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External File open and populate


rcass
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So I'm new to FileMake also although my background is IT and apps development

I have a need and I am looking at FM. If I can create a simple db/app for this, I'll purchase, dive into FM and start using for many other requirements.

I have a medical practice. When I get a remote client or patient, I need to send them a consent form and give them a unique client number.

I have created a Db that collects name, date, birthdate and creates and assigns an auto generated one time number for this contact.

What I would like to do now is

1) Open a template either Word or PDF

2) populate that template with Name, Birthdate and unique generated number (above)

3) Create an Email ..... Hi how are you..... please sign and return the attached....

4) attach the file just created from the template (so I guess I'll need to save the template in and different name)

5) Send the email with template

6) Store/Save the Name, BD, client number.....

So.... can this be done and if so..... any hints on the work with the template/population/email parts

Thanks

Rick

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It would be very easy to generate the PDF directly from Filemaker and attach it to a e-mail. Not sure what step 6) means.

#6 is just store the data that was just entered....... sorta redundant.

Can the PDF fields be populated with the data just entered into FM (name, date, number....)

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What kind of PDF you have in mind? Filemaker can generate a PDF file same way as it can print: you create a layout that displays your data (and any other element you need, e.g. logo, static text, etc.) and that what's you'll see in the PDF. There are no "fields" in this document. If you mean a PDF form where users can fill out their own data, that's another thing - and not all easy to accomplish.

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What kind of PDF you have in mind? Filemaker can generate a PDF file same way as it can print: you create a layout that displays your data (and any other element you need, e.g. logo, static text, etc.) and that what's you'll see in the PDF. There are no "fields" in this document. If you mean a PDF form where users can fill out their own data, that's another thing - and not all easy to accomplish.

the later..... we have the PDF already created. Outside of FM, we open it, put in the new user name, birthdate and client number.... then we save it as a new file

We then email this file to the patient and they sign it and either fax it or scan/email it back

What I would like to do is use FM to begin the entire process.... Enter the patient name and other relevant info and generate the number (a simple last number + 1). This also creates and single location for historical data and data lookup

then from FM also, launch the PDF form (template) and have it auto populate with the data entered and generated.

Then Save the template with unique name (like file number and lastname) and email it

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the later..... we have the PDF already created. Outside of FM, we open it, put in the new user name, birthdate and client number.... then we save it as a new file

That's just retaining a lot of legacy complexity that misses the point of workflow automation.

Just create the PDF entirely using FileMaker. There is no need for the other apps.

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That's just retaining a lot of legacy complexity that misses the point of workflow automation.

Just create the PDF entirely using FileMaker. There is no need for the other apps.

OK.... how does one do that? Create the PDF from within FileMaker?

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Manually, it's as simple as selecting File > Save/Send Records As > PDF… from the menu. But in this case, you would want to script the process, so that the file is automatically named with the patient's ID, and e-mailed to the patient's email address.

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I think rcass actually means how to create the PDF in filemaker as a layout, so it looks like his PDF... I curiously was having exactly the same problem and came up with this solution, it works perfectly as it should, being actually just a layout more...

1. took the PDF and filled in any data that is constant across all (my name, a couple boxes marked), saved it as TemplateForm.pdf

2. used Preview to save as .jpg

3. select all, copy the contents of the .jpg (not the file it self, otherwise the next step gives text of filepath!)

4. create a new blank layout in Filemaker, right click and paste the jpg

5. its too big, select and drag to right size

6. now just add the fields to the layout, being careful to line up the fields (and their font and size) to how they should normally look. I obviously don't use labels for the fields, and make sure they are transparent too (my Form has lines drawn on it!)

7. to export, as in your tables you have already the data, it should already be there each time you need it, just do the step comment mentioned above ;-)

FWIW, my fields where terribly uncooperative at lining up where I wanted them, but as always in mac, there's another way, and trying various modifier keys whilst dragging fields discovered that CMD (Apple key) enabled pixel sized movements!

this is a nice trick that i will surely use in the future too! no more copying and pasting from one side to the other! just create your own one that looks the same - if it is going to be printed, it makes NO difference where it comes from! :-)

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But in this case, you would want to script the process, so that the file is automatically named with the patient's ID, and e-mailed to the patient's email address.

I could actually use some help for this one! I have found how to export the PDF and create an email with attachment, but the address I have not been able to get in there automatically. inversely, i can send an email to someone and fill it all OK, but the attach file button gives a route for only one specific file?? obviously each file created with the serial ID filename is different? how can i add the correct file to the email?

thanks

Andy

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obviously each file created with the serial ID filename is different? how can i add the correct file to the email?

See if this helps:

http://fmforums.com/forum/topic/77592-email-multiple-documents-to-multiple-recipients/page__pid__363872#entry363872

create a new blank layout in Filemaker, right click and paste the jpg

I don't think that's a good method, because the resolution of the .jpg file is limited (or else the file must be huge). It's much better to use the text of the original document, and do some re-formatting in the layout.

BTW, in OS X you can insert a PDF directly onto the layout. This will remain a vector (resolution-independent) image, but it won't work when the file is opened in Windows (same with WMF in the opposite direction).

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See if this helps:

http://fmforums.com/forum/topic/77592-email-multiple-documents-to-multiple-recipients/page__pid__363872#entry363872

I don't think that's a good method, because the resolution of the .jpg file is limited (or else the file must be huge). It's much better to use the text of the original document, and do some re-formatting in the layout.

BTW, in OS X you can insert a PDF directly onto the layout. This will remain a vector (resolution-independent) image, but it won't work when the file is opened in Windows (same with WMF in the opposite direction).

I'll check that out Monday... it's late here and now

Could be true YMMV as per the PDF... mine saved with default settings to 265Kb, acceptable for me, and ALOT quicker...

Cool! i tried that first with the saved TemplateForm.pdf, but couldn't figure out how to save the contents and paste as i could with the .jpg... when cmd-a pressed nothing seemed to be selected...?!

and by the way... how do you respond to various quotes as you did above? when i insert text between yours in the reply box, it stays in the quote except the last one :-/

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See if this helps:

http://fmforums.com/forum/topic/77592-email-multiple-documents-to-multiple-recipients/page__pid__363872#entry363872

Checked out your link,.. I hadn't realized you can use a variable in that file route field (still new to working files in FM)! Thanks for the clarification, works like a charm now.

Andy

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I think rcass actually means how to create the PDF in filemaker as a layout, so it looks like his PDF... I curiously was having exactly the same problem and came up with this solution, it works perfectly as it should, being actually just a layout more...

1. took the PDF and filled in any data that is constant across all (my name, a couple boxes marked), saved it as TemplateForm.pdf

2. used Preview to save as .jpg

3. select all, copy the contents of the .jpg (not the file it self, otherwise the next step gives text of filepath!)

4. create a new blank layout in Filemaker, right click and paste the jpg

5. its too big, select and drag to right size

6. now just add the fields to the layout, being careful to line up the fields (and their font and size) to how they should normally look. I obviously don't use labels for the fields, and make sure they are transparent too (my Form has lines drawn on it!)

7. to export, as in your tables you have already the data, it should already be there each time you need it, just do the step comment mentioned above ;-)

FWIW, my fields where terribly uncooperative at lining up where I wanted them, but as always in mac, there's another way, and trying various modifier keys whilst dragging fields discovered that CMD (Apple key) enabled pixel sized movements!

this is a nice trick that i will surely use in the future too! no more copying and pasting from one side to the other! just create your own one that looks the same - if it is going to be printed, it makes NO difference where it comes from! :-)

I like it Andymid.... thanks

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Could be true YMMV as per the PDF... mine saved with default settings to 265Kb, acceptable for me, and ALOT quicker...

I'm afraid you're missing my point. Set the window's zoom level to 400% and inspect your pasted .jpg picture. Keep in mind that printing has a much higher resolution than screen, so all those jaggies will affect the quality of the printout.

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I'm afraid you're missing my point. Set the window's zoom level to 400% and inspect your pasted .jpg picture. Keep in mind that printing has a much higher resolution than screen, so all those jaggies will affect the quality of the printout.

that is true, but I still haven't found out how to use the PDF as a backdrop... my case also includes then scanning the printed (and signed) form and required converting to pdf for web upload as small as possible - that makes the scan always come out pretty poor quality anyway (but legible), so I don't anticipate any problems... my case doesn't matter too much the final quality, but I imagine that's not the norm!

any clues to using to PDF directly are appreciated ;-)

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any clues to using to PDF directly are appreciated

As I said above: in Layout mode, select Insert > Picture… and choose the PDF document (do NOT select 'Store only a reference ...'). Format the inserted object to 'Crop to frame'. OS X only.

If the document is scanned, then using PDF is pointless - convert the scan to .png or .gif (not .jpg) and insert it to the layout (or to a container field) in the same way (do not paste directly).

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As I said above: in Layout mode, select Insert > Picture… and choose the PDF document (do NOT select 'Store only a reference ...'). Format the inserted object to 'Crop to frame'. OS X only.

If the document is scanned, then using PDF is pointless - convert the scan to .png or .gif (not .jpg) and insert it to the layout (or to a container field) in the same way (do not paste directly).

I will try as suggested - what difference is there from just pasting?

And the PDF would be useful; workflow is: export PDF filled from data, send via email to client, he prints, signs and scans it, returns, we reduce if need be and web upload

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what difference is there from just pasting?

Short version: Filemaker re-compresses a pasted image, thus increasing the loss of quality already inherent in the original compression. OTOH, a file is inserted as is.

workflow is: export PDF filled from data, send via email to client, he prints, signs and scans it, returns

When your client scans the printout, there is no advantage to using PDF as the file format. But I guess at this point print quality is no longer a concern.

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Short version: Filemaker re-compresses a pasted image, thus increasing the loss of quality already inherent in the original compression. OTOH, a file is inserted as is.

Cool... good to know this stuff when one is learning, that way the next time I need to do something similar, from the first moment it will be as efficient as possible... Thanks Comment!

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