Importing Files Using Watched Folders

The FDA watched folder feature makes it possible to add documents to FileHold in the background with minimal or optional user intervention. Users with nearly any role can watch as many folders as they want to configure. When a file appears in the defined folder path, the selected attributes will be assigned to it and it will appear as a new document in the FDA inbox or can optionally be automatically sent to the library. The watched folder configuration unique to the local workstation.

There are a number values that can be set for the new document directly in the watched folder configuration including the destination location in the library, the document schema and metadata values. You can also choose whether or not the input file will be deleted after it has been added to the library and whether or not it should be automatically added to the library without further intervention or not. If the watched folder is configured to automatically add the documents to the library, they will first be checked to confirm they have all the required metadata field values. If they do not, they will be left in the inbox for the user to complete.

Watched folders are also available in the automatic document importation (ADI) feature. This feature should be used when user input is not required, when the folder to watch is on a network and when you would like to use extraction rules on the files.

Watched folders are typically used in conjunction with scanning stations when you will not be using a tool like Capture to index them, but their uses are many and varied. See "Send to FileHold" for an example.

Some file extensions will be ignored by watched folders for safety reasons, including:  asp, asx, bas, bat, cer, chm, cmd, com, cpl, crt, csh, exe, fxp, hlp, hta, inf, ins, isp, js, jse, ksh, lnk, mda, mdb, mdt, mdw, mde, mdz, msc, msi, msp, mst, ops, pif, prf, prg, reg, scf, scr, sct, shb, shs, tmp, vb, vbe, vbs, vsmacros, vss, vst, vsw, ws, wsc, wsf, and wsh.

To create a Watched Folder

  1. In FDA, go to Tools > Watched Folders and click Add.

  2. In the Browse for Folder window, select the folder that you want to "watch" on your local computer or network drive. For example, select the output folder for a scanned batch of documents.

  3. In the Watched Folder Properties window, the Folder Path to the Watched Folder is shown.

  4. Select the Delete input files check box to automatically delete the files from the folder that is being watched. This keeps the folder clean and reduces the folder size; this could potentially get quite large if you are scanning a lot of documents.

  5. To automatically send the files to a specific folder in the Library, select the Automatically send files to selected folder in FileHold check box and click ... to select a destination folder.

  6. To set the metadata for the documents, select the Automatically set metadata for input files check box and select the Document Schema name from the list.

  7. Enter the metadata values. You can determine which metadata fields will receive a fixed value for all the documents by selecting the check box next to the metadata field name and entering a value. If the check box is selected and the metadata field is required, a value must be entered into the field. If the check box for the metadata field is not selected, a value is not required even if the field is required. However, the “Automatically send files to the FileHold Library” cannot be enabled since the required value is missing and will need to be entered in the Inbox. If the metadata field is set to “read-only”, then you cannot select the check box; this field will always use the default initial value set up in the schema. In the example below, the Estimate ID# and Name metadata fields will have the same fixed value for all the documents imported via this Watched folder.

Watched Folders - Metadata Mapping

  1. Select the Automatically Send Files to the FileHold Library check box to automatically send the files to the specified location in the Library. Note that if a metadata field is required field in the schema and not entered in the above step, then this option is not available. The documents will go to the Inbox.

  2. Click OK.

  3. The new Watched Folder will appear in the List of Watched Folders.

  4. To delete a Watched Folder, click the red X next to the Watched Folder name in the Watched Folders list.

Care should be taken to ensure the source of the files is not adding partial files to the watched folder. The FDA will look for new files every 15 seconds. Depending on how the source program adds the file to the folder, it may appear in the folder list before it is completely written. This is more common if the file is very large. If the FDA is able to "see" the filename in the folder, it may start reading the contents before the source program has finished writing them. This could result in incomplete files being added to FileHold. Problems like this are most common when the watched folder is on a network or the source of the files creating them over a network. There are a few ways to mitigate such issues:

  • Do not automatically send files to the FileHold library. In this case the documents will appear in the inbox giving them time to be fully written by the source program. This is method is not fully deterministic, but it will work in most practical cases.
  • Have the source of the files write them to a folder that is not being watched. Then have the source program move them to the watched folder. The Windows move function will not add the file to the destination folder list until it has been completely moved.
  • Use manage imports or ADI and an indirect file. Make sure to create the file list XML or delimited file last.