OS/400 Edition
Volume 3, Number 5 -- February 4, 2003

Help/Systems Embraces the PDF with New Conversion Utility

by Alex Woodie

Converting iSeries spool files that contain embedded graphics, barcodes, or logos into a commonly used format like Adobe PDF has been nearly impossible, says Help/Systems, developer of the Robot suite of OS/400 systems management software. Last week, the Minnetonka, Minnesota, company launched a new product called Robot/TRANSFORM that attacks this problem. The new Robot/TRANSFORM utility converts iSeries spool files and IFS files to the ubiquitous PDF format, while maintaining the integrity of the graphics.


Companies that have altered their native iSeries output with electronic forms packages often do so to include their particular company logos or other specialized graphics, and to reduce the use of pre-printed forms. Many of these electronic forms packages today provide output that supports PDFs, in addition to more robust--but also less widely used--data formats and print data streams such as Hewlett-Packard's Printer Control Language (PCL) and IBM's Advanced Function Printing (AFP). At the same time, some of these forms packages don't provide support for PDF, which is fast becoming the de facto international standard for customer-facing documents, in large part because the PDF viewing software, Acrobat Reader, is free and easily attainable.

Help/Systems built Robot/TRANSFORM to provide that link to PDF for users whose electronic forms packages don't support PDF. Robot/TRANSFORM allows users to convert their ASCI, PCL, or AFP output into a PDF document without altering the graphics, barcodes, or labels. The resulting PDFs are also text-based, which means they're searchable.

Help/Systems gives Robot/TRANSFORM users three ways to initiate a file transformation. First, users can convert one file manually, as they need to. Alternatively, users can create a job that automatically converts certain files to PDFs as they're created. Last, Robot/TRANSFORM comes with commands that let the users automate the transformation.

Other Robot/TRANSFORM features include several name-template options that allow users to automatically generate unique file names for each PDF, as it's created. The utility contains distribution facilities, including the capability to distribute converted files to custom distribution lists. The software also lets users place converted files in the IFS, and to post files to an intranet or to the Internet.

As is typically the case with Help/Systems software, Robot/TRANSFORM has a certain affinity for other members of Help/Systems' 15-member Robot suite. Specifically, Robot/SCHEDULE, the company's batch and job scheduling utility, can be used with Robot/TRANSFORM to manage output queue monitoring, transformation, and distribution functions. Robot/ALERT, a pager and e-mail messaging system, can be integrated with Robot/TRANSFORM to automatically alert users and to send them files. The software will also work with Robot/REPORTS, a report distribution, archiving, and viewing package, to automatically process report output.

Robot/TRANSFORM is available now. For more information, visit Help/Systems' Web site at

Sponsored By

CMS Manufacturing Systems – Function, Value, Reliability

CMS Manufacturing Systems offers a comprehensive, Internet-enabled ERP/Supply Chain Management solution, CMS/400 v5.0, for small and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises in tight supply chain relationships, typical of a wide range of industries, from automotive to consumer goods.

CMS/400's fully integrated suite of modules is sold as a single comprehensive solution, without tier or user-based pricing. And CMS staff provides all post-sales support, including, implementation, training and ongoing education and support. CMS has installations in over 2,500 plants worldwide.

CMS/400's functionality includes integrated EDI/Release Accounting, CRM, Real-Time Shop-Floor Reporting, Production Analysis Tool-Set, Event Monitor, Materials and Logistics Management, APS, Financial Management, MPE, Tooling and Maintenance Integration and is fully Internet enabled with the CMS Easy e-Business Suite.

This enhanced e-business capability completes the picture, making CMS the one-stop, single-source, turnkey solution provider for small and midrange enterprises with ERP/Supply Chain Management system needs.

And once a new customer has purchased CMS/400, CMS commits its planning, implementation and training resources to helping management and staff fully realize CMS/400's capabilities throughout the enterprise.

To learn more about CMS/400, and to register for a no-obligation test-drive, go to or, or call 888-426-7400.


ProData Computer Svcs
Aldon Computer Group
Esker Software
CMS Manufacturing Systems
S4i Systems


PKWARE Refreshes Entire PKZIP Line with 256-bit AES Encryption

Chicago Bank Finds High Availability a Good Investment in Reputation

Maximum Availability Rolls Out More Support for OS/400 Objects

inFORM Decisions Updates Software for Fighting Check Fraud

Help/Systems Embraces the PDF with New Conversion Utility

News Briefs and Product Shorts

Alex Woodie

Managing Editor
Shannon Pastore

Contributing Editors:
Dan Burger
Joe Hertvik
Shannon O'Donnell
Timothy Prickett Morgan

Publisher and
Advertising Director:

Jenny Thomas

Advertising Sales Representative
Kim Reed

Contact the Editors
Do you have a gripe, inside dope or an opinion?
Email the editors:

Copyright © 1996-2008 Guild Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.