The Basic Formate Components
Configuration - This is the development tool
used to program the Formate Server. It can
sit on the same machine as the Formate Server software but
normally is located on one or more PCs used for development.
It provides a means to create and edit "Form Type" configuration
files. Each Form Type represents one particular type of form
or incoming data file, for example a sales order.
Its configuration file contains
the layout of the form (e.g. where the customer address goes)
and details of how to interpret the data that will be coming
in from print files, XML, Excel workbooks, or whatever data
source is in use.
The configuration is generally set up for all Form Types
when Formate is first installed, and apart from an occasional change if the
requirements alter, there may be no need to use the Formate Configuration
program after that.
Server - This is the engine that does all the hard
work in the background. Once the Formate Server has been given
a data file, it automatically performs the required data manipulation.
This program is normally left running all the time, and monitors
the contents of one or more folders or virtual printers. When
a file appears in one of the monitored folders or is printed
to the virtual printer, the program checks to see if it meets
certain criteria, then loads the file, processes it according
to the rules and designs you saved in a Form Type, and typically prints the resulting
output. Once it has been set up, the program effectively runs
itself, with user interaction limited to checking the event
log from time to time, to see if any error messages might
Although it's called the "server" program, it doesn't have
to run on a server machine because it will also work under
any of several workstation operating systems (e.g. Windows
2000 workstation or XP workstation). However, bearing in mind that it needs to be left
running, it is usually most effective to install it on a server
(Windows NT/2000/Server 2003) where it won't be subject to interruptions
such as a user switching the machine off at the end of the
working day. It can be run either as a normal program or as
a Windows service (which means it starts automatically when the
machine boots up, then runs silently and invisbly in the background).
Viewer - Allows users to view and optionally reprint
the documents created by Formate.
set up Formate to save various information from the printout
as part of the printout list it maintains. For example, it
could read a sales order number from the first page and include
that in the database of printouts, which would allow users
to search for a given printout by its order number. Multiple
pieces of information can be held for each Form Type, to allow
users a choice of criteria. The viewer program provides the
means for the user to make these searches using the available
Additional modules are available for Formate, to provide enhanced functionality.
Alchemy Module - Provides additional facilities when documents are
being stored into an Alchemy document management system. For example it includes
much finer control and simpler automation of the process of submitting documents
to Alchemy than you would have by simply using PDFs and metadata. Formate can also
watch a given folder in the Alchemy database and automatically notify users when
a new document arrives, even if the document wasn't placed there by Formate.
AS/400 Spooler Module - Extracts print files from
the spool queue on an AS/400 and feeds them into Formate Server.
Barcode module - enables the creation of 20
bar-code symbologies, which are listed below. The most common uses for each are shown in brackets, followed
by the characters that can be included:
| ||Codabar (libraries, blood banks and parcels) 0-9 A-D - . $ / +
| ||Code 11 (general numeric codes) 0-9
| ||Code 128 (shipping cartons, serial publications) Character
set A � uppercase characters, punctuation, numbers. Character
set B � all ASCII codes from 32 to 126. Character set
C � numbers.
| ||Code 39 (various barcoding labels such as name badges, inventory
and industrial applications) 0-9 A-Z - . $ / + % SPACE
| ||Code 39 Extended (various barcoding labels such as name badges,
inventory and industrial applications) The entire standard
ASCII character set
| ||Code 93 (similar use to code 39, but higher density) 0-9 A-Z - . $ / + % SPACE
| ||DataMatrix (a 2D code used for text, numbers, and binary data) All byte values
| ||EAN-13 (items for sale worldwide) 0-9
| ||EAN-8 (items for sale worldwide) 0-9
| ||Industrial 2 of 5 (an older barcode for industrial use) 0-9
| ||Interleaved 2 of 5 (shipping cartons) 0-9
| ||Matrix 25 (flight tickets) 0-9
| ||MaxiCode (a 2D code used by United Parcel Service for addressing and sorting packages) Addressing/sorting data including full addresses
| ||MSI (libraries and retail applications, designed by Plessey) 0-9
| ||PDF417 (a general purpose 2D code, including FedEx package tracking) All byte values
| ||Planet (US Postal Service � mail tracking) 0-9
| ||Postnet (US Postal Service - zipcodes) 0-9
| ||UCC/EAN-128 (shipping cartons) Character set A � uppercase
characters, punctuation, numbers. Character set B � all
ASCII codes from 32 to 126. Character set C � numbers.
| ||UPC-A (items for sale in the USA and Canada) 0-9
| ||UPC-E (items for sale in the USA and Canada) 0-9|
Batch Printing - Allows you to print documents that were created either
by Formate or by other applications outside of Formate. For example, you might have a set
of pre-existing PDFs which contain details of your product range, and you want to send those
out automatically along with a quote which Formate is creating and printing. This facility
lets you print the quote and the appropriate PDF(s) to go with it, all in the correct order
and as a single print job so they won't get separated at the printer if it's busy.
Mailsort - Allows output to be sorted as required by the Royal Mail in order
to claim various discounted postage rates. All the necessary labels and reports can also be printed.
MS-Excel module - Allows the content of Excel spreadsheets to be read in as source data,
and allows new spreadsheets to be created and populated as a means of output. Control is available over
content, formatting, execution of Excel macros and so on. Created spreadsheets may be saved, printed, emailed or passed to a document management
MS-Word Module - This
facility allows users to design templates in Word and merge
them with Formate data. Formate provides access to the advanced formatting
facilities in Word, which is useful for complex letter applications
or customer quotes. The finished Word document can then be
saved, printed, emailed or passed to a document management
PDF module - Enables the creation and emailing of Adobe PDF documents,
and provides links to document archiving products (by outputting PDF images and their associated metadata).
SharePoint - Allows you to upload documents to a SharePoint server in order
to make them available to users.
XML Module - This allows Formate to process incoming
XML data streams in addition to standard spool file data. It also provides facilities to create XML
output files with virtually any required contents, then save and/or email them. An XML wizard
helps with the process of creating XML documents to comply with a given schema.