Watermark PDFs using Nintex Workflow and the Muhimbi PDF Converter for SharePoint

Posted at: 16:12 on 18 August 2011 by Muhimbi

Nintex-logo5_thumb1_thumbOur popular PDF Converter for SharePoint started off as a a relative straightforward PDF Converter. As we really listen to our customers we have added a lot of functionality over the years resulting in a very complete feature set. One of the more powerful modules of the product is the integrated Watermarking Engine, which allows all kind of watermarks (Text, RTF, PDF, Images, Ellipses, Lines etc.) to be added to PDF files.

Support for SharePoint Designer, a Web Services API as well as a host of other watermarking functionality has been available for a while, but with the introduction of version 5.1 we are adding support for the popular, and rather brilliant, Nintex Workflow as well. In addition to the new PDF Watermarking Nintex Workflow Activity, we are also adding activities for PDF Security, PDF Merging as well as HTML to PDF Conversion.

Similar to all other Nintex Activities provided by Muhimbi, the Watermark PDF activity integrates with Nintex Workflow at a deep level. It supports SharePoint 2007, 2010 & 2013, allows errors to be handled and even supports integration with Nintex’ iterators to deal with multiple items and loops. For a comprehensive example and details about how to enable the Nintex Workflow integration see the blog post that discusses our generic Nintex PDF Conversion activity.

Image-Watermark-CombinedWatermark PDF files using Nintex Workflow 2007 and 2010 (Image watermark shown)

Building a full example workflow is out of the scope of this post as it is relatively simple. For details see our generic PDF Conversion for Nintex Workflow example. The fields supported by this Workflow Activity are as follows:

  • Destination Path: Enter the path to write the watermarked file to, either:
    - Leave it empty to use the same filename (and path) as the file that triggered the workflow.
    - A file name, without the full path, to write a differently named file to the same location as the source file.
    - A relative path to a subsite / document library / folder, e.g. Shared Documents/Some Folder/Some File.pdf.
    - An absolute path to a different site collection, e.g. /sites/Finance/Shared Documents/Some Folder/Some File.pdf.
    Please make sure the path does not include the host name, e.g. ‘http://your site/…’.
  • Watermark type: A number of different watermark types are supported. Unlike our individual SharePoint Designer workflow activities, all watermark types have been rolled up into a single Nintex Activity. The functionality is largely the same so have a look here for more details. The following watermark types are supported.
    • Text: Add a text based watermark with full control over the font type, size, style, rotation and field codes such as {PAGE}.
    • PDF: Add the first page of another PDF file as the watermark.
    • Image: Use a BMP, JPG, GIF, PNG, TIFF, WMF or EMF / EMF+ file as a watermark.
    • RTF: Use RTF based text as a watermark.
    • Ellipse: Add an ellipse based watermark.
    • Line: Add a line based watermark.
    • QR Code: Add a QR code as a watermark. For details see this blog post.
    • Composite: For complex watermarks, or watermarks consisting of multiple elements such as line AND text AND images use the Composite Watermark in combination with our XML based watermarking syntax.
  • PDF List ID: If you wish to carry out further actions on the watermarked PDF file, e.g. send it by email or perform a check-in, then you can optionally write the ID of the List the PDF was written to in a workflow variable of type String.
  • PDF List Item ID: Similarly to PDF List ID, the Item ID of the watermarked PDF file can optionally be written to a workflow variable of type Item ID (in SharePoint 2007) or Integer (in SharePoint 2010 / 2013).
  • Source List ID & List Item: The item that triggered the workflow is watermarked by default. You can optionally specify the ID of a different List and List Item using workflow variables. Please use the same data types as used by PDF List ID and PDF List Item ID.
  • Error Handling: Similar to the way some of Nintex’ own Workflow Activities allow errors to be captured and evaluated by subsequent actions, all of Muhimbi’s Workflow Activities allow the same. By default this facility is disabled meaning that any error terminates the workflow.



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  • Is it possible to simply apply a watermark to an existing PDF without the conversion process? How would this work?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 24 August, 2011 21:37  

  • You can watermark an existing PDF without converting using the activity described in this post. At the moment (25/8/2011) you need to request he beta from the 'Contact Us' link at the top of the page.

    By Blogger Muhimbi, At 25 August, 2011 07:46  

  • am I correct in assumption that I can generate only Nintex site workflow with Muhimbi.
    If Yes, how can I bind this workflow to special list.

    By Blogger Unknown, At 10 September, 2012 17:56  

  • Hi Arash,

    SharePoint Designer Workflows and Visual Studio Workflows (via the web services interface) are supported as well. See the links in the introduction of this blog post.

    Binding a workflow to a list works as you would expect and is a function of the workflow environment, not our software.

    Please drop a line to support@muhimbi.com if you have further questions.

    By Blogger Muhimbi, At 10 September, 2012 18:00  

  • I would say arash means that the Nintex Actions for Watermarks, Security and Merging are only avainable under Nintex site workflows and This is a problem for developing the workflows!!
    Is that true?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 11 September, 2012 15:37  

  • Arash has opened a support call with our support desk #1756 (I assume it is him, the name is slightly different). We are investigating and will get back once we have an answer.

    By Blogger Muhimbi, At 11 September, 2012 15:40  

  • How can you put the watermark to all PDF pages. In my case i try to convert InfoPath to PDF but my watermark just appears in InfoPath attachment pages (From page 2).

    Which values do i need to pass to Start Page, End Page and Interval?

    By Blogger Unknown, At 21 September, 2012 15:20  

  • Hi Arash,

    By default all pages are watermarked, but perhaps your attached files have a white background. As watermarks are placed in the background by default they are essentially hidden.

    You will need to use the 'Composite Watermark' in combination with the XML based syntax (both are referred to in this post above) in order to set the zOrder to a positive value.

    Please feel free to contact our support desk at support@muhimbi.com.

    By Blogger Muhimbi, At 21 September, 2012 15:36  

  • I'm trying to convert a word document to PDF and add a watermark to it in a Nintex workflow, the conversion to PDF works fine but the watermark is not applied to the PDF file!

    Any ideas why?
    I'm adding a simple text watermark to the file

    My workflow is very simple it converts the document to PDF first then adds the watermark as a second step in the workflow

    Thank you

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 17 September, 2013 08:44  

  • There are a couple of reasons why things are not working as expected. The most likely reason is that the watermark is displayed in the background of the document (the default option for watermarks), but the content of your document is not transparent, so it covers up the watermark. We see this a lot with scanned images and PowerPoint presentations. The solution is to put the watermark in the front. For details see http://support.muhimbi.com/entries/21240011-Why-are-my-watermarks-not-visible-

    Another reason is that the watermark is not applied to the correct document because the correct list id / item id combination returned by the conversion action is not passed into the watermarking task. For details about how to do this see http://blog.muhimbi.com/2013/05/combining-multiple-muhimbi-pdf.html

    By Blogger Muhimbi, At 17 September, 2013 09:17  

  • I have created a new blank word document for testing and ran the conversion workflow that i mentioned in my earlier post and the watermark is still not present!!

    any explanation?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 17 September, 2013 10:16  

  • One last thing ...

    If I apply the same workflow on the PDF that is generated by the workflow, then the watermark appears!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 17 September, 2013 10:20  

  • For possible solutions see the links in my previous update.

    I don't understand what your latest update means, please contact support@muhimbi.com if you require further assistance.

    By Blogger Muhimbi, At 17 September, 2013 10:22  

  • Found the solution in this link

    Thank you Muhinmbi

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 17 September, 2013 10:28  

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