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PDF Converter Templates

The PDF converter settings allow you to set up templates that can convert documents to a PDF and, optionally, append workflow information such as the sign off sheet, approver names, approval date, workflow name, metadata, and so on, after a particular workflow activity has been completed. The following document types can be converted to PDF: docx, doc, dot, docm, dotx, dotm, html, rtf, txt, and pdf. 

If appending workflow information to the end of the converted PDF document, converter templates are used to define the appended information. One or many templates can be configured, depending on the type of information that is required to be a part of the approved document. Note that for “not approved” or “approval postponed” documents, template information is not appended.

When the system converts a document to a PDF during the workflow process, a new version of the document is added to the library.

Information can be appended to electronic documents, electronic records, and offline documents. The offline document is converted to an electronic document format and the appended workflow information becomes the document content.

These templates are created in Microsoft Word and saved in the FileHold library. Once in the FileHold library, a saved search is configured that points to the list of templates. In the PDF converter settings, the saved search name, the opening and closing delimiters, and field delimiter is defined. When the template document is being added, it is checked for headers and or footers.

  • If a header or footer is not present in the template, the source document (docx only) will be checked for the corresponding header or footer.
  • If a header or footer is found in the source document (docx only), it will be used to replace the empty header or footer in the template.

When setting up workfow templates, the PDF converter template is applied along with other settings. See the following steps that are required to set up PDF converter templates:

  1. Create the PDF converter templates in Microsoft Word. Save as Microsoft Word docx files. Sample templates can be downloaded from the bottom of this page.
  2. Create a schema for the PDF converter templates in FileHold.
  3. Add PDF converter templates to the FileHold library.
  4. Create a public saved search for the PDF converter templates.
  5. Configure the PDF converter settings in Library configuration > Settings > Workflow.
  6. Create workflow templates and configure options to convert to PDF.
  7. Initiate workflows.

NOTE: Appending workflow information to a document using a PDF converter template is entirely optional. If you want to convert the document to a PDF and append no information during a workflow process, then no PDF converter templates are required.

NOTE: Only main workflow documents will be converted to PDF. Supporting documents remain in their native format.

If choosing to append workflow information to the end of main documents, a number of options are available for configuration. PDF encryption enables you to securely protect the content of your PDF file from unwanted viewers and against unwanted actions like printing, selecting text, etc. A PDF digital signature enables you to authenticate a document to establish that the sender of the document is who they say they are and the content of the document has not been tampered with.

If a document is converted to a PDF during the workflow process, a global option, “Convert2PdfApproveBothDocumentVersions”, in the web config file in C:\Program Files\FileHold Systems\Application Server\LibraryManager can be configured to allow the option of recording both the source document and the newly created PDF as approved. If this option is not enabled, the new created PDF document is the only document shown as approved. If it is enabled, the source document is also be marked as approved and both documents are linked to the signoff sheet and workflow history.

Configure the PDF converter settings

These settings are only required to be filled out if you are using PDF converter templates. If you don't want to append workflow information to the end of a document, then these settings can be ignored.

To set converter settings

  1. In the Administration Panel, go to Library Configuration > Settings > Workflow.
  2. In the PDF Converter settings area, set the following options:

Setting

Description

Choose the list of workflow merge templates

Select the public saved search template name for the PDF converter templates. See the End User Guide for more information on creating saved searches.  

Set the workflow merge template opening tag delimiter

Enter the opening tag delimiter for the PDF converter template. By default, this is {{ (curly brackets).

Set the workflow merge template closing tag delimiter

Enter the closing tag delimiter for the PDF converter template. By default, this is }} (curly brackets).

Set the workflow merge template tag field delimiter

Enter the field delimiter. By default, this is ; (semicolon);

  1. Click Update.

Setting the PDF Options in a Workflow Template

When creating a workflow template, the converter settings can be customized for each workflow template.

To set the PDF options

  1. Create or modify a workflow template and select the Convert main documents to PDF check box.
  2. Use the following table to fill out the following information:

Field

Default value

Description

Append page(s) from template

None

Select the workflow template name from the list. The list of converter templates come from the saved search defined in the workflow settings. See the System Administration Guide for more information on the workflow settings.

If this value is set to none in workflow settings, the template designer will not be able to choose a merge template. Regardless of the contents of the saved search definition, only DOCX files will appear in the list.

Digital signature

False

A PDF digital signature enables you to authenticate a document to establish that the sender of the document is who they say they are and the content of the document has not been tampered with.

If true, the document will be packaged in a digital signature envelope.

Digital signature certificate

First certificate in alphabetical order

The list of certificates as stored on the server in a predetermined certificate store. This field is only enabled if digital signature is true.

The specific certificate store is defined in "C2PDFCertificateStore" in the web.config file in C:\Program Files\FileHold Systems\Application Server\LibraryManager.

This field cannot be blank if digital signature is true.

Allow printing

True

Allows printing.

Allow high resolution printing

True

Allows high resolution printing.

Allow changing the document

False

Allows changing the document.

Allow content copying

True

Allows copying the content.

All content accessibility enabled

True

Allow accessibility software to use the document contents.

Allow document assembly

False

If this is disabled, inserting, deleting or rotating pages, or creating bookmarks and thumbnails is prohibited.

Permissions password

Automatically generated

Specifies the password for opening the encrypted PDF document without any access restrictions.

This field will be automatically generated if one or more of the permissions is false. The user can enter their own password to replace the automatically generated one.

Generated PDF documents will be encrypted if any of the following conditions are satisfied:

  • Permissions is different than All.
  • Permissions Password is not null or Empty.
  • Open Password is not null or Empty.

Both Permissions Password and Open Password are optional but with the following consequences:

  • If Permissions is different than All and Permissions Password is not specified, component will generate random Permissions Password.
  • Using Permissions Password, also known as owner password, without Open Password is not secure. It relies on PDF viewer software to respect specified restrictions, but it may choose not to do so.
  • Using Open Password, also known as user password, is potentially very secure. It or Permissions Password is required for decrypting and viewing the document.
  • When Open Password is specified, PDF viewer application will prompt for password to decrypt and present the document. If entered password is Open Password, document will be decrypted and presented with specified Permissions enforced. Otherwise, if entered password is Permissions Password, document will be decrypted and presented without any restrictions.

Open Password and Permissions Password cannot be equal, otherwise exception is thrown.

Open password

None

Specifies the password required for opening the encrypted PDF document.

See Permissions password rules for more information.

  1. Click OK.

Creating PDF converter templates

PDF converter templates are created in Microsoft Word and saved in the FileHold library as docx files.

The tags will be delimited by unique character sequences that can be globally reconfigured as needed. By default, the opening delimiter will be “{{“. The closing delimiter will be “}}”. Tags include multiple delimited fields. By default, the field delimiter will be a semicolon “;”.

Each tag will have the following format: {{<type>;<name>[;<format>[;<nullreplacement>]]}}. <type> is one of “md” or “sys”. For tags of type md, <name> is a metadata field name. Where tags are of type sys, <name> is one of the fields in the table below. <format> is standard dot net formatting codes for fields except signoff-sheet, which uses non-standard formatting codes listed below. <nullreplacement> is simply text that will be used in the event the field is not defined in the context where it is being used. For example, a metadata field tag where the metadata field does not exist in the document schema for the document being converted.

Name

Description

signoff-sheet

This tag is output as a simple table similar to the signoff sheet available in the FDA or web client, it also offers a vertical format table, and a limited information list format.

The horizontal and vertical formats will include the following document information: “Signer name”, “Approval date”, On behalf of”, “Document name”, and “Workflow name”.

There are three formats codes for each of the different signoff sheet formats and one modifier. The format codes and modifier must be specified according to the following pattern: <formatcode>[,<modifier>].

  • horizontal – similar to the standard signoff sheet displayed in the client application.
  • vertical – a vertically oriented version of the signoff sheet in the client application.
  • list – a list of approvers. Each item in the list includes the approver name, approver title from the contact information, and the approval date and time displayed in the regional format. Each approval is separated from the one before by a blank line. If the title field is blank, no title line is output.
  • all / – When this modifier is included, the signoff sheet should include all workflows for the document version.

The following is an example signoff sheet field with the horizontal format and showing all workflows.

{{signoff-sheet;horizontal,all}}

Shows the approvers in a list format along with titles and time of approval:

{{signoff-sheet;list}}

approval-date

The date the document was approved.

workflow-name

The name of the workflow. The workflow could have been manually named or automatically named through a naming pattern.

workflow-template

Name of the workflow template.

filehold-id

The internal document id.

document-version

User visible automatic document version number. Note that this is the version number of the source document. When the converted document is added, it will have a different version number.

version-control-no

The version control number.

document-control-no

The document control number.

workflow-initiator-name

The name of the user who initiated the workflow.

document-owner-name

The name of the user who is the owner of the document.

document-name The file name of the document.

Template Examples

The following PDF converter Word templates (.docx) can be downloaded and modified to suit your needs.