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CopiaFacts Reference

Navigation: Release Notes > New Version 8.3 Features

New Document Converter Features

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Introduction

This topic summarizes the document conversion enhancements in CopiaFacts 8.3, and the changes to how some commands operate.

We have tried to ensure that most existing users will not need to make any command changes when upgrading to CopiaFacts 8.3, but you may need to be aware of the changes in the way that commands are processed.

The principal CopiaFacts commands that are involved in the changes are:

$convert_types To specify the document types that CopiaFacts is to convert automatically.
$convert_options To specify the conversion methods to be used.
$image_options A new command to control the rendering of documents by the CopiaFacts built-in converters.

CopiaFacts still supports conversion of documents in the following formats: DOC(X), XLS(X), XLSM, PPT(X), PDF, PS, HTML, and Image (PNG, JPG, GIF) as well as TIF files with contents which are not already 'faxable'.  Other formats may be supported in future builds.

CopiaFacts Components Required for Conversions

To convert Microsoft Office documents you need to have the external operations handler (FFEXTERN) installed on one or more CopiaFacts nodes as a Document Converter.

You also need the Document Converter if you run broadcasting operations which require a single document to be pre-converted for broadcasting, or if you regularly need to transmit documents with dozens of pages and so prefer to spread the processing load to multiple machines. However if your COPIAFACTS engine node or nodes are not heavily loaded and you only need to convert typical PDF, HTML and Image documents for faxing, a Document Converter is no longer required.

The CopiaFacts Document Converter print drivers are no longer required, but are still provided for most operating systems and can optionally continue to be used.  The Document Converters when using print drivers support Microsoft Office documents, PDF documents specified for processing by Adobe reader or Acrobat Pro, and HTML documents specified for processing by Internet Explorer.

Other Software Required for Conversions

Some document formats require other software installed which will be automated from the CopiaFacts Document Converter to perform the conversion.  This needs to be installed on each node which is running Document Converter (FFEXTERN).

To Convert Microsoft Office documents you must install the corresponding components from either Microsoft Office or LibreOffice.

To convert PDF files, you may optionally install either Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat Pro.  By default the CopiaFacts built-in PDF converter in the Document Converter now uses PDFium, the open-source PDF converter used by Google for Chrome (it is not necessary to install the Chrome browser for this purpose).

Changes to the $convert_types Command

The $convert_types configuration command now only specifies which document types are sent to the Document Converter for preprocessing.  Before 8.3, the keywords on this command also specified what document types were automatically preprocessed by the Document Converter.  Now, if any document types are specified on this command, the Document Converter will process all supported types.  This small change will probably not affect any existing users, but it allows the command to be used to select whether documents are converted on-the-fly, immediately before faxing, in the COPIAFACTS engine.

There is also a small optional change to the syntax of the command.  If the first parameter not a valid keyword for the command, it is taken to be a CopiaFacts nodename or Windows Machine name and the command will apply only to the matching COPIAFACTS node.  An asterisk may also be used to signify all nodes, and this is the default if the first keyword is a valid document keyword, as will apply for commands used in earlier releases.  See the $convert_types command topic for details.

These changes allow users to specify that PDF, HTML or Image documents are to be converted in the COPIAFACTS engine instead of being sent via PREPROC for conversion in a Document Converter.  This is achieved by omitting the keywords PDF, HTML, PNG, GIF or JPG from the $convert_types, either globally or for a specific node.

Finally, we have added keywords to $convert_options to override the $convert_types settings for PDF, HTML and PNG files.  This allows Job Administration users to have complete control of conversion methods at a global, owner, jobtype or job instance level.

Changes to the $convert_options Command

The $convert_options USR/UJP/FS command continues to specify the method of document conversion.  There are some changes to the option letters in build 8.3, but existing users who make no changes will find that conversions continue to be processed.

Convert Options NoIE (N), InterPDF (Y) and QPDF (Q) are now the default options, and implement the recommended conversion methods. The keywords and option letters continue to be accepted, but there only function is to disable environment options I, P, A (see below) for an insdividual conversion.

To retain the use of Internet Explorer and the Document Converter print driver for PDF conversions, you would need to add option IE (I).

To retain the use of the Document Converter print driver for Microsoft Office conversions, you would need to add option Print (P).

To retain the use of Adobe Reader (or Acrobat Pro if installed) for PDF conversions, you would need to add option Adobe (A).

These three option letters (I, P, A) can be added to a $environment variable CVTOPTS where they will have global effect, unless overridden for a specific conversion by NoIE (N), InterPDF (Y) and QPDF (Q) respectively. For Job Administration users, where convert options can be deleted as well as added, the options can be set globally in SYSTEM.UJP and then deleted when necessary.

New keywords DCPDF, DCHTML and DCIMAGE force conversion via the Document Converter even when the corresponding keyword has been omitted from $convert_types.  This gives the Job Administration environment control of whether these conversions are done in the COPIAFACTS engine or a Document Converter.

A new keyword ImgN allows the selection of one of ten predefined sets of $image_options keywords (see below).  This allows sets of options to be defined for specific document types.

The keyword AdobeSETP has been changed to PDFSETP to avoid confusion with the new Adobe keyword. The code letter (K) remains the same.

The keyword TIFacrobat has been removed and the code letter (A) is now used for the Adobe keyword.

The keyword HTMLword has been removed.

The New $image_options Command

The $image_options configuration commands replace the QPDF_OPTIONS variable. These options affect the built-in converters only and specify options which affect the size, scaling and appearance of the output TIF file.

Up to ten sets of options can be pre-defined (one as a default), and selected using a $convert_options keyword (see above).  Full details of all the keywords can be found in the Image Rendering Options topic.

A new image options editor is provided in the FFVIEWER program.  This allows you to set and adjust each option and then reconvert a document to see the effect immediately.  The editor can also save sets of options to the $image_options commands in FAXFACTS.CFG.

There is a new IMAGE_OPTIONS variable which can override the $image_options commands.  And QPDF_OPTIONS is currently a synonym for this, so this variable can continue to be used by existing users.

There are some minor changes to the keywords, but in most cases no changes will be necessary.  There is also a new keyword, DARKn, which solves the problem of some documents using very dark gray instead of black for example in text headings which can become white-speckled on conversion to fax format.  Finally, there is a new PAGESIZE keyword which allows the 'converter-page' variables to return to their original purpose as overrides for the Document Converter print drivers.

Summary

CopiaFacts 8.3 brings significant enhancements to the process of preparing documents for faxing. Configuration for new users is greatly simplified. Existing and new users who require fine control over document conversion have better tools to achieve this.  But upgrading should not break any existing conversion operations and will require only minor changes for sites where it is essential to maintain exactly the same workflow.