Create Instant PDF from files or folders in Windows Explorer in a Click

PDF document –  love it, loathe it

We all love PDF for its versatility – it’s portable, smaller, searchable, easier to view, print, store and share. But when it comes to producing them, we don’t fancy it. Why? Because most PDF tools end up being a cluttered user interface as developers pack features on features, just to be at par with the competitions, while overlooking or forgetting the heuristics and usability aspect of even the basic workflow of a typical user. For instance, for a simple task such as producing a PDF from a document, one needs to start the PDF app, choose the file from disk, define the page size, set security options or restrictions, choose the destination folder, and specify a file name or type in manually – too many steps and effort kind of spoils the experience.

And more importantly, even sophisticated and expensive suite like Adobe Acrobat DC and Foxit Phantom PDF lack support for producing PDF from different document types or formats. In a situation like this, one can rely on ‘PDF printer driver’ where you open that particular document with its associated software application and print it with the ‘PDF driver’. With one or few files, it may do the trick. When you have many of them, multiple steps and more overhead with less productivity. Needless to say, not only the process is time consuming, you will need to have the different software apps installed to work with different document types.

Wouldn’t it be much simpler and easier, if you could just select your files or folder in your Windows Explorer and in a click, produce PDFs without making much fuss on the file formats or types (e.g., images, camera RAWs, office documents, faxes, emails, archived ZIP)?

Instant PDF

So when developing our PDF app, the core focus has been instant PDF production from almost any document type or format with no or very little inputs from the user. In File to PDF, you don’t open the app at all to produce PDF documents. Instead, from the comfort of your Windows Explorer, you right-click the files or folder and click the instant PDF from the context menu. This will produce the PDF documents right in same location, with the same name but with the .pdf extension – without showing any windows or requiring any further input from you.

Create instant PDF from a file in Window Explorer

Did I hear you ask what about Zip file? In other PDF tools, you will have to first extract the files of a Zip file to a folder before processing them. In Contrast, with File to PDF, it will go inside the Zip and produce PDF document from each of the file (contained in the Zip) or for that matter, can even combine all the files of the Zip to one PDF document. It will produce also PDFs from that zip file located within another zip file, which itself could be located in another zip and so on e.g., C.zip located under B.zip, which in turn is located under the parent A.zip. Nicely done!

What about a multi-page TIFF? File to PDF would take into account all the pages inside that single TIFF file and produce a PDF that contains all the pages of the TIFF unlike other tools that only produce PDF from the first page. Have a lot of RAW photo files from your recent expedition and need to produce a portfolio document or preview? With File to PDF, you can produce PDFs directly from these RAW files and skip the time-consuming steps of pre-processing the Photo RAW files to JPEGs (which is one would usually do) – all these irrespective of the vendors (Nikon, Canon, Leica etc) and RAW types (CR2, NEF, PEF, SR2…)

Have a folder with lots of documents, perhaps on a project that you have to submit? With File to PDF, just right-click that folder and click Instant PDF menu in your Windows Explorer and it will produce PDF from each file, with the same filename but with a .pdf extension in the same folder. Get smart and utilize your valuable time and effort to do something productive, rather than processing one file at a time. Hold on, did you mention you have to submit all these via email? No sweat, just right-click the unprocessed files or folder and click ‘Email As PDF’ menu and File to PDF will process all these documents to PDF (if not already) before attaching them as attachments to a new email.
Email files or folder as PDF

A note though, as of now, this works if Microsoft Outlook is installed in your system and configured with an email account.

So just a click is what all File to PDF need to produce PDFs from your files and folder or email them as PDFs. It can’t get any easier or simpler!

File types and formats

With File to PDF, you simply disregard your concern of file formats or types. It can produce PDF documents from more than 120 file types, including popular office documents such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OpenDocuments, RTF, various types of bitmaps and images, FAX or scanned documents, RAW camera files and even compressed ZIP etc. The complete file types and formats supported are listed here.

Convert or Combine just about any files or folder to PDF

If you have stored emails as MSG or EML files in your disk, to produce PDFs from these files, with most PDF tools, the first step (but not the last) will be to open your email MSG or EML file in its Email Application (such as Microsoft Outlook) that created it. And only then, there might be a possibility to create PDFs from the email message. Even then, most of these PDF tools may be unable to convert the attachments (if any) to PDF. In such case, you will be forced to save the attachments to your disk to further process it. Just consider if you have to do it again for tens or hundreds of email files? The time, effort and steps required to accomplish the goal would probably overwhelm any one.
Convert MSG or EML files to PDF

Unlike other PDF tools, File to PDF can take MSG or EML files from your Windows folder and convert to PDF along with its attachments (if any) for easy sharing or archiving. You don’t even need to open the MSG or EML in Microsoft Outlook. What if there is an attachment that is in ZIP format? No, you don’t need to extract the contents at all from the ZIP attachment. No matter how if there are inner ZIP files within the ZIP attachment (e.g., C.zip located under B.zip, which in turn is located under the parent A.zip attachment), File to PDF app will automatically take into account all the files stored in its inner ZIP files (if any) when producing PDF documents from any ZIP attachment. In short, this whole process is seamless to the user and the user can concentrate on what to do with the PDF documents produced.

Combining files to one PDF

Imagine a situation, where your scanner produced individual pages of a document while scanning, or you have multiple documents (not necessarily of the same type or format) that would just work better as a single file. In fact, in typical workplace or business environment, multiple documents naturally belong together, such as quotation, sales order and invoice, or an email and its attachments. Combining such documents to one together makes it easy to see their relationship. File to PDF makes it possible to combine multiple files to one PDF document while forgetting what their types or formats are.

Combine files to One PDF document

Security features

As with any professional PDF authoring tool, File to PDF also offers security features such as watermark, password protection and permission restrictions to your PDF documents. Adding watermark is a simple way to secure your PDF content. A watermark easily lets viewers identify the status of your PDF content, for instance, as a visual warning to designate your document as confidential or for internal use only. Adding a watermark of your name or brand on publication material not only adds a professional touch but also helps to identify ownership without completely locking the PDF down. More importantly, watermarking each page of your PDF helps protect your intellectual property from being passed off as someone else’s work when it is shared with others.

Watermark PDF with your logo or brand

You can produce PDF document that requires a user to type in a password to open it in PDF reader software. This is usually known as ‘Document Open Password‘ or ‘User Password’. Additionally, with File to PDF, you can lock down your PDF content by setting a permissions password (also known as a master password) and restrict printing, editing and copying content in the PDF. Your intended recipients don’t need a password to open the document (unless a ‘Document Open Password’ or ‘User Password’ is enforced on that PDF). They do need this permissions password (master password) to change the restrictions you have set.

Password protect PDF

So those were few tricks on its sleeve that can make PDF content production and sharing much easier and your life freer with File to PDF for Windows. And it makes better sense, much easier and simpler too, to produce PDF documents from files and folders from the comfort and ease of Windows Explorer. To learn more, refer to video demonstrations at my YouTube channel.


Create Instant PDF from files or folders in Windows Explorer in a Click

 

Before you got to this page, chances are, you were just finishing sending a quote to your customer on your Windows PC, or reading an e-book on your Kindle, or tallying debit/credit transactions from your bank e-statements in Mac, or paying off utility e-bills from your smartphone, or preparing a meeting agenda for your team on your tablet or just referring to the user manual of your brand new smart TV. What not so obvious in all these activities is the document type used across all these devices – Portable Document Format or just what we popularly refer to as PDF. Today, it is hard to imagine the new digital office work-space without PDF file format, the choice for storing and sending all kinds of electronic documents – from product presentations and company newsletters, to legal contracts and financial reports.

Starting Office 2007, Microsoft had provided a free add-on known as ‘Save As PDF & XPS’ for saving Word, Excel, PowerPoint documents to PDF and XPS documents (XPS format being Microsoft’s alternative to PDF, but never gained much traction). With Office 2010 release, saving to PDF documents was natively supported in Word, Excel, PowerPoint but not in Microsoft Outlook. This mean you were unable to save emails and their attachments to PDF documents. And even to this day, this continues to be the state of affairs with the latest Office 2016. The workaround is, to make use of 3rd party PDF visual print drivers to output to PDF, but you don’t have much control over output (for instance, it cannot print the attachments that came with the email, nor it can generate a single, merged PDF file containing multiple emails and attachments). Additionally, Adobe Acrobat provides a plugin extension for Outlook email client to save emails to PDF. But it’s quite expensive and you will need to purchase or subscribe to the whole Acrobat software eco-system. Of course there are quite a few PDF Outlook add-ins from 3rd parties that can output emails to PDF, but is not perfect. Or is it? Read on.

Our latest offering – ‘Email to PDF for Outlook‘ is an add-in process in your Microsoft Outlook, fully context driven with seamless integration in Outlook UI ribbons and brings the much needed feature and capability to your Microsoft Outlook email client to save emails and attachments to PDF document formats. No PDF print driver or Acrobat software required.

‘Email to PDF’ add-in installed in your system equips Microsoft Outlook application to

  1. Save emails along with their attachments to PDF, either as a single merged file (containing both email and attachments), or to separate PDF files, each for the attachment and one for email
  2. Combine multiple emails and their attachments to a single PDF file
  3. Forward existing emails and their attachments as PDF files to other recipients
  4. Convert non-PDF attachments to PDF before sending a new email, reply or meeting request.
  5. Add emails and attachments to an existing PDF file (excellent to maintain a single PDF file or e-book, that contains a record of emails on similar topic)
  6. Automate the PDF output process where it generates PDFs from incoming emails and their attachments – freeing you from performing repetitive tasks (say, for archiving emails/attachments for company record keeping)

When ‘Email to PDF’ add-in encounters any of the following document formats in the email attachments, it automatically converts to PDF:

  • Word Files (*.docx, *.docm, *.doc, *.dot, *.dotx, *.dot, *.dotm)
  • Excel files (*.xl, *.xlsx, *.xlsm, *.xlsb, *.xlam, *.xltx, *.xltm, *.xls, *.xlt, *.xla, *.xlm, *.xlw)
  • PowerPoint Presentation files (*.pptx, *.ppt, *.pptm, *.ppsx, *.pps, *.ppsm, *.potx, *.pot, *.potm, *.odp)
  • Images (*.bmp, *.gif, *.png, *.jpg, *.jpeg, *.tif, *.tiff, *.pcx, *.psd, *.cut, *.dcx, *.dds, *.ico, *.lbm, *.lif, *.mdl, *.pcd, *.pcx, *.pic, *.pnm, *.psp, *.sgi, *.raw, *.tga, *.act, *.pal, *.wal)
  • Single File Web Page (*.mht; *.mhtml)
  • Web Page (*.htm; *.html)
  • Rich Text Format (*.rtf)
  • Plain Text (*.txtl *.prn; *.csv)
  • XML Document (*.xml)
  • OpenDocument Text (*.odt)
  • Works 6.0 – 9.0 (*.wps)
  • Multi-page TIFF (*.tif)
  • Others (*.odc, *.uxdc, *.ods)

These ability to save emails and convert attachments to PDF in Outlook has many benefits:

  1. All PDF output files generated from Outlook using ‘Email to PDF’ add-in is searchable with keywords.
  2. When sending or replying to emails with non-PDF attachments, you no longer need to be concerned if the recipients have the right apps to view the different attachments types. For instance, you send an email with an expense report as attachments (in excel and PDF formats) to your HR manager, who is on a tour. If the manager’s tablet or smartphone don’t have excel app, he or she can still view the PDF attachment.
  3. Thank to high rate of compression, PDF format drastically reduces document size while preserving the document quality. Smaller file size significantly reduces costly bandwidth and storage issues on Exchange or file server. Converting attachments and embedded images to a PDF reduces document size significantly, which adds up to real savings in expensive email server storage and bandwidth congestion. It also means significant time being saved in retrieving emails from the server.
  4. Efficient email retention policy –  PDF being a self-contained and highly compressed medium that effectively manages images, vectors and text in a single file, it makes for an ideal format from which to base archiving and record keeping.
  5. Saves you precious time and effort from having to undergo multiple actions and switching between multiple apps to create or convert PDF from your existing Word/Excel documents and attach back to email in Outlook.

Turning your emails and attachments into PDFs makes them portable, smaller, searchable and generally easier to view, print, store and share, independent of application software, hardware and operating systems. This versatility makes PDF the most usable and suitable format for all types of business presentations.

Video Demonstration: Generating PDF from emails and attachments from an email

Video Demonstration: Generating PDFs from multiple emails and attachments

Video Demonstration: Merging emails and attachments to generate a single PDF file

Video Demonstration: Adding emails and attachments to an existing PDF file

Video Demonstration: Converting non-PDF attachments to PDF attachments in new/outgoing emails

Video Demonstration: Automatically export incoming emails to PDF files

‘Email to PDF for Outlook’ is available in 16 major languages: English, Chinese (Traditional), Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish. You can avail a fully functional trial of 30 days – download it here. If you represent an educational institutions or universities, get it for free by applying for an academic license here.

A very happy new year 2017 from AssistMyTeam

 

From my consulting experience, I have noticed one core issue that many IT administrators and power users face in their implementation towards integration of Outlook/Exchange and SharePoint – the ‘incompleteness’ of the captured Outlook data in SharePoint. And this happens when there is a lack of metadata available to describe the published item in SharePoint. Because of this, user adoption of SharePoint could suffer in the organization.

For instance, emails can be saved as Outlook Message Format (.MSG extension) from Outlook > File > Save As, and then can be uploaded directly through the native SharePoint UI. And when one clicks the MSG file from SharePoint, it will open up in Outlook (if installed) which the user can then reply/forward. This provides for a basic integration of storing Outlook emails to SharePoint. However for non-Outlook users, the MSG file is not as useful because SharePoint can’t display the MSG file and its content such as attachments natively.

There are other important limitations with as such! The upload of the MSG file of the email to SharePoint does not bring along any additional attributes or metadata information (To, From, Subject, Sender etc.) to the SharePoint columns. So, one need to manually feed additional metadata information to describe it in the SharePoint columns to give a meaning to the uploaded email MSG file. Not only, it is time consuming and laborious to save, upload the email file and enter metadata to describe it, one has to repeat the same step for each email. And it can be quite a daunting task if you have thousands of emails in your Inbox. This limitation can significantly handicap the usefulness and usability of such data in SharePoint.

Email enabling a SharePoint list or library could be another option (that is, one can include the email address of the SharePoint list as one of the recipients to have that email stored in the SharePoint). But again, the actual email is stored in .EML format in SharePoint, which only recent versions of Microsoft Outlook supports.  Moreover, this process does not populate useful email metadata to the SharePoint columns. Other limitation with this approach is the administration overhead to setup SharePoint with unique email addresses and broadcast it to the users. This approach does not work on your existing emails and other Outlook items such as appointments, tasks or contacts and hence, cannot account as a cumulative solution for your Outlook/Exchange data.

If the solution discussed above is exactly your requirement, then you are in for luck and need not read further of this blog. But if you find yourself needing for a seamless way to bring Outlook emails and data to SharePoint along with useful metadata information of the email to corresponding SharePoint columns, then read on as I am going to discuss how this can be achieved fairly simple with one of my application ‘DataPublisher for Outlook & SharePoint’.

DataPublisher exists as an add-in application in your Microsoft Outlook. In this application, the first step you (or the administrator in Team Edition) would do is to specify any number of destination SharePoint lists that will store the published emails or other items from Outlook. This is followed by simple mapping of attributes or fields between the Outlook mail (or other item types) and SharePoint columns. This is done so that the add-in can extract the relevant metadata information (such as To, From, Categories, Subject, Body etc.) from the email and populate it automatically to the published item on the SharePoint side.

And storing emails from Outlook to SharePoint is just a matter of a click (or two, if you had linked multiple SharePoint lists to Outlook). To be even more productive, you can select multiple emails and publish them to SharePoint.

Once published, the SharePoint item will contain the email (OutlookItem.msg) as well as relevant metadata information that were mapped. Attachments of the email are available as clickable links.

For that matter, you can publish all the items of an Outlook folder to a particular SharePoint list in a click. This will publish all the items in that Outlook/Exchange folder to the chosen SharePoint lists in batch. As the transfer is done in the background outside the Outlook.exe process, you can continue working in Outlook without being interrupted.

No matter what technique you use, DataPublisher add-in pushes the emails to your SharePoint along with attachments of the email and the metadata information (chosen when performing mapping of fields) to the SharePoint columns. In fact, to view the content of the email, you don’t even need to open the MSG file from SharePoint as the metadata information contains the email body too. Attachments of the email can be directly accessed and viewed natively from the SharePoint item without opening the MSG file in Outlook or other email client application.

Outlook items with custom fields – if you use a custom form on an Outlook folder, most likely you might have added custom fields to collect additional data from users.  With DataPublisher, you can map those custom fields to SharePoint columns too to bring the custom data to the corresponding custom fields to SharePoint.

Outlook/Exchange to SharePoint publishing is not limited to emails. In fact, with DataPublisher, you can implement the same technique to push appointments, tasks, journals or contacts to your chosen SharePoint destination, while preserving the metadata information and attachments.

You can also set DataPublisher to automatically push incoming emails in your Inbox to SharePoint without requiring you to do it. That is, as soon as new emails are received or new appointments are added, the add-in would export those items to SharePoint with the same logic. This is ideal if you want to maintain a live copy of your Outlook folder items (e.g. Inbox, Calendar) in SharePoint.

DataPublisher application works in your Exchange Public folders or PST just as fine as it does in your Inbox. And if your organization still uses Public folders to store data and documents, you could make use of DataPublisher add-in to export and migrate all of it to SharePoint repositories without worrying about the integrity or loss of information on the SharePoint side.

In a nutshell, you can just concentrate on deciding which emails to store in SharePoint and leave the question on ‘how’ and other technical complexities to DataPublisher application. So go ahead and adapt our content management solution from Outlook to SharePoint for your varied requirements such as filling caller and problem metadata information from emails to trouble tickets in your SharePoint Issue Tracking lists, submitting meetings and schedules from Outlook Calendars to SharePoint calendars, Exchange Public Folders migration to SharePoint, email retention and archival from Outlook to SharePoint repositories as part of company’s legal policy etc.

Remark: In the Enterprise Team edition of DataPublisher application, choosing the destination SharePoint lists and the mapping of fields is done once by the administrator and deployed to all other users automatically. This makes it very easy for workgroup users to file and publish emails, attachments, appointments, tasks or contacts along with the mapped metadata to the administrator’s specified SharePoint list and columns from within their Outlook. Streamlining these processes for all users of the organization, brings about a bridging solution for content publishing and management from Microsoft Outlook to SharePoint.

For more read:
Data Publisher for Outlook & SharePoint (Personal Edition)
Data Publisher for Outlook & SharePoint (Enterprise/Team Edition) 

 

I will be honest here. I have stopped socializing for a month and two because of the number of challenges that had brought out on me in my endeavor to support Outlook 2013 and 64 bit Outlook in Team Helpdesk. The pressure seems more knowing many of my clients have adopted Outlook 2013 and particularly most of have embraced the 64 bit version of Outlook. As Team Helpdesk was designed and coded with legacy technology, there was simply no workaround to make it work anymore on the new Microsoft Office platform. This means, a new product has to be designed from scratch using the latest Microsoft development environments and dot NET frameworks.

Naturally, I had tried to salvage as many codes and reusable components possible from the old application. Luckily most of the codes were easily ported to the new product with slight changes. However, due to technical limitation, I had to discard some existing feature-sets and overhaul many of them with substitutes to elevate Team Helpdesk to its new avatar. So gone are the Outlook based custom forms for the Ongoing Cases, Resolved Cases and KB folders. The biggest limitation with Outlook based forms is the frequent risk of corruptions and form cache issues on local systems. And from my time interacting with users on technical support in the past, I can say about half of the issues they were experiencing were directly or indirectly related to the Outlook case form. For instance, some users can see the case form when they opened cases in Outlook. Some can’t and some received certain error “The form required to view this message cannot be displayed. Contact your administrator.” At other time, it could be “The custom form cannot be opened. Outlook will use an Outlook form instead. The operation failed”. And the most obvious workaround to such errors was to to clear the form cache of the parent folder. And to ease the support process, we have even produced a few KB articles on this Outlook form issue. Another hindrance with the old forms was when we updates the forms (say, with new fields and controls), administrators will know the pain of upgrading the forms used in every Team Helpdesk folder one by one using the .FDM files provided. This dreads us from actively putting any new features to the forms unless it was required.  So when we have the opportunity to develop Team Helpdesk from scratch, we were debating the limitations and recurring issues users had experienced with the Outlook forms and decided to ditch the Outlook based forms finally in favor of .NET WinForms. This provides us with the prospect to utilize a number of features rich advanced controls available in .NET framework. What this translates for you is a user friendly case form in Outlook with quicker access to information than never before.

The new forms are built into the Team Helpdesk Agent add-in itself. This means when you upgrade to newer versions, the add-in automatically has the new forms and hence no extra steps to update or delete the forms. More importantly, this liberate any kind of administration on the forms unlike in the past versions. This also means, when other non-helpdesk members access the cases, all they will see is the body of the item. The case form is unavailable as those members don’t have Team Helpdesk Agent add-in installed in their Outlook. This serves to hide helpdesk related fields and metadata from non-support people.

Talking about other changes is the all new ‘Case Preview’ form that shows all the available helpdesk meta fields including custom fields and the values these hold when you select or highlight any Outlook case item in the Ongoing Cases or Resolved Cases folders. We have also added the ability to see all the related emails of that case directly and yes, you can reply or forward or send a KB quickly without opening the Outlook inspector window. You can also see the private notes that are added by other technicians. I hope that you would find a great use of this preview form to increase productivity and response time to the grieving parties :).

One of the recurring issue many of you faced with Team Helpdesk (for that matters with any items in Public Folders or Shared mailboxes) is the occurrence of Exchange conflicts on a particular item when it is edited by two or more users. And the obvious way to get back the original item is to open that conflict and resolve it by choosing which version of the edited item to retain. It is fruitless joy to discuss why conflicts occurs in Exchange (may be only God knows!). However, it will be a God send if I were to know who currently are opening and editing a particular case item and accordingly decide if to edit and make changes to the case myself. Seems like we have just found that blessing. When you open the case in its inspector window, you will see the ‘Safe to Edit?’ option in the form. It shows you who else have currently opened this particular case item in their Outlook.

If you are the assigned technician or one of them, and if the ones who are currently on that case are not, you can ‘shoo’  them to let go off the case! 🙂 On the serious note, individual technician can avoid creating a conflict from the first place by not editing an item that is already being opened/edited by others. You don’t even need to open the particular case to see who are on the case. Just use the context menu option ‘Safe To Edit?’ on the folder view. You can also use the ‘Opened Cases’ panel (available in the ribbon or toolbar) to view which cases are currently being opened/worked by each individual technician.

The cases opened by technicians can also be seen in ‘Online Status of Technicians’ tool. This is just one of the simpler way we have devised in the new version of Team Helpdesk to avoid multiple agents from editing the same case. I hope this comes handy to you.

One particular feature in version 8 that I would like to highlight is the ability to know how many emails a particular case have without opening the case. We have added two new meta fields ‘Total Emails‘ and ‘Total Non-Auto Emails‘ to each case item. The first stores the total number of emails associated with the case including the automated notification emails. The other stores the number of emails sans the automated ones. These meta fields when used in the Outlook views of the Ongoing Cases and Resolved Cases folders can be very useful to you.

These meta fields are also available in the Summary Reports and OLAP Statistics tools.

Now lets head towards some of the issues in earlier version of Team Helpdesk that we overcame in this new version. I know many of you just love the ticket automation feature. But you might be familiar with the issue when you try to set Team Helpdesk to monitor a mailbox, say ‘Support‘ and if there are other mailboxes/accounts having similar names such as ‘IT Support‘ or ‘Support HRM‘, Team Helpdesk failed to get a proper handle of the mailbox because of Exchange names resolution issue. Due to which, in previous versions, either you have to use a unique account name or have that particular mailbox opened as additional mailboxes in your Outlook profile, and then select the Inbox folder instead. In the new version, you need not do this anymore. What we have done is to automatically resolve the correct name by matching the SMTP address of the mailbox from the possible ones. This way, Team Helpdesk will still be able to get the correct mailbox reference when there are other similar account names. This same scenario holds true when you set Team Helpdesk to send outgoing emails from a common account and it failed to send out from that account.

Finally, a little bit nirvana to the web access sites that comes as complementary in Team Helpdesk. I had almost decided to depreciate the web access features from the new version release after reading significant complains from users who had implemented the sites in their IIS web server. However, thanks to MSDN and StackOverFlow forums, found solutions to the crippling issues many of you were experiencing with the Technicians Web Access (TWA) and Customer Web Service (CWS) sites. One nasty one is when you or your end-user hit a button on the page and it loads forever and gets stuck. Close examinations to this issue exposes a surprise – a javascript  error ‘_dopostback‘ is undefined’. It happens specially on newer browsers such IE9 or IE10. Users with older browsers do not experience the issue. The cause of this is because your IIS server (where the TWA/CWS sites are hosted) do not have the latest .NET 2.0 and .NET 4.0 patch or service pack. Due to this, ASP.NET engine simply cannot recognize the most current versions of some browsers, and will consequently treat them as down-level browsers. The fix is to get updated browser-definition files for your IIS.

Hotfixes from Microsoft:
For .NET 2.0 – http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2600100
For .NET 4.0 – http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2600088 

Some other notable changes in the new version:

  • The Team Helpdesk Agent Add-in (formerly known as Team Helpdesk Client add-in) stores the helpdesk settings and data locally as cached data. This enables the agent add-in to operate in cached mode without needing to connect to the network helpdesk database (Access or SQL server whichever you had chosen). What this means is, if you are disconnected from the network (i.e., the helpdesk database is unavailable), you can still work with most of the helpdesk operations in Outlook without being interrupted. You can even raise new cases, but no ID will be assigned as the database is unavailable. But you can add more information to the meta fields, add descriptions etc and when you are connected again, you can assign a new ID.
    …..
  • Provision to store any number of Allotment notification templates. Now you can choose which specific allotment auto-response to be sent for a particular caller. For instance, if someone sends an e-mail to UK.Support@myCompany.com, you would want to inform the customer that their e-mail will be responded to within 2 hours between 9 am and 5:30 pm GMT. If they send a new case to US.Support@myCompany.com, you can inform the customer that their e-mail will be responded to within 3 hours between 9 am and 5:30 pm EST.
    …..
  • Team Helpdesk has a new folder ‘History Resolved’. This folder stores all the emails belonging to resolved cases. With version 8, emails for ongoing and resolved cases are stored separately. This is to optimize the loading speed of the case and also to ease archival and deletion of old emails (for resolved cases).
    …..
  • Support for unlimited custom fields of different data types. You can use the following data types: Text, Number, Currency, Yes/No, Date/Time, Note, List. All defined custom fields are available in summary reports and OLAP Statistics tool.

I am very excited with the plethora of features and enhancements possible with the new Team Helpdesk platform. And I hope to hear from you what you think of the new version in terms of features and usability. As always, I deeply appreciate the time and effort you had taken to provide us with valuable feedback as it has influenced our design direction of our products. In fact, I have listened to each and every past bugs submitted by users and have tried the best to address those in the new version. Some work are still pending as more research and analysis are required, but be assure we will work out a new patch within a month of this release with more enhancements.

Those upgrading to the new version from earlier versions, please do read the instructions in the upgrade page carefully and make sure you are equipped with the correct permissions and rights on the database (‘db_creator’ permission on SQL Server for example) and on the Exchange folders (‘Owner’ rights for example).

For Team Helpdesk for Outlook

Download page of new version
http://assistmyteam.net/TeamHelpdesk/Download.asp

Installing Fresh? refer to Installation Guide
http://assistmyteam.net/TeamHelpdesk/Installation.asp

Upgrade Instructions
http://assistmyteam.net/TeamHelpdesk/UpgradeInstructions.asp

Release note for version 8
http://assistmyteam.net/TeamHelpdesk/History/rev8.asp

 

For Team Helpdesk for Outlook & SharePoint

Download page of new version
http://assistmyteam.net/TeamHelpdeskSP/Download.asp

Installing Fresh? refer to Installation Guide
http://assistmyteam.net/TeamHelpdeskSP/Installation.asp

Upgrade Instructions
http://assistmyteam.net/TeamHelpdeskSP/UpgradeInstructions.asp

Release note for version 6
http://assistmyteam.net/TeamHelpdeskSP/History/rev6.asp

 

Bonjour, c’est un grand moment!

After Arabic support, Issue Tracker ticketing application is now available in French. And no, there is no separate, parallel versions. Instead, the application have cumulative multilingual support in one single package. So, one can change the language in a single click. It is as simple as that!

IT workers around the world have spoken, and they are not all speaking English. In fact, a quarter of our revenue originates from outside the English speaking regions. In light of this revelation, it has been our endeavor always to have support for as many languages spoken around the world in our solutions. It has been our policy to think ‘global’ from day one, especially when the product’s country of origin does not matter to consumers. Because of this aspiration, we had recently launched ‘Language Partner Program’ whereby one can become a volunteer in translating one or more of our products in one’s native language. In return for their contribution and service, we provide our language partners with a variety of benefits and rewards such as free enterprise license to our products, life-time support etc. You can read more on our ‘Language Partner Program’ in my previous blog http://www.bahrur.com/?p=372. One such partner is Nicholas Clement and their team who had given their valuable service in translating our Issue Tracker application to French. We express our thanks and gratitude for their contribution.

Team Issue Tracker: ribbon in the Outlook explorer window

Team Issue Tracker: the inspector window of the email in Outlook

Team Issue Tracker: The ticket form used in Outlook to raise a new ticket to SharePoint directly.

Team Issue Tracker: The helpdesk settings data source panel

Team Issue Tracker: The mapping of fields between Outlook and SharePoint

Team Issue Tracker: The email templates manager console

Team Issue Tracker: The admin settings console

Team Issue Tracker: The personal prefences panel. Here in the last tab, notice that you can switch the language to be used in the UI by selecting one from the drop down. for example, French

Team Issue Tracker: The ticket search tool

You can also be our language partner and translate our product to your language and receive many benefits. Read more http://assistmyteam.net/CommunityService/LanguagePartners.asp

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