email to PDF converter, but it expects an MSG or EML file as the input. Unfortunately the various email based triggers that currently ship with Flow (Outlook for Office 365, Outlook.com, Gmail) do not provide files in this format (Please vote here to have it added).  Instead, they expose the message Body, Subject, From, To, Attachments etc.

Even though the MSG file is not available, all the individual elements are. We managed to ‘knock up’ a functional email to PDF converter using Flow in absolute no-time. You may want to customise it further by using the Compose Action to add the subject, from and to fields to the body before sending it into the PDF Converter. You can even use our Merge documents Action to convert the attachments and merge them all, alongside the main body, into a single PDF.

Similar to our other examples, this Flow is just a starting point. You can use a different email service as a trigger (outlook.com, Outlook for Office 365) and send the generated PDF to SharePoint, OneDrive, Google Drive, email, you name it.

 

From a high level, the Flow works as follows:

Convert Email Body to PDF - Overview
The full Flow can be found below. It is automatically created by the Flow Template named Convert Email to PDF and archive in DropBox. After selecting the template make sure the following fields are changed:

  • DropBox Output folder (for HTML emails): The DropBox folder to write the PDF files to.
  • DropBox Output folder (for Text emails): The DropBox folder to write the PDF files to.
     

The Flow itself is relatively straight-forward, but there is one complication. Email may appear to be a simple format, but content can be represented in HTML format, Plain Text and even RTF. Depending on the format we need to send the body either to the HTML converter or the Text converter. In this Flow we use a simple and dirty trick, which is to check if either ‘<html’, ‘<p’ or ‘<br’ can be found in the email body. If it is then we send it to the HTML converter, otherwise the Text converter.

 

Convert Email Body to PDF - Detail - Part 1Convert Email Body to PDF - Detail - Part 2Convert Email Body to PDF - Detail - Part 3 
That is all there is to it. I left this flow running by mistake and when I came in the next day DropBox had synced dozens of emails to my local PC. They looked brilliantly though when opened in a PDF reader.

 

For more details about using Muhimbi’s Flow actions, see the Core Concepts knowledge base article as well as all other Flow related posts.

If you have any questions about extending this template, or implementing it in your environment, then please leave a message below or contact our friendly support desk. We are here to help.

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Use Microsoft Flow to Convert HTML / Blog posts to PDF

Posted at: 11:43 AM on by Muhimbi

rss

As part of our ongoing series about using the Muhimbi PDF Converter Services Online in combination with Microsoft Flow, Logic Apps and PowerApps, we present a useful example which converts a blog post (basically HTML) to PDF when a new post is added to an RSS feed.

For those not familiar with the product, the Muhimbi PDF Converter Services Online is a popular product to PDF Convert, Merge, Watermark, Secure and OCR files from Microsoft Flow, LogicApps, PowerApps as well as your own code using C#, Java, Python, JavaScript, PHP, Ruby and most other modern platforms. Leave a message below or contact us if you have any questions.

 

We needed a good showcase for converting HTML to PDF. It was hard to narrow it down as everything nowadays is HTML. We settled for combining our HTML conversion sample with one of Flow’s other services, the ability to trigger a Flow when a new post is added to a Blog.

Once converted, the PDF is sent to the author of the Flow, but remember that this is just an example. Other options are to archive the generated PDF somewhere in SharePoint, DropBox, OneDrive, Google Drive or other file storage system. This example uses the RSS feed for the Microsoft Flow blog, naturally any other RSS feed or web page can be used as well.

 

From a high level, the Flow works as follows:

Convert Blog Post & Email - Overview


The full Flow can be found below. It is automatically created by the Flow Template named Send updates from the Flow blog as a PDF by email. Although the default settings are fully functional (send a PDF copy of Flow related blog posts), you may want to change the following fields:

  • RSS feed URL: The URL of the RSS feed to monitor for new posts. Try changing it to http://feeds.feedburner.com/MuhimbiBlog.
  • Email recipients: The recipient of the generated PDF.
     
Convert Blog Post & Email - Detail - Part 1

Convert Blog Post & Email - Detail - Part 2 
That is all there is to it. We were pleasantly surprised by the usefulness of this simple flow. New blog posts are delivered by email to your mobile device overnight. While commuting on a train with a spotty internet connection we were able to read our favourite blog posts.

For more details about using Muhimbi’s Flow actions, see the Core Concepts knowledge base article as well as all other Flow related posts.

If you have any questions about extending this template, or implementing it in your environment, then please leave a message below or contact our friendly support desk. We are here to help.

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Use Flow to PDF Convert email attachments to OneDrive, DropBox, Google Drive etc

Posted at: 1:44 PM on 31 March 2017 by Muhimbi

outlookAs part of our ongoing series about using the Muhimbi PDF Converter Services Online in combination with Microsoft Flow, Logic Apps and PowerApps, we present a cool example which converts all email attachments to PDF and archives them to a file service.

For those not familiar with the product, the Muhimbi PDF Converter Services Online is a popular product to PDF Convert, Merge, Watermark, Secure and OCR files from Microsoft Flow, Logic Apps, PowerApps as well as your own code using C#, Java, Python, JavaScript, PHP, Ruby and most other modern platforms. Leave a message below or contact us if you have any questions.

 

The examples in this series are becoming increasingly complex, so today we have to dig slightly deeper than before.

In this example we’ll show how to create a simple Flow that is triggered whenever an email – containing attachments – is received in Office 365 Outlook. The Flow then iterates over all attachments and converts the ones it knows how to convert to PDF. The resulting PDF files are archived to a OneDrive for Business folder, which will sync the files to other systems providing the sync client is installed somewhere.

Remember that this is just an example, it can easily be modified to use different email providers (Outlook.com, Gmail) and the converted attachments can be written to (or emailed) via any of the 100+ available Flow services, including Google Drive, Box.com, DropBox, OneDrive, SharePoint etc.

There are many reasons for building a workflow like this one. What we hear a lot from customers who do something similar, is that their regulatory body dictates that all files are made available, and discoverable, in a standardised format. PDF (specifically PDF/A which we support as an option) is often the format of choice.

 

From a high level, the Flow works as follows:

PDF Attachments - Overview

 

The full Flow can be found below. It is automatically created by the Flow Template named Archive email attachments in PDF format to OneDrive, it is just a matter of filling out the blanks, specifically:

  • Save to OneDrive – Folder path: Specify the path in OneDrive where the converted attachments will be written to.

 
There is something important to keep in mind for this particular template / example and that is that all files are written to a flat folder. If we use the original attachment file name to save the PDF in OneDrive then files would potentially be overwritten if a single email has multiple attachments with the same name (rare but possible) or multiple emails are processed and some use an attachment with the same name (more common).

To get around this we use the Compose action to convert the time that the workflow is executed, which matches the time the email is received, and clean it up for use in file names (replace ‘:’ with ‘-‘). We then concatenate it to each file name. If your requirements are different then feel free to change this or – for example – add this time stamp to the OneDrive path to automatically create a sub-folder for each email and their attachments.

 

PDF Attachments - Detail - Part1PDF Attachments - Detail - Part2

 

One of the tricks we use in this example is changing the default ‘Fail on error’ option in the Muhimbi Workflow actions from Yes to No. As a result, the Flow will not fail if an unsupported or broken attachment type is encountered. By evaluating the Result Code we can decide if the operation was successful and write the PDF to OneDrive. For more details about this concept see the Error handling section in our Core Concepts knowledge base article.

 
That’s it, now publish the Flow and send an email containing some Word, Excel, PowerPoint or other supported files types to the email address associated with the Flow. After a few moments PDFs will appear in the destination folder.

For more details about using Muhimbi’s Flow actions, see the Core Concepts knowledge base article as well as all other Flow related posts.

If you have any questions about extending this Flow / template, or implementing it in your environment, then please leave a message below or contact our friendly support desk. We are here to help.

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Use Flow to automatically convert newly added OneDrive files to PDF

Posted at: 3:04 PM on 29 March 2017 by Muhimbi

onedriveAs part of our ongoing series about using the Muhimbi PDF Converter Services Online in combination with Microsoft Flow, LogicApps and PowerApps, we present a simple yet powerful example for automatically converting files to PDF when they are added to OneDrive.

For those not familiar with the product, the Muhimbi PDF Converter Services Online is a popular product to PDF Convert, Merge, Watermark, Secure and OCR files from Microsoft Flow, LogicApps, PowerApps as well as your own code using C#, Java, Python, JavaScript, PHP, Ruby and most other modern platforms. Leave a message below or contact us if you have any questions.

 

In this example we’ll show how to create a simple Flow that is triggered whenever a file is added to a folder in OneDrive. Once added, the file is automatically converted to PDF and stored in a different OneDrive folder. No need to install any local PDF Conversion software, all that is needed is the standard OneDrive sync client.

Remember that this is just an example, it can easily be modified to use different file services (e.g the trigger can be for files uploaded to SharePoint, Box.com, DropBox, Google Drive etc) and the resulting file can be written (or emailed) via any of the 100+ available Flow services. Convert newly added DropBox files to PDF and store the PDF copy in Google Drive, SharePoint AND send it via email? No problem! I don’t know why you’d want to do it, but this is a very flexible system.

There are many reasons for building a workflow like this one. We actually use this internally as a general-purpose PDF Converter. Office staff can drop any of the support file formats in a local folder, which is automatically synced with OneDrive using the standard OneDrive client. This triggers the flow and the converted file is written back to OneDrive and immediately synced back to the local system. Even though we wrote the underlying technology, it still looks like total magic.

 

From a high level, the Flow works as follows:

Convert to OneDrive - Overview

 

The full Flow can be found below. It is automatically created by the Flow Template named Automatically convert newly added OneDrive files to PDF, it is just a matter of filling out the blanks, specifically:

  • When a file is created – Folder: Specify the path to the OneDrive folder to monitor for new files.
  • Create a file – Folder path: Specify the path to the OneDrive folder where the converted PDF files are written to. Please make sure this folder is different from the input folder to prevent recursive flows. (Otherwise the converted PDF file will kick off the same flow, which in turn will create a copy of the same PDF file that will kick off the same flow again etc).

 

Convert to OneDrive - Detail - Part1Convert to OneDrive - Detail - Part2

 
That’s it, now publish the Flow and copy a file to the source folder. Assuming the OneDrive client is active, after a few moments a PDF file will appear in the destination folder.

For more details about using Muhimbi’s Flow actions, see the Core Concepts knowledge base article as well as all other Flow related posts.

If you have any questions about extending this Flow / template, or implementing it in your environment, then please leave a message below or contact our friendly support desk. We are here to help.

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Use Flow to Convert a file to PDF and email it when a SharePoint document is added

Posted at: 6:03 PM on 28 March 2017 by Muhimbi

FlowLogoMicrosoft recently made the Muhimbi PDF Converter Services Online available to all users of their Flow, LogicApps and PowerApps products. As part of this process we are publishing a number of templates to make it easy for people to get started.

Although all templates are also available from Microsoft’s own Service page, it is not possible to include detailed guidance in those templates, which is why we are publishing more details on our Blog… here.

For those not familiar with the product, the Muhimbi PDF Converter Services Online is a popular product to PDF Convert, Merge, Watermark, Secure and OCR files from Microsoft Flow, LogicApps, PowerApps as well as your own code using C#, Java, Python, JavaScript, PHP, Ruby and most other modern platforms. Leave a message below or contact us if you have any questions.

 

In this example we’ll show how to create a simple Flow that is triggered whenever a file is added to a folder in a SharePoint Online Document Library. Once added, the file is automatically converted to PDF and sent as an email attachment to the author of the Flow.

Remember that this is just an example, it can easily be adjusted to use different file services (e.g the trigger can be for files uploaded to OneDrive, Box.com, DropBox, Google Drive etc) and the email can be sent via different email providers (Outlook.com, generic email, Gmail, etc) to a distribution list of your choice.

There are many reasons for building a workflow like this one. A popular use amongst our customers is to allow users on non-Windows devices (mobile phones, tablets) – who are not always getting a good experience when they try to open native Office, AutoCAD or other file formats – to see the files in their original layout and formatting. Regardless of platform, PDFs always display perfectly.

 

From a high level, the Flow works as follows:

Convert & Email - Overview

 

The full Flow can be found below. It is automatically created by the Flow Template named Send a PDF rendition by email when a SharePoint document is added, it is just a matter of filling out the blanks, specifically:

  • Site Address: The URL of the SharePoint Site containing the Document Library to monitor.
  • Folder ID: The path to the folder in the Document Library to monitor.

 

Convert & Email - Detail - Part1Convert & Email - Detail - Part2

That is all there is to it, nice and easy.

For more details about using Muhimbi’s Flow actions, see the Core Concepts knowledge base article as well as all other Flow related posts.

If you have any questions about extending this template, or implementing it in your environment, then please leave a message below or contact our friendly support desk. We are here to help.

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Muhimbi’s PDF Conversion facilities now available for Flow, LogicApps and PowerApps

Posted at: 3:47 PM on 24 March 2017 by Muhimbi

FlowLogo

Over the last few months we have been working with Microsoft’s Flow team to make Muhimbi’s popular PDF Conversion and manipulation facilities available to all Flow, LogicApps and PowerApps users. All this hard work has paid off as – starting today – our software is available in Microsoft’s standard list of services.

There is nothing to install or configure, just create a Flow as normal, enable a Trigger to start when an event occurs (e.g. file created in DropBox, OneDrive, Box.com, SharePoint or any of the other supported services), add an action and either search for ‘Muhimbi’ to display all our actions to convert, merge, watermark, secure or OCR – or type the name of a Muhimbi action directly, e.g. ‘Convert Document’.

Fill in the blanks - it is pretty self-explanatory but additional information is available in our Core Concepts article - and feed the generated document in a secondary Flow action, e.g. to email it or write it to a different service. That is it, for more details see the steps and screenshots in this blog post.

Muhimbi Official Flow Service


One of the cooler aspects of the way the integration works is that it works equally well in combination with other platforms including:

  1. Azure LogicApps: Available from the Azure portal, LogicApps represent the ‘grown up’ version of Flow. It provides more flexibility and control.
  2. PowerApps: Microsoft’s successor to InfoPath can be used to create powerful form solutions for PCs and mobile devices.
  3. Your own code: The underpinnings of the new Muhimbi service is REST based, and fully documented. As a result you can use it from any modern platform including C#, PHP, JavaScript, Ruby, Python, Java, SharePoint and many others. Details and sample code can be found in our GitHub repository.

 

All this new functionality is part of the Muhimbi PDF Converter Services Online (and SharePoint Online) platforms. If you have any questions then please leave a message below or contact our support desk.

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Use Microsoft Flow to Convert, Merge, Watermark, Secure and OCR files

Posted at: 2:20 PM on 13 February 2017 by Muhimbi

FlowLogoIf you have been paying close attention to our recent posts, you may have noticed that we have fallen a little bit in love with Microsoft’s new Flow product. (See Attaching PDF files to emails and Moving files between SharePoint Online site collections). A simple but elegant Workflow Engine that works well in combination with SharePoint Online, but can also be used to integrate with non-SharePoint systems including OneDrive, DropBox, SalesForce, and now ……

Our previous posts have focused on how standard out-of-the-box Flow functionality can be used to post-process files generated by our SharePoint Online Workflow actions. However, we are not exaggerating when we say that we are extremely excited to announce that all Muhimbi’s workflow actions – as available for Nintex Workflow, K2, SharePoint Designer and Visual Studio – are now available for Microsoft Flow as well as part of the new Muhimbi PDF Converter Services Online product line.  That is right, you can now Convert, Merge, Watermark, Secure and OCR files directly in Microsoft Flow in combination with any other Flow service provider.

Convert all files uploaded to OneDrive, watermark and secure them, and write the generated file to DropBox? No problem. Automatically archive all approved SharePoint Files in PDF/A format to Google Drive? Even easier. The sky is the limit.

 

Functionality

So how does this work? We’ll go into a great level of detail during the next few weeks and months, but in summary it works as follows.

In Flow’s editor the Muhimbi actions show up in the same way as other built-in services such as SharePoint, DropBox, SalesForce etc. All Muhimbi workflow actions that our customers are already used to - including various conversion, merge, watermarking, security and OCR actions - are displayed in Flow’s list of actions.
 

Muhimbi Flow Actions

 

Let’s take the Convert Document action as an example. All it takes is the name of the source file, which is typically available from the Flow Trigger that started the workflow, and the file’s content, which tends to be available from the same trigger as well. The Output format defaults to PDF, but – depending on the input format – you can select different output formats as well.

Although there are some other fields available under Show advanced options, this is basically all there is to it.

Convert Document Flow Action

 

An example of a completed Flow can be found below. It is basic but powerful and can easily be extended to take files from different sources (SharePoint, Box.com, Google Drive), carry out multiple operations by feeding the converted document into other Muhimbi actions to watermark and secure the generated PDF, and then send the generated file not only by email but also into SharePoint, DropBox or any of the other gazillions of services that integrate with Flow.

  1. The flow is triggered when a file is uploaded to a particular OneDrive folder.
  2. The file name and file content provided by the OneDrive trigger are fed into the Convert Document action
  3. The converted file is attached to an email and sent out.

 

Simple Conversion Flow

 

Similar to other Flow actions, each Muhimbi action returns a number of output parameters that can be consumed by other actions in the same Flow. The following screenshot shows how the generated PDF file is attached to the email.

Flow Return Variables

 

We have made sure that all our Flow actions work in a similar fashion. For detailed information see this Core Concepts Knowledge Base Article.

 

Pricing

Similar to our SharePoint Online subscription service, a free 30 day trial is available for this new product as well. The first time any of our actions are used, Microsoft Flow requires a connection to be setup with your Muhimbi subscription. Just follow the basic instructions when going through that process and all will be setup in minutes.

If you wish to use the workflow actions beyond the 30 day trial, you will need to subscribe to one of our plans. Pricing and functionality exactly matches the pricing for our SharePoint Online subscriptions.

Please note that there is no need to purchase separate subscriptions for both the PDF Converter for SharePoint Online and PDF Converter Services Online (as used by Flow). The same subscription can be used from both SharePoint Online and Flow, just make sure that during registration you enter the Tenancy ID of your SharePoint Online environment (See this KB article for details) to link the two. Please keep in mind that operations carried out by both products are shared and come from your existing monthly allotment.

 

What’s next?

More details will follow over the next few weeks and months, but the new Muhimbi PDF Converter Services Online product line will not just offer Flow integration, but also provide support for Nintex Workflow Cloud as well as a full REST based API that can be consumed from all modern platforms including JavaScript, .NET, Python, Bash, Java, Perl, PHP, Ruby, Scala, Swift and SharePoint.

As always, for the latest news keep an eye on our Twitter feed and, if not already done so, subscribe to our RSS feed.

 

Any questions or comments? Leave a message below or contact our friendly support desk, we love talking to our customers.

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PDF Converter Services 8.2 - Maintenance Release

Posted at: 2:15 PM on 13 January 2017 by Muhimbi

PDFConverterServicesBox4_thumb3

We are happy to announce a new version of the Muhimbi PDF Converter Services. As the product is mature and stable, this is largely a maintenance release that solves a number of issues and introduces some refinements.

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.


Some of the main changes and additions in the new version are as follows:

2923 CAD Fix Incorrect text size and alignment during CAD to PDF conversion
2674 CAD Fix Lines are too thick when converting DWG
2818 CAD Improvement AutoCAD x-ref search path does not search in sub folders
2940 HTML Fix When converting HTML to PDF, large images that are loaded from an absolute path or URL are skipped
2792 HTML Fix Some PDF iFilters do not pick up PDF Documents that have been converted from HTML to PDF
2890 HTML Fix HTML Conversion problems on extremely large files
2908 Merge Fix Error while merging certain files
2928 Merge Improvement Merge operations timeout after 30 minutes
2942 OCR Fix OCR overlay is rotated for certain PDF files
2537 OCR Fix PDF Syntax (validation) errors after carrying out OCR
2708 OCR Fix OCR temp files not cleaned up in case of an error
2915 OCR Fix Content of some OCR-ed PDFs not picked up by iFilters
2919 PDFA Fix PDF/A Color intent mismatch for certain source documents
2917 Service Improvement Move DocumentConverter logs to 'log' sub folder
2900 Service New Add 'EPS' to OutputFormat.cs and related code (workflow actions etc)
2810 Setup Fix Switching to new printer driver after installing with the old driver doesn't work
2812 Setup Fix Improve installer on systems with wide range of .net framework versions
2813 Setup Fix Fix automatic uninstall steps when switching back and forth in installer
2826 Setup Fix Improve checking for local Admin rights on non-English operating systems
2809 Setup Fix Last step of uninstallation hangs under certain circumstances
2815 Setup Fix Duplicate Windows firewall rules created by installer
2807 Setup Improvement Installer doesn't write Exceptions to log until after error dialog is closed
2720 Watermark Fix Free Text & RTF watermarks do not show Arabic text consistently

 

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 (54MB). .

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Converting and Archiving InfoPath files in PDF format

Posted at: 1:52 PM on 10 January 2017 by Muhimbi

microsoft-infopathYou know that archiving InfoPath forms is important, and can be difficult for a host of reasons. Luckily, converting from InfoPath to PDF with Muhimbi’s range of Server Side PDF Conversion products is a simple and optimal solution to keep an organization in compliance of regulations.

After determining that converting documents to PDF is the route that best addresses your organization’s needs, we then need to determine how to archive those PDFs. Simply storing a file is suboptimal in terms of efficacy; for this practice and resulting PDF to be useful, it will be critical to know where documents are stored. There are a lot of suggested best practices in this arena, and that can make determining the specifics of your process more convoluted than it needs to be.

In order to architect a more straightforward storage plan there are three essential points to address: ensuring metadata is retained in a converted form, making the conversion and storage of a document part of a workflow, and creating a cogent plan for the first two points in advance in order to avoid ad hoc policy decisions.

 

Why Metadata is Important

Metadata allows you to tag documents with information that can be accessed later, without involving a user. This not only relieves an end user of remembering which type of data needs to be stored with specific documents, it also yields two additional benefits:

First, the ability to search SharePoint storage by metadata allows very specific queries to be used when looking for documentation; the more specificity in the query, the more accurate and specific the results. This becomes more and more useful when hundreds of thousands of documents are stored and may need to be queried. For example, it would be easy to sort archived PDFs by InfoPath form title, author, and date range created (all of which are default metadata settings).

Second, the metadata within a document can be used by Muhimbi’s PDF Converter for SharePoint to create watermarks for that document, meaning that not only is the metadata there for search, but it is also attached in a viewable and “un-touchable” (encrypted) way. The inability to edit metadata can be required for some regulations and compliance rules.

Selecting and adding new metadata is a well-covered and documented area of SharePoint usage, so we won’t go into depth about adding new metadata requirements for a document in this article, but we’ve had the ability to maintain metadata during conversion baked into Muhimbi’s PDF converter for SharePoint since the very first version. Worth mentioning as well, it was later updated in version 6 to allow for a workflow step to copy metadata and set content type in a single operation. The PDF converter for SharePoint can also secure that document so that it can be viewed but NOT changed.

 

Simplify using Workflows

Now that a document is converted and metadata has been retained it still needs to be pushed to its final storage location. Manual storage is an option, but in reality it would only be appropriate for very small, and highly disciplined teams. Like most manual processes, it becomes cumbersome quickly if there is notable volume or number of contributors involved. One form that isn’t stored in the proper place won’t be an issue… until that form is needed, often months or even years later, and mistakes are likely to occur more frequently in tandem with document volume, especially if they are being stored manually.

Furthermore, in the event that PDFs are being manually archived, protocols have to be manually adhered to every single time a PDF is saved as well. For example, let’s assume we’ll be manually archiving customer invoices. We’d want them saved in a tree accordingly:

    Year -> Customer -> Billing -> Invoices -> unique invoice number.

This process will almost always work, but one miss-click means that the invoice is being saved in the wrong year, or even wrong customer. Again, manual processes become cumbersome and increasingly error-prone as volume increases, so unless the team can be counted on 100% of the time to always remember to convert a form to PDF, and then place that PDF in the right location, manual conversion and archiving should be avoided.

Luckily, workflows automate these processes, and are pretty easy to set up. Planning ahead and setting up workflows not only makes the process easier for everyone, it also eliminates headaches and mitigates the risk of human error, such as plain forgetfulness.

Creating a workflow with Muhimbi is just a few steps - and works in most common workflow environments including SharePoint Designer, Nintex Workflow, K2, Visual Studio and Microsoft Flow. It’s easy enough that there is no real reason not to use workflows for any type of content that will be routinely created and needs to be stored.

Saving documentation in a safe, secure and reliable manner is a core business need, and regulatory compliance requirements only make the need more prominent. While the archiving of data may seem complex, it doesn’t need to be complicated as long as an automated process is developed that leverages metadata use and automated workflows.

 

If you are dealing with InfoPath in your organisation, you MUST think about archiving this kind of information in a file format that is accessible. For more information read out InfoPath Archiving whitepaper or contact our friendly support desk.

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