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Automatically Securing Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF Files

Posted at: 15:04 on 04 September 2020 by Muhimbi

We recently announced the ability to automatically apply watermarks to MS-Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF Files. When applying such watermarks, you usually want to make sure that users cannot easily remove these watermarks or change the document in any way, which is why it is essential to secure documents at the same time.

We have offered the ability to secure PDF Files for many years, including restrictions such as disable print and disable clipboard copy. We are happy to announce that this same facility is now available for MS-Word, Excel and PowerPoint files as well.

As always, we make new functionality available throughout our entire stack, so it doesn't matter how you use our software, being it from the SharePoint on-premise user interface (SP2007-2019), the SharePoint Online one, Nintex Workflow, K2, traditional SharePoint Designer workflows, Workflow Manager workflows, UiPath, Power Automate, Azure Logic Apps, Power Apps or our on-premise and online APIs, the same facilities are available everywhere.
 

This new functionality is available with immediate effect in our SharePoint Online, Power Automate and REST API. There is nothing to do or install, it is available automatically to all new and existing users.

The on-premise version of the Muhimbi PDF Converter for SharePoint and the Muhimbi PDF Converter Services, include this new technology starting with version 10.1, which is available right now. 
 

Common use cases for securing PDF and Office files are:

  • Ensuring document content and watermarks cannot be modified.
  • Preventing piracy and unauthorised use, protect intellectual property.
  • Making sure that 'Final' documents remain unaltered.
  • Preventing printing of documents (PDF only)
  • Disabling copying of content (PDF only)

Office Security Dialogs Various security dialogs and related facilities displayed by MS-Office when encountering secured files.

 

SharePoint Designer Workflows

Regardless of platform used, applying security to documents using SharePoint Designer Workflows, Workflow Manager and SharePoint Online pretty much looks and works the same everywhere.

Specify the document to process, where to write it to, the optional password required to open the document (open password), and the optional password required to edit the document (owner password).

The various 'disable' options such as 'disable printing' and 'copying using the clipboard', is exclusive to PDF files. The various MS-Office file formats do not support these restrictions.

SharePoint Designer - Secure

For more details about securing documents using SharePoint Designer, see this blog post.

 

Nintex Workflow

Muhimbi supports all common Nintex Workflow versions (SP2007-SP2019), an ideal platform for beginners and professionals to create and visualise workflows. Applying security restrictions is a matter of filling in the blanks.

Specify the document to process, where to write it to, the optional password required to open the document (open password), and the optional password required to edit the document (owner password).

The various 'disable' options such as 'disable printing' and 'disable content copying, is exclusive to PDF files. The various MS-Office file formats do not support these restrictions.

Nintex Secure

For details about how to enable our Nintex Workflow actions, see this Knowledge Base article. A detailed blog post about how to use the Secure Document Nintex action can be found here.

 

Power Automate, Power Apps and Logic Apps

The fastest growing workflow platform in the world is Microsoft Power Automate (and by extension Power Apps and Logic Apps). We provide extensive support for this platform by exposing all features provided by our core engine including Document Conversion, File Security, PDF Merging, OCR and watermarking.

Specify the document to process, where to write it to, the optional password required to open the document (open password), and the optional password required to edit the document (owner password).

The various 'disable' options such as 'disable printing' and 'copying using the clipboard', is exclusive to PDF files. The various MS-Office file formats do not support these restrictions.

Power Automate Secure

For an overview of our Power Platform Tutorials and videos, see this Knowledge Base article.

 

Applying security in real-time ('on open')

One of the most powerful features provided by Muhimbi's range of software and services is the ability to apply watermarks in real-time when documents are opened.

But this blog post is about security, why are we talking about watermarking?

Well, quite often you want to make sure that watermarks cannot easily be removed or modified by users. This can be achieved by applying an owner password to the document. This doesn't stop users from opening the documents, but without the appropriate password they cannot edit the file. From this release onwards, this works for PDF, MS-Word, Excel and PowerPoint files.

Naturally there are other good reasons to apply security settings, in real-time, when a file is opened by a user. Perhaps you want to make sure that documents marked as 'Final' cannot be edited, or that members of a certain group require a special password in order to view or edit a file.

There are many other use cases, but the most common one we see is what we call 'DRM Light'. User details such as full name, user id, ip-address and time stamp are embedded in the document, either visibly or hidden, after which a file is secured using an owner password to prevent editing. If a document then shows up in a place where it is not supposed to (e.g. in a data leak) then you know exactly who to reach out to and have a bit of a difficult conversation with.

For more details see the blog posts about this technology for SharePoint on-premise, and SharePoint Online. The screenshot below illustrates how this can be enabled for the different document types.

Secure On Open - SP2016

If real-time processing is of interest, especially in combination with SharePoint Online, then please familiarise yourself with Watermark & Secure 'OnOpen' in SharePoint Online - FAQ.

 

Differences between file formats

Although we allow various different file formats to be secured, each file type has its own strengths and weaknesses. For example the PDF standard allows a range of individual restrictions to be applied to a PDF File, whereas MS-Office has a much simpler security model.

All supported files formats have the following in common:

  • Open Password: By specifying an optional open password, users need to provide the password in order to see the contents of the document. Once opened, the file can be edited unless an owner password is specified as well.
  • Owner Password: When the optional owner password is specified, users can open the file without needing to know the password, but they cannot make changes to the document unless they have access to the owner password. Please note that in order to apply restrictions to PDF files (disable print etc), an owner password must be specified and that owner password must be different from the open password.

 

The main differences between the various file types, in the context of applying security, can be found below:

  • PDF: The PDF standard supports additional security features such as restrict printing, restrict content copying, etc. These restrictions are not supported by the various Office file formats. Please note that in order to apply restrictions to PDF files, an owner password must be specified and that owner password must be different from the open password.
  • MS-Word: MS-Word supports the standard open and owner passwords described above. If the source document is already encrypted by means of an open password then it is not possible to change the open or owner password.
  • Excel: Excel supports the standard open and owner passwords described above. If the source document is already encrypted by means of an open password then it is not possible to change the open or owner password.
  • PowerPoint: PowerPoint supports the standard open and owner passwords described above. If the source document is already encrypted by means of an open password then it is not possible to change the open or owner password. In addition, if the source presentation is already secured using an owner password (read-only) then it is not possible to add an open password or update the owner password.

 

Caveats

Different file formats all have their own peculiarities so it is important to be aware of the limitations and potential issues that may arise.

  1. Modern Office formats only: Applying security  is only supported in modern Office formats (DOCX, XLSX, PPTX), legacy formats (DOC, XLS, PPT) are not supported. If this is a problem then use the Muhimbi PDF Converter's other facilities to convert old style documents to their modern equivalents.
  2. Real-time security in SP on-premise: The interaction between MS-Office and different SharePoint on-premise versions is extremely complex. To keep things manageable our software disables co-authoring (multiple people editing the same document at the same time) on libraries that have real-time watermarking or security enabled, and where our 'Apply when editing' setting is enabled.
    Due to the way Office files are fetched, for the more modern SharePoint versions it is recommended to enable the 'Apply when editing' setting to make sure watermarks and security settings are consistently applied. This only applies to our real-time processing facilities, applying watermarks and security via workflows does not suffer from this limitation.
  3. Real-time facilities on read-only files recommendation: It is important to put some serious thought in how your documents will be used. Imagine that automatic security is applied every time a document is opened. A user opens the document for editing purposes and then saves it back into SharePoint... INCLUDING THE NEW PASSWORD. From this point forward the password protection is permanent and can no longer be changed unless manually removed by someone with access to the appropriate password. It is for this reason that we recommend using either a filter to only apply real-time security in certain situations, or to only enable it on read-only documents or folders specially created and maintained for sharing these documents.
  4. Office Web Apps: When using real-time watermarking and Internet Explorer is used in combination with Office Web Apps, we recommend setting the 'Default open behaviour' to 'Open in the client application' and not to 'Open in the Browser' ('Advanced Library' settings for the relevant Lists and Libraries).

 

This new functionality is very powerful and in some cases complex. Any questions? Leave a comment below or drop us a line, we love to help.

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Automatically Watermarking Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF files

Posted at: 13:56 on 15 August 2020 by Muhimbi

Word Excel PPT Logos

The Muhimbi PDF Converter has, for many years, offered the ability to automatically add a wide variety of watermarks to PDF files. Watermarks can be added from SharePoint Online, SharePoint on-premise, Power Automate, or our API.  Beyond that, the watermarks themselves can be of many different types- text, images, QR codes, Barcodes, you name it. This works amazingly well, but up until now has always been limited to PDF files.

Now, after our development team has released  the results of all their hard work, we're very pleased to announce that watermarking is now available for MS-Word, PowerPoint, and Excel files in addition to PDF files.

As they say on TV, "But wait- there's more!"  This new watermarking ability doesn't only bring our existing watermarking  functionality to non-PDF files, it does so without having to learn a new way of adding watermarks.  Watermarking an Office file works EXACTLY the same as watermarking a PDF file.  It uses the same coordinate system (Points, 1/72nd of an inch), everything works as expected.  Naturally, there are some minor limitations inherent to the various file formats, see the end of this post for an overview of things to be aware of.

Watermarking goes hand-in-hand with applying security, mainly to prevent documents and watermarks from being easily modified. We have extended our file security facility to MS-Word, Excel and PowerPoint as well. For details see this blog post.
 

This new functionality is available with immediate effect in our SharePoint Online, Power Automate and REST API. There is nothing to do or install, it is available automatically to all new and existing users.

The on-premise version of the Muhimbi PDF Converter for SharePoint and the Muhimbi PDF Converter Services, include this new technology starting with version 10.1, which is available right now.


Common uses cases for applying digital watermarks to documents are:

  • Displaying the document status in the document (e.g. Draft, Final, Confidential, Embargoed)
  • Adding user specific info when the document is opened (e.g. 'Opened by John Miller on 13/7/2020 from IP 192.168.1.137')
  • Preventing piracy and unauthorised use, protect intellectual property.
  • Auditing and tracking.
  • Add labels for compliance and corporate policies.
  • Displaying metadata associated with the SharePoint item, or other external data sources (Author, Project name, Due date)
  • Adding template content to all documents, e.g. legal disclaimers or copyright messages.
  • Automatically applying corporate branding such as the company name and logo.
  • Embedding important - machine readable - data using barcodes or QR Codes.

A video explaining some of these concepts can be found in our Knowledge Base. An overview of all watermarking related articles can be found here.

 

WM On Open - Word vs PDF vs Excel vs PowerPointA simple 'Confidential' watermark applied to MS-Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF.

 

Watermarking of files works through all layers of our solutions and services including SharePoint Designer Workflows, Workflow Manager, Nintex Workflow, K2, Visual Studio Workflows, UiPath, Power Automate, Power Apps, Azure Logic Apps, our SOAP API, the Online REST API and even the SharePoint User Interface for both SharePoint on-premise (SP2007-2019) and SharePoint Online.

 

SharePoint Designer Workflows

For example, adding barcodes to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF is now easy to achieve via SharePoint Designer workflows. We support most common barcode types including Codabar, Code11, Code32, Code39, Code39Extended, Code128, Code128A, Code128B, Code128C, GS1Code128, Code93 and Code93Extended.

Although there are many good reasons to automatically add barcodes to documents, the use case we see over and over again is document management. At some stage documents will make their way outside of the document management system they are created and stored in. How do you figure out important details for such documents? Barcodes can play an important role in this.

 

Nintex Workflow

Nintex workflow is particularly popular with our on-premise SharePoint users (SP2007-SP2019). A super friendly and powerful product to create and visualise even the most complex workflows. All watermark types supported by our core engine are available in Nintex Workflow as well.

In the screenshot below you can see our Nintex 'Text watermark' action. It is very flexible and provides full control over dynamic content, formatting, positioning, rotation, word wrapping and much, much more.

Nintex Watermark

 

Power Automate, Power Apps and Logic Apps

The fastest growing workflow platform in the world is Microsoft Power Automate (and by extension Power Apps and Logic Apps). We provide extensive support for this platform by exposing all features provided by our core engine including Document Conversion, File Security, PDF Merging, OCR and naturally watermarking.

Fox example, use the Image watermark action displayed below to automatically add a background image, or header image, to all your MS-Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF files. Easy, fast and powerful. Have a look at the various Power Automate tutorials available in our Knowledge Base.

Power Automate Watermark

 

Real-time Watermarking

One of the most powerful watermarking features provided by Muhimbi's range of software and services is the ability to apply watermarks in real-time when documents are opened. Think about it, the files in SharePoint are neutral without any watermarks. However, the moment they are opened by users, our software makes sure that custom watermarks are applied while the files are in transit to the user. As a result every user gets their own personal watermarks.

There are many use cases, but the most common use case we see is what we call 'DRM Light'. User details such as full name, user id, ip-address and time stamp are embedded in the document, either visibly or hidden. If a document then shows up in a place where it is not supposed to (e.g. in a data leak) then you know exactly who to reach out to and have a bit of a difficult conversation with.

For more details see the blog posts about this technologies for SharePoint on-premise, and SharePoint Online. The screenshot below illustrates how this can be enabled for the different document types.

WM On Open - SP2016

If real-time processing is of interest, especially in combination with SharePoint Online, then please familiarise yourself with Watermark & Secure 'OnOpen' in SharePoint Online - FAQ.

 

Caveats

Different file formats all have their own peculiarities so it is important to be aware of the limitations and potential issues that may arise.

PDF is the ideal format when it comes to watermarking as anything is possible. You can place content anywhere on a page with pixel perfect precision, and each individual page can be targeted exactly. Unfortunately, that is not the case for all file formats, particularly MS-Word, which describes text and formatting in the docx file, but it is up to the editor - in this case MS-Word - to render that information to the screen or 'paper'.

  1. Modern Office formats only: Watermarking is only supported in modern Office formats (DOCX, XLSX, PPTX), legacy formats (DOC, XLS, PPT) are not supported. If this is a problem then use the Muhimbi PDF Converter's other facilities to convert old style documents to their modern equivalents.
  2. Layering / z-order: This is true for PDF as well, but make sure you don't hide your watermarks BEHIND your document's content. For example placing your watermark in the background of a non-transparent document such as a scan, will hide the watermark. Note that for Excel and MS-Word, watermarks are ALWAYS located behind the document's main content.
  3. Targeting individual pages: PDF and PowerPoint files allow individual pages to be targeted, for example only add the watermark on the 3rd or last page. Unfortunately this is not possible with MS-Word and Excel. In MS-Word watermarks are applied to an entire section, it is not possible to target a watermark to a specific page unless that page has its own section. In Excel it is not possible to target individual pages either, all pages in a worksheet automatically get the same watermark. It is possible to apply different watermarks to different sheets in the workbook though. If configured accordingly in Excel and Word, the first page can have a different watermark compared to other pages.
  4. Mandatory MS-Word Headers: Watermarks are added in MS-Word via page headers, that is just the way that file format works internally. When applying watermarks to Word files it is therefore essential that the headers have not been removed from sections. Our software cannot add watermarks to sections without headers.
  5. Real-time watermarking in SP on-premise: The interaction between MS-Office and different SharePoint on-premise versions is extremely complex. To keep things manageable our software disables co-authoring (multiple people editing the same document at the same time) on libraries that have real-time watermarking enabled and where our 'Apply when editing' setting is enabled.
    Due to the way Office files are fetched, for the more modern SharePoint versions it is recommended to enable the 'Apply when editing' setting to make sure watermarks are consistently applied. This only applies to real-time watermarking, applying watermarks via workflows does not suffer from this limitation.
  6. Office Web Apps: When using real-time watermarking and Internet Explorer is used in combination with Office Web Apps, we recommend setting the 'Default open behaviour' to 'Open in the client application' and not to 'Open in the Browser' ('Advanced Library' settings for the relevant Lists and Libraries).
  7. Real-time watermarking on read-only files recommendation: It is important to put some serious thought in how your documents will be used. For example let's say automatic watermarking is enabled every time a document is opened. A user opens the document for editing purposes (which applies a watermark automatically), the document is then saved including the new watermark. When the document is then opened again a watermark is applied again.... and again.... and again. It is for this reason that we recommend using either a filter to only apply real-time watermarks for certain situations, or to only enabled real-time watermarking on read-only documents or folders specially created and maintained for sharing these watermarked documents.
  8. RTF Watermarks in PowerPoint: We support many watermark types including one that allows rich text to be inserted via RTF. Unfortunately RTF is ignored in PowerPoint, it only displays the textual content embedded in the RTF without formatting.
  9. Excel watermarks require one free header / footer slot without image: In Excel, watermarks are added via headers and footers. Excel has 6 slots, 3 in the header and 3 in the footer. Muhimbi's software requires at least 1 slot to have no image present or it will not be able to apply the watermark.

 

This new functionality is very powerful and in some cases complex. Any questions? Leave a comment below or drop us a line, we love to help.

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SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure Virtual events are taking over the world

Posted at: 16:50 on 29 May 2020 by Muhimbi

Like most established companies, Muhimbi's team frequently attends tradeshows. Not just to visit the super interesting sessions, but also as exhibitors to talk to potential customers and meet other players in our market.

We thoroughly enjoy these shows, but if you think about it.... it is madness. Not the objective, that is still important, but the logistics. The Muhimbi staff that attends these shows is based in the UK. The shows are generally in mainland Europe, all over the US and in Australia.

Let's take the recently cancelled - for obvious reasons - Vegas conference as an example. Create and ship a booth to Vegas, purchase expensive flights and even more expensive hotels for Muhimbi's trade show staff, and pay for the show itself. Add a week's loss of productivity for each person attending the show as well as food, drinks and other expenses and the results are .... priceless.... not!

Certainly, there are benefits to face-to-face meetings, and it is great to travel the world, but let's just face it, it is an expensive hassle and there are better alternatives.

Take the awesome team from Collab365 as an example. They have had the foresight to start doing these online conferences years ago. As a result they have a major head start over the competition who - due to this annoying virus that is doing the rounds - are scrambling to move their existing conferences online, with very mixed success and backed by questionable economics.

Look at the awesome line up of speakers. There is no need for these people to get on a plane and take a week out of their schedule to deliver their interesting talks. Sure they still need to prep each session meticulously, but then it is just a matter of turning on the web cam, dusting off the bookshelf behind your chair so it doesn't look embarrassing on video, and away you go.

 

Lineup

 

I have watched their previous sessions, they are excellent and super slick, it is exactly what you need from an online event, and most importantly it is free to attend and very nice to the planet.

We are in no way associated with Collab365, but we did reach out to see if we can share links to their upcoming GlobalCon2 conference (Don't worry if you are reading this after the event has taken place, all archived content is available at a VERY reasonable price, and I am sure there will be an equally awesome GlobalCon3 or 4 or ....)

Signing up is easy and free, just follow this link and take it from there.

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Automatically convert millions of emails, including all attachments, to PDF

Posted at: 15:07 on 25 March 2020 by Muhimbi

I was talking to one of our customers the other day about an interesting use case that turns out  to be more common than I anticipated.

During our discussion it came to light that their regulatory body requires all communication - exchanged with customers - to be stored in a format suitable for long term archiving. In their case PDF/A. The problem is that doing this by hand is an impossible amount of work and difficult to enforce. This is made even more difficult by the fact that attachments need to be converted to PDF as well.

Guess what.... they need to do this for 100,000 emails per month! Doing this by hand is just not an option, which is why they went looking for a third-party solution.

There are a small number of solutions available in the market. A number of service providers and vendors of development libraries claim to be able to convert EML and MSG files to PDF, but few do this in a way that:

  • generates perfect looking PDFs;
  • supports emails written in a multitude of languages and character sets;
  • converts all attachments and merges them into a single PDF;
  • provides many ways to filter and configure these attachments;
  • takes care of rendering delivery receipts;
  • includes calendar entries and contact cards;
  • outputs PDFs in PDF/A1b, 2b and 3B formats;
  • allows the process to be fully automated via workflow platforms or an API.

We are generally a modest bunch, but we truly believe we have the best email to PDF converter in the world. We know this, because we searched for 3rd party libraries when we first implemented this facility. Nothing existed that was half decent, so we decided to build our own. Our team has spent an enormous amount of time on this facility, more than any of our other converters including our popular and comprehensive InfoPath converter.  The results are clearly visible, this works very well.
 

PDF renditions of regular emails.

 

So, this customer was set a very difficult task, how did they end up solving it? Their in-house team built a simple solution using Java code in combination with the REST API exposed by our online service. Things just sit quietly in the background, beavering away 24x7 to generate PDFs out of emails.

The REST API approach works well for them. We also support a SOAP API in combination with hosting our software on your own servers, SharePoint Online, SharePoint on-premise, Power Automate (Microsoft Flow), Azure Logic Apps, UiPath, Nintex Workflow, K2, C#, JavaScript, Python, PHP and anything else that is remotely modern.

 

PDF Rendition of a calendar entry, including embedded content

 

We could make up fancy ROI figures for this use case, but the fact is that the requirement was nearly impossible. Whatever figure we come up with is bound to be wrong by an order of magnitude. Let's just says it is working out very well for everyone involved.

 

Relevant links:

 

Many of our customers are sitting on gigabytes of emails that need to be archived for eDiscovery, Freedom Of Information requests and SOX, SEC, FTS, FCC, EPA, NLRB, IRS, EEOC, OSH, OFCOM retention regulations. Being able to access these emails 10, 20 or even 40 years down the line, in a universally accepted format such as PDF (including PDF/A), is absolutely essential. Muhimbi’s range of PDF Conversion products make this possible for all common file formats as well as some uncommon ones such as MSG, EML and even InfoPath.

If you have any questions or comments, leave a message below or contact our support desk, we love to help.

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Merge Files to PDF using custom Merge Settings and Muhimbi's XML Override

Posted at: 18:17 on 12 March 2020 by Muhimbi

At the time of writing, Muhimbi's range of PDF Conversion and Document Manipulation servers and APIs have been in the market for nearly 12 years. It will come as no great surprise that during those 12 years we have received many questions from customers to implement all kinds of arcane features to suit their particular requirements.

When implementing feature requests, we have always applied one simple rule, which is that we are happy to implement new functionality providing it can be used by all our customers and is generic in nature.

 

Recently, a large international sports organisation approached us to to replace their legacy on-premise system with our cloud based service. Our software ticked most boxes, but some edge cases were identified for functionality that we did not support, specifically:

  1. Create PDF Bookmarks (and therefore a Table of Contents) based on MS-Word styles that are not defined as headings.
  2. Maintain the correct hierarchy of PDF Bookmarks for MS-Word files that don't start with a Heading 1.

 

Pretty esoteric stuff.... How can we expose niche functionality like this in our system, and user interfaces, without confusing thousands of users that have no interest in this functionality? Well, it turns out we have dealt with this before as we introduced the concept of XML Override to our Convert Document action all the way back in 2012. Using a bit of XML you can set or override almost any setting supported by our comprehensive object model.

So, we added an XML Override facility to our Merge action as well. At the time of writing this new facility is available in Power Automate (Flow) and in our REST based API. In a next release we'll add this to SharePoint Designer and Nintex Workflow actions as well. Naturally all this functionality is available natively on our SOAP API.

 

Let's take the following example, where we merge documents as normal, but with the following changes:

  1. Only apply different rules for MS-Word files that are being merged. To accomplish this we have specified a regular expression on the SourceFile element, which filters on the field specified in the SourceFiles element.
  2. Only generate PDF Bookmarks for the first 3 Heading levels and ignore everything else. We achieve this by setting LowerBookmarkLevel to 3.
  3. Map a custom style named 'MyFakeHeadingStyle', which is not defined in MS-Word as a heading style, to heading level 2. We achieve this by defining it in the list of Bookmark Mappings

 

This results in the following XML.

<Override>
    <ProcessingOptions>
        <SourceFiles filter="property:SourceFile.OpenOptions.FileExtension">
            <SourceFile filterValue="regex:^docx$">
                <ConversionSettings>
                    <GenerateBookmarks>Custom</GenerateBookmarks>
                    <ConverterSpecificSettings type="ConverterSpecificSettings_WordProcessing">
                        <BookmarkOptions>
                            <UseHeadingStyles>True</UseHeadingStyles>
                            <LowerBookmarkLevel>3</LowerBookmarkLevel>
                            <BookmarkMappings>
                                <BookmarkMapping>
                                    <Source>MyFakeHeadingStyle</Source>
                                    <Level>2</Level>
                                </BookmarkMapping>
                            </BookmarkMappings>
                        </BookmarkOptions>
                    </ConverterSpecificSettings>
                </ConversionSettings>
            </SourceFile>
        </SourceFiles>
    </ProcessingOptions>
</Override>

 

We can take this XML and paste it in the 'Override settings' field of our Power Automate Merge documents action. A full example of 'iterating over multiple files and compiling a list of files to merge' is beyond the scope of this post. An example can be found here.
 

Merge XML Override

 

More details can be found in the Developer Guide. This does require some technical knowledge though.

If you get stuck, leave a comment below or contact our support desk, we love to help.

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PDF Converter Online 9.13 - Print Only & Barcode Watermarks, Convert Attachments

Posted at: 14:52 on 12 February 2020 by Muhimbi

sharepoint-online-logo

The Muhimbi PDF Converter Online is constantly being improved and extended. Similar to many other online services, when a new version is rolled out there is nothing to do for our users. New functionality just shows up, existing functionality continues to work as expected. Life is good!

Since our previous formal announcement, we have added some interesting new facilities, and fixed / improved existing logic.

The full list of changes can be found further down, but the key highlights for versions 9.13 are as follows:

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 10.1.         
 

Apply barcode watermarks using SharePoint Designer Workflows, Power Automate (Flow), the UI and API

 
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 convert merge, split, watermark, secure, and OCR 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.  An on-premise version for SharePoint 2007-2019 is available separately.

The Muhimbi PDF Converter Services Online is included in the PDF Converter for SharePoint Online, but also available as a separate subscription. Although frequently used in combination with SharePoint Online, it is a completely stand-alone product which is typically used programmatically via its REST based API, via Power Automate (Flow), Azure LogicApps or Microsoft Power Apps. It comes with the same functionality as the SharePoint Online product to convert, merge, watermark, secure and OCR files. 
 

Control if watermarks are always displayed, or only when printing.

 

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

5401 API Fix PdfWatermark API call fails if URL does not end in .pdf.
4714 API Fix API does not recognize folder path containing plus sign (+).
4653 API Fix Fix Serialization errors of certain file paths in API.
1723 Attachments New Support embedding of attachments inside a PDF in original file format
5339 Attachments New Implement filtering of attachment types during conversion
5364 AutoCAD Fix Out of Memory exception during AutoCAD conversion
4879 AutoCAD Fix Resource leak in CAD conversions
4904 AutoCAD Improvement Implement sorting of CAD layouts by their Tab Order
5024 AutoCAD Improvement Improve PDF rendering of certain DXF files
4630 AutoCAD New Add support for latest R2018 DWG files
4882 Conversion Fix Error related to 'Protected View' when converting Office documents.
5407 Conversion Improvement Resolve performance issues related to Office telemetry
4956 Core Fix Error: 'The property or field 'Url' has not been initialized'
4701 Core Fix Base file name returns _____ in place of Chinese characters in a file name
4918 Core Fix Support very long SharePoint Online URLs for destination files
4082 Core Improvement Accept fully qualified path names for source and destination paths for operations
4724 Core Improvement Improve error message when Override xml is not entered correctly
4674 Core Improvement Improve messaging for 'file not found' situations
3975 Core New Allow multiple API subscriptions to be grouped under a single main subscription
5341 Email Fix RTFHTML email parsing issue
4845 Email Improvement Improve encoding of eml headers
4728 Email New Filter out useless 'signature' images during email conversion
5410 Excel New Localise Excel conversions depending on user region
4765 Flow Improvement Add facility to Flow & Merge API to pass in an array of documents
5433 HTML Improvement Improve conversion of Power BI pages
3162 HTML Improvement Improve conversion of 'Modern View' SharePoint pages
4618 HTML Improvement Implement new HTML Converter that supports all modern standards
4309 HTML Improvement Clean up converted HTML links without protocol
4763 HTML Improvement Investigate special characters in HTML conversion
3499 HTML New Add support for 'repeating headers and footers' in HTML converter
5333 InfoPath Fix InfoPath conversion fails if xml does not define the 'my' namespace
5413 MS-Word Fix Signed Word document Fail to Convert
5931 MS-Word Improvement Improve page numbering and various field types during MS-Word conversion
4834 MS-Word Improvement Improve MS-Word 3rd party template handling
4878 MS-Word Improvement Add support for hyphenation for most common languages
4891 MS-Word New Allow any MS-Word style to be designated as a Heading level
4660 Setup Improvement Update characters allowed for password on API signup
4403 Setup Improvement Redesign 'Sign up' form to make it easier to understand
4901 Setup New Create sample PowerShell to install / sideload App store app
5381 UI Fix Convert page to PDF does not work if URL contains '&'
5356 UI Fix Destination button on conversion screen fails when destination folder contains '+'
4744 UI Fix Prevent clashes with other jQuery versions used on same page.
4664 UI Improvement Add Support to Disable User-Integration for APP deployed Via App-Catalog
5405 Watermarking Fix Watermarking fails for certain PDF files
5351 Watermarking Fix Out of memory exceptions during certain watermark operations
5367 Watermarking Fix Chinese characters not appearing in text watermark
5416 Watermarking Fix Fix imageFilePath references on root site collection's subsite
5335 Watermarking Fix Issue with RT Watermarking on modern view websites when Filtering is enabled
4607 Watermarking Fix Potential problem when copying watermark URLs
5342 Watermarking Improvement Implement date and time localisation in watermarks
5365 Watermarking Improvement Improve stability of real-time watermarking of modern view Lists and Libraries
2742 Watermarking Improvement Improve messaging around real-time watermarking
4954 Watermarking Improvement Add support to Filtering in SP Online Library with real-time watermarking enabled
4708 Watermarking New Add support for barcode watermarks to UI, SP designer workflows, Flow and API
4326 Watermarking New Support real-time watermarking for Classic Search in SharePoint Online
4899 Watermarking New Automate sync external users to real-time processing user group.
4801 Watermarking New Add support for external users in real-time watermarking
4625 Watermarking New Target watermarks the last page(s) via negative StartPage and EndPage values
4729 Watermarking New Support for Print Only watermarks to UI, SP designer workflows, Flow and API
5353 Workflow Fix Workflow alerts not being sent for file not found exception
4637 Workflow Improvement Improve Workflow Alert emails
4949 Workflow Improvement Allow XML override without escaping characters in Nintex Workflow for Office 365


For more information check out the following resources:


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PDF Converter Services 10.0 - Print Only & Barcode Watermarks, Convert Attachments

Posted at: 14:32 on 07 February 2020 by Muhimbi

PDFConverterServicesBox4_thumb3

Well, it is that time of the year again, time for a brand-new release of the Muhimbi PDF Converter Services (See this post for the new SharePoint version). Versions 10.0 already, yep, there is no version 9 because we are just like Microsoft and Apple. Perhaps we should have called it Version X.

In all seriousness, we have skipped the 9.x range as those version numbers are reserved for the Online version of our software. From a feature perspective all 3 platforms (SharePoint, the SDK and Online Subscription services) are generally in sync.

As always there are many improvements and refinements, but also some great new features, specifically:

 


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. Separate SharePoint and Cloud-based Subscription services are available as well.     
 

When upgrading from a previous version, read this Knowledge Base article first.

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

1723 Attachments New Support embedding of attachments inside a PDF in original file format
5339 Attachments New Implement filtering of attachment types during conversion
5364 AutoCAD Fix Out of Memory exception during AutoCAD conversion
4879 AutoCAD Fix Resource leak in CAD conversions
4904 AutoCAD Improvement Implement sorting of CAD layouts by their Tab Order
5024 AutoCAD Improvement Improve PDF rendering of certain DXF files
4630 AutoCAD New Add support for latest R2018 DWG files
4882 Conversion Fix Error related to 'Protected View' when converting Office documents.
5407 Conversion Improvement Resolve performance issues related to Office telemetry
4709 Core Improvement Improve logging
5341 Email Fix RTFHTML email parsing issue
4845 Email Improvement Improve encoding of EML headers
4728 Email New Filter out useless 'signature' images during email conversion
5027 HTML Fix Convert Page to PDF problem with Filter in List
5433 HTML Improvement Improve conversion of Power BI pages
3162 HTML Improvement Improve conversion of 'Modern View' SharePoint pages
4618 HTML Improvement Implement new HTML Converter that supports all modern standards
4309 HTML Improvement Clean up converted HTML links without protocol
4763 HTML Improvement Investigate special characters in HTML conversion
4844 HTML Improvement Improve support for converting of Nintex Forms 2010
3499 HTML New Add support for 'repeating headers and footers' in HTML converter
5333 InfoPath Fix InfoPath conversion fails if xml does not define the 'my' namespace
5413 MS-Word Fix Signed Word document Fail to Convert
5931 MS-Word Improvement Improve page numbering and various field types during MS-Word conversion
4834 MS-Word Improvement Improve MS-Word 3rd party template handling
4891 MS-Word New Allow any MS-Word style to be designated as a Heading level
4805 Samples Improvement Create batch files for .Net sample code for building and running
4808 Samples Improvement Make Java sample codes work with newer Java versions
4807 Samples Improvement Update PHP sample HTML page
4883 Samples New Add Sample Code to GitHub
4740 Samples New Add .net Core sample code
5383 Setup End of life Drop support for Windows Server 2003 (No longer supported by installer)
5366 Setup Fix During installation Windows security pop up is visible
4614 Setup Fix Fix Suspicious Double File Extension Execution AV Warnings
4975 Setup Improvement Implement new code signing mechanism
5405 Watermarking Fix Watermarking fails for certain PDF files
5351 Watermarking Fix Out of memory exceptions during certain watermark operations
5367 Watermarking Fix Chinese characters not appearing in text watermark
5342 Watermarking Improvement Implement date and time localisation in watermarks
4248 Watermarking New Add 'Print Only' Watermarks
2396 Watermarking New Add support for barcode watermarks


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.

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