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Importing Files Using Watched Folders

Watched folders create a kind of direct line that allows users to place their documents into the watched folders and from there they are automatically sent to the document management system. Users can create as many watched folders as they need. When a user creates a Watched Folder, the files that are placed there are automatically associated with an existing document schema and metadata and then sent either to the Inbox or to a mapped folder in the Library. Files configured to be sent to an existing folder in the Library can be sent ONLY if the schema selected does not have any required fields missing. If the fields are required and the values are missing, the files will go to the Inbox for processing even if a destination folder has been mapped.

The Watched Folder does not perform Auto-filing because in many cases the files will not have completed metadata values associated with them. However, documents can be tagged quickly en masse from the Inbox. Once the files are prepared in the Inbox the user can then click Auto-File in the Inbox to send all the files to their final destination.

Watched Folders can only be created in the FileHold Desktop Application (FDA).

Watched folders are typically used in conjunction with scanning stations; however, you can also use this feature to import a large quantity of documents into the system. When scanning documents, you can set an output folder for the batch and then configure the Watched Folder to watch that output folder for any new scanned images. FileHold will automatically import any new documents from the output folder into the Inbox of FDA or configured folder in the Library.

IMPORTANT: The following file types cannot be brought into FileHold using Watched Folders:  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 set 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.

IMPORTANT: Care should be taken to ensure the source of the files is depositing complete 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. If the FDA is able to see and open this file, it may read 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 source of the files is 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 and an indirect file transfer. Make sure to create the file list XML last.