Creating FastFind templates in FileHold

FastFind templates allow you to automate searches in FileHold software from third party applications such as an accounting or ERP system. You create the templates for the third party application and assign “hot keys” or shortcut keys to search the various areas of the forms-based application. This allows users to quickly search FileHold and access information related to the file they are working on in the third party application.

The target application must have been created with Microsoft WinForms based technology in order for this method to be effective. Use one of the other FastFind options such as OCR and clipboard for browser applications and other applications that do not use WinForms.

It is possible to configure multiple search hot keys for a single application form and template. Each of these hot keys can get their search data from a different user interface component, like an edit field, on the form. The user interface component where the search data will come from is called a data source or "source" for short. A data source component can be located based on its position and size on the form or, more reliably, based on its relative location to another user interface components on the form. This relationship between the data source and another component is created by defining an anchor rule or "rule" for short. There should always be at least one rule defined for a form to ensure the search data is being extracted from the correct application form. For example on an invoice screen, data sources can be set for fields like invoice number or customer name with anchor rules like the form title and the "Invoice no." or "Customer name" labels next to the corosponding edit fields.

In order to create FastFind templates, you must be a Senior Library Administrator or System Administrator.

To create a FastFind template

  1. Open the third party application that you are creating the template for. In this example, a Microsoft Money invoice is used.

  2. You can define templates whether or not FastFind is enabled, but it will need to be enabled in order to use them. Go to File > Preferences and Settings > FastFind Preferences and select the Enable FastFind check box. Click OK.

  3. Go to Tools > FastFind Templates.

  4. In the list of FastFind Templates window, click Add Template.

  5. The message “Activate the window you want the FastFind Template to be associated with and press Alt+N.” appears. Select the third party application and type Alt+N.

  6. A “snapshot” of the application will now appear in the FastFind Template window. If the incorrect window was invoked, click Select New Window and repeat step 5.

If you have already created some anchor rules or data sources and you choose a new window that does not have matching user interface elements, your anchor rules and data sources may be deleted.

Creating FastFind template
  1. Enter a name and description for the FastFind template.

  2. Click Add Rules. An anchor rule provides a clue to how to locate a data source. In the following example, the whole invoice was selected as the area for the anchor rule. This is a good rule to identify the entire form. When the mouse is hovering over a selectable user interface component a blue box will be drawn around the component. Click the component to select it.

As an alternative to selecting the add rules button before hovering over the form, you can simply highlight the component and right click to see the add rules option.

FastFind template -select a source
  1. The Add Rule window opens. Select if the rule has a dynamic position, a fixed position, or a fixed position and size.
  • If you plan to use dynamic position you must first set the Match Text. Any text included in the selected component will be copied to the field. If the text to match is variable, you can check the regular expression box and use a regular expression instead of fixed text. Note that the start (^) and end ($) anchors for the regular expression are automatically added. Click OK.

In the following example, a fixed position is used since the Invoice template in Microsoft Money is a consistent, non-dynamic template.

FastFind template - add rule
  1. To see what area is covered for the rule, select the rule from the Rules list. The area that the rule covers will appear in light green. In the example below, the whole invoice form is highlighted in green.
FastFind template - view rule
  1. Continue to create as many anchor rules as desired.
  • To edit a rule, click the rule name. To disable automatically adding new rules, click Edit Rules/Sources.
  • To remove a rule, click the red X next to the rule name.
  1. Click Add Source. The data source is the field on the form that is going to provide the value that will be searched in FileHold. For example, on an invoice this might be a customer/client name or customer number, invoice number, etc. As with anchor rules, you can select the form field, right click and choose the add source option without first selecting the add source button.

  2. Select the user interface component that will be a data source on the form. This area will be highlighted in blue. In the example below, the Customer field is selected as the source.

FastFind template - select source
  1. In the Add Source window, enter the Name for the source. Use something that will be descriptive for the user that will be using this template to search.

  2. The value in the data source field can be matched against a regular expression before being used in a search. If the match fails, the search window will not be open when the hot key is pressed. As with regular expressions for anchor rules, use the caret and dollar sign at the beginning and end of the regular expression.

  3. Choose if the field will be found according to an anchor rule or the size and position. The "source" field in this dialog is used to select the anchor rule that will be used for relative positioning. The dropdown will only list valid anchor rules. The user interface component used as an anchor rule must be in the same horizontal or vertical plane as the data source. A user interface component that contains the data source cannot be used in an anchor rule for that data source. In a typical form layout, a field used as a data source commonly will have a label to the left of it. This is often the best choice for an anchor rule. 

  4. Assign a shortcut key to the source. In the example below, it uses Alt+A as the shortcut key.

FastFind template - add source
  1. Click OK.

  2. To see the field assigned to the source, select the source from the list. The source is highlighted in red.

FastFind template - source selection
  1. Continue to create as many sources as needed.
  • To remove a source, click the red X next to the source name.

In the example below, the invoice date and total amount were added as sources.

FastFind template - all sources
  1. Click Save to save the FastFind template.

  2. Go to File > Preferences and Settings > FastFind Preferences and select the check box next to the template name enable the FastFind template and click OK. You can also enable the “Update FastFind templates when I log in to FileHold” so any changes made to the FastFind templates will be updated on your local computer.

FastFind - enable template
  1. To test your template, go to the third party application and type the hot keys that were assigned to the sources. FileHold will open as the top most window with the search results shown.

In the example below, the shortcut key Alt+B was used to search on the invoice amount.

FastFind template - search results
  1. If the FileHold search was not invoked, ensure your shortcut keys do not conflict with the shortcut keys of the third party application. If they conflict, you can edit the template to change the shortcut key. See below for details on how to edit FastFind templates.

A quick test for a data source definition

  1. Click the test template button.
  2. A small dialog box will popup with fields that will display the results of your test. Move this dialog to a part of your screen that is visible when your 3rd party application form is displayed.
  3. Bring your 3rd party application to the foreground and press the hotkey you defined. You should see the name and value for the data source you linked to the hotkey in the small dialog box.

To edit a FastFind template

  1. Go to Tools > FastFind Templates.
  2. In the List of FastFind Templates window, click on the name of the template to be edited.
  3. Make modifications as needed.
  • Change the name or description.
  • Click Edit Rules/Sources to modify the areas and shortcut keys.
  • Click Add Rules or Add Sources to add additional rules and sources to the template.
  • Use the right click button on your mouse to dropdown a menu that will let you add an anchor rule or data source directly.
  • To remove rules or sources, click the red X next to the name.
  1. To save the changes, click Save.

To delete a FastFind template

  1. Go to Tools > FastFind Templates and click the red X next to the template name.

To print a "Cheat Sheet” for the template shortcuts

  1. Go to File > Preferences and Settings > FastFind Preferences.
  2. Select a FastFind template and click on Shortcut Summary. This will open a list of all the shortcut keys that have been created for the FastFind templates.
  3. To print the list, click Print.

Compare templates

You can see a quick comparison between templates by pressing the Differences button.