Is there a way to generate pages for electronic documents such as Word and Excel from within Workflow?
Out-of-the-box, that’s not possible. It is something that you could create, but there are two primary obstacles to consider.
1) We generate pages using Snapshot, which is a printer driver. It’s extremely difficult to completely automate the printing of a document. Even in a best-case scenario, you’ll probably run into situations where an unexpected prompt comes up, and user intervention is required to print the document. If you can find a way to generate pages without the use of a printer driver, that would be far better.
2) Generating pages is an intensive process, and can bog down your Workflow server immensely. If you are going to be generating pages programmatically, you will want to pass the document to a machine besides your Workflow server for processing.
If you can find a way to work around those issues, then you can build your own custom Workflow activity to generate pages. Good luck!
Just for fun to see if it could be done:
1. Workflow & Import Agent
2. Full version of Word and/or Excel installed on your workflow server.
3. MS Office InterOp Assemblies for Word and Excel.
1. A workflow rule to search for Word Documents and Excel Spreadsheets in the Repository
2. Pass the search hits to a Script calling MS InterOp Assemblies which would "Save As" the content as a PDF file
3. The saved PDF file was saved using the original source EntryID as the name of the file
4. I would have the Script tell Word and Excel to Save the content as a PDF in a folder monitored by LF Import Agent
5. The LF Import Agent was setup with a profile monitoring a folder to convert PDF images to Monochrome files as it sent PDF files back to the repository
6. The Import Agent would send the Monochrome version of the files back to a folder monitored by another "Incoming Converted" workflow rule
7. The "Incoming Converted" workflow rule would see the name as the EntryID, do a search, and long story short, merge the source Word Doc or Source Excel Spreadsheet with the imported images
It was kind of fun creating all this and another reason why I love working with Laserfiche. There are a couple of caveats though. I did not test spreadsheets with multiple tabs, Word Documents and Excel Spreadsheets could be password protected or have embedded macros which stalls the workflow (so some kind of timer needs to arbitrarily kill the process). There may be other caveats as well, but the basic process can all be automated if you have "simple" content that needs to be converted.
You can get Quick Fields Agent and have workflow apply tags to files (or have the session start with a search) and use Quick Fields to Generate Pages for documents. It should be able to preserve the original Entry ID as well so you have have a completely automated setup for generating pages and also an easy to track history of any given document, even if Quick Fields has generated pages for it
This would be a really great activity to add to Workflow but I have been told that it would be difficult to do and have it run unattended. I don't understand why that is. When I generate pages in LF client, I just click the button and it generates pages without asking for user input. Why can't Workflow just call the same code for the entry selected?
Kenneth Salomon - We have QuickFields but have not used it very much. Can you expand on your response on how to get QuickFields to do that? Do you need QuickFields Agent if you don't need to do it manually or can Workflow call QuickFields to do it?