FormSprint Gets a New PDF Archive
December 7, 2004 Alex Woodie
Integrated Custom Software will begin shipping a new document archive for its FormSprint suite of OS/400 document management software early next year. As an integrated component of FormSprint, the archive will allow users to search for a document housed in an OS/400 database, and then pull it up on a PC as PDF file. From there, printing, e-mailing, or faxing the document is just a few button clicks away.
Archiving is one of the hottest areas in document management these days. Even without new federal regulations dictating how companies should store their documents, electronic document storage needs would be growing at a brisk pace. Throw in compliance issues affecting many major industries, and the need for structured electronic storage of business documents becomes even more palpable.
FormSprint’s new document archive will allow users, such as customer service representatives, to conduct searches and to retrieve matching records in a matter of a second. From Client Access, or an equivalent 5250 emulator, users first enter their search criteria, such as an invoice date or a customer’s name. The result of this search is then displayed on a green screen, and the user can scroll through the result pages to find the right record. By pressing F2, the user can open the document as a PDF document in Adobe‘s free PDF viewer.
Every archive needs an index, and the indexing component of the new FormSprint archive will be automated, Integrated Custom Software says. FormSprint will use spool file information to automatically generate an index of the documents loaded into the archive. So, for example, the archive will be automatically generated according to date, customer number, or the amount of an invoice. To a user, the indexing process will appear no different from printing a form, the company says.
There are trade-offs in the way that users choose to store their documents. While FormSprint’s archive opens documents in PDF format, it can store them either in PCL or PDF and PCL–the datastream it uses to send jobs to the printer. Storing them in both PDF and PCL formats occupies about twice as much storage as using just PCL, but the documents open faster. Storing them in PCL only requires the software to first transform the PCL to PDF format, which means it opens a little slower but doesn’t occupy as much storage.
Connecticut-based Integrated Custom Software is the original developer of FormSprint, which is used by more than 1,000 companies across a variety of ERP systems, including World, MAPICS, BPCS, and Infinium. At its most basic level, FormSprint enables companies to go from using expensive and inflexible preprinted forms and line printers to using software-based form overlays, blank paper stock, and any PCL-enabled laser printer. Users can develop their own form overlays for use with FormSprint, and there are separate modules for printing MICR checks, tax forms, and barcodes.
FormSprint can also distribute the documents electronically, via e-mail and by fax, through integration with Computer Keyes software. Integrated Custom Software is a reseller for the Woodway, Washington, company’s OS/400-based e-mail and fax software, called KeyesMail and KeyesFax. Apart from its low price, what sets FormSprint apart is its flexibility to generate large batches of documents that involve many different variables and complex rules, the company and FormSprint users say.
The new archive will be available in January 2005. There will be no additional charge for the archive, the company says. Prices for the FormSprint package begin around $10,000. For more information, go to www.formsprint.com.