Integrating PDF Forms with Automatic Document Importation

Most people have had to fill out forms in their lifetime. With PDF forms, you can fill out the form fields onscreen using text fields, buttons, drop down lists, and date pickers and then save or submit the form in electronic format. This significantly cuts down on the amount of paper and manual processing of forms. When a PDF form is in an electronic format, FileHold can extract the information entered into the form fields into the metadata fields of the schema. In today's topic will be discussing how to integrate and automate the adding of PDF forms in to FileHold.

In this example, a Personal Leave Request form was creating using the Forms tool in Adobe Acrobat Professional. In the form, various information such as employee name, employee ID, manager name, department, leave type and managerial approval are collected. A Submit Form button was added. A PDF form can be submitted to an email address, an FTP site, or a web server. In this case, the form is being submitted to an FTP server.

Personal leave form example

Next, a Personal Leave schema was created with the corresponding metadata fields. The metadata fields are employee name, employee number, manager name, department, and if approval is required. No metadata fields were made required since this information will be pulled from the form automatically through the extraction rule.

Personal leave schema example

A blank Personal Leave form was added to the FileHold library in the Corporate Forms folder in which the entire company has read only access. Many different types of corporate blank forms are stored in the Corporate Forms folder. This allows employees to download a copy of a form and fill it out as needed. The Personal Leave form would be filled out and submitted when an employee needed to request some time off.

Personal leave form library structure

A PDF extraction rule was then created. This allows the values entered into the form to be automatically extracted into the metadata fields of the Personal Leave schema thereby reducing or eliminating an need to do manual indexing of the forms. The rule created is based on using the Personal Leave form as a template in the Administration Panel.

Personal leave form extraction rule

An import job (automatic document importation or ADI) was created called Personal Leave. The job settings were configured to import the Personal Leave forms that were uploaded to a shared folder on the ftp server. The FH Service account was given full control over the shared folder. The job was also set to automatically run the job and a set destination folder was configured so no manual intervention is needed. In FileHold 14.2, extraction rules can be applied to documents that are imported through an ADI job.

The schema was set to Personal Leave and the metadata fields are left blank. As soon as an employee submitted a personal leave form, the job would run automatically on the server, the values from the form would be extracted into the metadata fields of the schema. The forms are sent directly to the correct folder location.

Personal leave form ADI job example

A member of the Human Resources group set up an alert on the folder where the forms are being set. Once a new form is added, the HR member would receive an email alert and a document alert advising them a new personal leave form has been added.

Personal leave form alert on folder

The HR member would then review the form information and if it required approval by a manager, they can then manually initiate a workflow on the form. The HR member would use an ad-hoc workflow template where they can specify the name of the manager and the number of days they have to approve the leave. After the leave has been approved or not approved by the manager, the next workflow task is routed to the personal leave form originator for review so that they know whether their leave has been approved or not.

Personal leave form workflow example


As you can see from this example, the entire process of requesting leave from work has been fully automated. Filling out and submitting the form, importing the document and filling out the metadata, triggering an alert for the HR member and starting the workflow approval process has been completed electronically and has a full audit trail. Implementing such processes in your organization can help save time, money, and a lot of paper.

For more information on automating your processes using FileHold, contact [email protected] today.