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Creating pdf files from layouts and emailing


Sanjay
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I have some print layouts in my fp5 files which are distributed all over my organization mailing them manually. I am looking forward to make this process electronic. I need that whenever the user clicks on a send email button on the layout, a pdf file should get created internally and an email using microsoft outlook should pop up infront of the user, with the pdf file newly created as an attachment to the email. The users should only be need to send that email.

We have adobe acrobat on all the workstations. However, is it possible to generate the pdf's from layouts in filemaker pro internally. We would not like to use any plugin for this purpose.

Waiting for a quick reply so that I can finish up this request asap. Thanks...

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Uhhh... I wasn't going to get into this one but since you needed it quick...

I'd suggest you make a button that runs a script to print to PDF and uses the Send Mail script step to send the PDF as an attachment. The print-to-PDF step would probably require user control... in Mac OS X, it's just a regular print but you choose SAVE AS PDF instead.. the script would then resume and compose the message and attach the PDF so all the user has to do is press SEND. BTW, the PDF probably needs to be called a generic name every time like temp.pdf so the script could find it easily.

--ST

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Thanks for your help. However, I tried using the print script step and checked the box which labels "print to file". Selected a pdf file and also tried giving a new filename with the extension .pdf. But when I try to open the file with acrobat reader, it gives me the following message:

Acrobat cout not open <filename.pdf> because it is either not a supported file type or because the file has been corrupted(for example: it was sent as an email attachment and wasn't correctly decoded).

Any help on this?

If it is not possible without any plugin then is it possible to print in any other format and then I can email the document as an attachment?

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Hey Steve and everyone,

I also found that if I go to the preview mode and then select copy (from the edit menu), open paint and paste the image as a gif image, I could then send the gif image created as a an attachment so that the users don't even need to have acrobat reader. But how can I do this copy and save in a GIF file automatically with the help of scriptmaker. Any solution to this?

My first preference would always be using the pdf format, if not possible then suggest if you have any other idea.

The users whom I will receive this attachment only need to view this in read only mode so we don't have to worry about how they will edit the document.

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Hi, Sanjay! Hmm... if you're using Mac OS X, I'm not sure why you'd have trouble making the PDF since the PDF-creation ability is built in to the OS and shows up as a SAVE AS PDF... button right on the print info screen. If you're using Windows, you may need to get a copy of the full version of Acrobat before being able to create a PDF... only Reader is a free download. Now, there's a difference between a PostScript file .PS, an Encapsulated PostScript file .EPS, and an Acrobat Portable Document Format file .PDF... maybe it's writing to file in the wrong format? Can you make PDF's from other applications?

You can send .ps or .eps to folks if you want, but they may not know how to print them properly. Most folks just double-click on something and press print and if that doesn't work, they give up and say "I can't print it." I'd recommend sticking w/pdf if you can get that going.

I don't know of a way to export graphics from FileMaker and that's probably a low-res copy/paste, anyway, so I wouldn't go that route even if you train your folks to do exactly what you did manually... up to you, though.

--ST

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Thanks Steve. I am working on Windows and most of the users are using 95/98.

I have adobe acrobat reader right now on my machine.

I didn't understand about the PS, EPS. Can you write somemore about it. If it does the above work then I can make all the necessary arrangements to train my users.

I can install the full version but it would be very difficult to distribute the full version of acrobat to all the users since every user will have the right to print and distribute the print layout in pdf format to all the users through out the organization.

Will installing the fullversion of the acrobat on our server can allow all the users to create pdf file?

What do you recommend now? I tried searching into google and various user groups but haven't received an answer. If you could give it some more time to get a solution, it would be really helpful for me.

Thanks..

-Sanjay

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Hi, Sanjay! Nah.. don't know what you can do without Acrobat. About .ps, .eps, and .pdf, though...

When you tell your computer to print, you sit there and wait while it processes the print job, spools to your hard drive, and then passes the processed job to the printer for output (or the printer does the work). Either way, you can have your computer process the print job and save the results as a PostScript file. The .ps file no longer needs the fonts (is spooled), original document, or the application anymore. You can give a PostScript file directly to the printer for output for a later time. The .ps file can no longer be modified since it's just an output file, but in theory you could give people this file and they could just send it to their printers for processing without needing the app/fonts you used.

An Encapsulated PostScript file is similar but designed for re-use in other documents. Typically, a company logo or similar graphic would be in EPS format and would be used over and over again for all kinds of things. An EPS file with text converted to outlines or fonts spooled in would eliminate the need for every user of the logo to have the fonts the logo requires. True EPS files are also fully scalable, unlike scans or typical non-vector graphics like photos which get blocky when you stretch them larger, and EPS will print perfectly smooth every time up to the printer's resolution.

I think of a PDF as a pre-processed document w/extras and some editiability retained. Once created, you no longer need the original application or fonts (if spooled) but you can still do simple edits like fixing a one-letter typo or some such. You can also add more to the document that the original did not have, such as fill-in fields, pop-ups, passwords, and web-related functionality. You need Acrobat (or equivalent) to make them, though, and Reader (or equivalent) to read them. Reader is available for free download but Acrobat has to purchased. Apple made a deal or something and all Mac OS X computers have the ability to create PDFs as easily as printing and they can read PDFs in a free utility called Preview. Mac users still need Acrobat for professional level control of PDF creation jobs, but the OS PDFs are good enough for most consumer uses.

I think most PostScript printers come with utilties that let users send PostScript (.ps) files to the printer for output. I haven't done it but I think Macs can drag/drop .ps files on printer icons and have them automatically print... for Windows, try drag/drop but if doesn't work, there's probably a utility that came with the printer that will do it.

I probabably would just recommend going w/PDF, though. That's why it was developed and why it is so popular. I think the Adobe Acrobat Distiller (which converts .ps files into .pdf files) is available for free download if you don't want to buy Acrobat. You can even create a "watched" folder in which all you have to do is drop a .PS file into the folder and Distiller will auto-create a PDF from it. It's been a while since I've had to work with .PS files, though, so I'm not sure Adobe still gives away Distiller. We just use Acrobat or the Mac OS X SAVE AS .PDF printing option, now.

Good luck!

--ST

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Thanks Steve,

I am trying to print the .ps file in windows but when I do a dragdrop with the printer, it asks me to associate a program first with the .ps file. I tried opening it with word, acrobat, notepad but it didn't work.

Hey Steve, sorry to take a lot of time of yours but is there any way we can print this Filemaker Pro layout in any other format which I can email. Just try to give it a thought for not more than five minutes. If the answer is no then after trying my best to come up with an alternative, I will communicate the same issues to the users.Thanks for your help,

I have one more question related to my application. It would be really helpful it I can get an answer. I am using one of the proprietory ODBC driver to access DB2 data located in a server at a remote location. I am developing this application on my local machine and have installed the driver on my machine. But need to know that when I will install this on production, then do I need to install this ODBC driver in all the user workstations? Or installing it on the server and creating a system DSN would solve the problem?

Thanks for your help,

--Sanjay

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Hi Steve and everyone,

I tried using all types of experiments but nothing seems working. However does some one know

Is it possible to export a FileMaker Pro record as HTML or some other type of file so I could e-mail that record with all the formatting as if I printed the form from FileMaker Pro?

Is there any way using 'send mail' that I can e-mail the current record. What I particularly like to be able to do is e-mail the layout that I am looking at in browse mode on the screen.

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Hi Sanjay,

There is a piece of freeware out there called CutePDF. It will create pdf files for you for free. (they are sort of low-end pdfs -- you can't embed links or search the text, but you get what you pay for.)

Here's the link:

http://www.acrosoftware.com/Products/CutePDF/writer.asp

You could just print what you want to the CutePDF print emmulator and send the resulting file. I've not tried this directly from FM, but its worth taking a look at.

As for your HTML question, I suppose you could create a calc field that takes the contents of what you want to mail, and concatenates this with the necessary html code, though this could cross your eyes pretty quickly as you try to create the formula.

Good luck,

Dan

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Thanks Dan,

I will check the cutepdf tool. I was trying to not to use any of the external application since we have 400 workstations and we donot want to upgrade each of them individualy. It seems that there is no other way. The Acrobat Distiller suggested by Steve above is also a good solutions but we are not sure how to make it automatic from within filemaker pro. I will try again with cutepdf.

Thanks,

--Sanjay

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  • 5 weeks later...
  • Newbies

One little problem I have recently found is this: I have a database that saves a PDF (on a mac) and then emails it out. However this fails when you have multiple users.

This is because the print script step remembers the save location of the PDF on the machine you wrote the script on.

Luckily I was given some advice to save the file into a directory that is the same for all machines - such as MacintoshHD:Users:Shared

I still haven't finished this change to say whether it works but it seems like it will.

Roland

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  • 2 months later...

Hi Everyone,

I tried using Acrobat Writer for converting Filemaker Pro layouts to pdf file by printing and selecting PDF writer in the printer selection drop down. However, there is one thing which is still now solved. Since we have 400 users of this application, each of them needs this feature to print to a pdf file from their own workstation. So, I am saving it inside the Filemaker 5 directory under C:Program Files. But this solution might now work if Filemaker is installed on a different drive. How can I resolve it?

This needs a solution because after printing, the users has to send an email to all the users with pdf file as an attachment(using Send Email script step).

Also while printing the layout as a pdf file, each time it asks to name the file before saving. If I select the same file name than it asks for the replace confirmation. Is there any way that I can skip this step and the new pdf file should be replaced everytime since I don't want to keep copies of pdf on the hard drive.

How can we delete a file on the harddrive from within Filemaker Pro.

Waiting for your reply & help.

Thanks,

--Sanjay

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Hello, Sanjay! Thank you for the personal invitation to participate in this thread but I have little concrete experience with this kind of situation... here are some more Q's that may help you or another user get an answer, though...

* Why would another drive cause problems? Is it because of the path to file? If so, maybe you could save the path in a FileMaker field appropriate to the user(s).

* For replacing, is there a Perform Witout Dialog option? or maybe just use different filenames (incremental) and then have some OS script delete them all periodically?

* Delete a file from FM? I don't think you can but have never looked into it.

And yes, I am still here on FMFORUMS but I work at a University and this is the 1st week of our fall quarter so I am extremely busy and only log in to FMFORUMS in my spare time or when I am searching for help or information myself. I read and contribute to posts when appropriate and where I think I can help... usually because I have already gone through it myself. The other folks at FMFORUMS have been very kind and generous with their time and expertise for the benefit of us all.

Thanks, everyone!

--ST

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Hi Steve and hello to everyone,

Its good to hear from you after a long time. Thanks for your suggestions. With respect to your questions, kindly see my answers below:

* Why would another drive cause problems? Is it because of the path to file? If so, maybe you could save the path in a FileMaker field appropriate to the user(s).

I will try this one.

* For replacing, is there a Perform Witout Dialog option? or maybe just use different filenames (incremental) and then have some OS script delete them all periodically?

Sanjay: For the Print script step, there is a perform without dialog check box but it works when we are printing a document from a printer. Since I have selected the pdf writer from the drop down, I think the control then passes to the acrobat writer which prompts to give a file name to create a new file or for a confirmation to replace an existing file.

Thnx I will update you soon with my investigation on the first solution.

--Sanjay

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