Attaching job ticket information to print jobs doesn’t always require XML sidecar files, databases or other tools. In this article, we’ll show you a fast and powerful method for getting up and running with job ticket information that is used to route and change PDF files via a series of hugely time-saving automated steps.
Enfocus Switch can help you create job ticket information for each job you process, and help you automate your job routing, preflighting, processing, from input to output.
Enfocus Switch is compatible with Mac and Windows, and with its user-friendly “workflow” builder, it will take you less than 30 minutes to create the following automation flow, giving you extra time to focus on new prospects and other work.
Concept – Flow
Let’s get started by creating an Enfocus Switch flow with these elements.
The idea behind the flow is that you’ll submit a job (PDF) through the Switch Web Portal and attach job ticket information for that specific job. You have access to the Switch Web Portal if you have purchased Enfocus SwitchClient Module (see this article).
Using the Switch Web Portal, you’ll do the following as you submit a job via a standard HTML form:
- Fill in size W and H
- Select a color from a color library
- Select the press you want to print on
This data will then be used to process the jobs automatically.
Let’s take a look at the configuration information for each of the elements in your flow:
We configure this first element so that the job submitter will see the following fields in the web form in the Switch Web Portal:
To create this form, select the Submit point element in the flow and go to Properties. Click on the rectangle with the 3 dots next to the “Metadata fields” properties.
Note that the name of the “Dataset name” property is “Submit”. This will be important later on.
Add the Metadata fields
You click on the green + to add a metadata field. Then, on the right-hand side, you set the details for each field you create.
For Width and Height, we add the label “Width” and “Height” to name the fields, and choose a data type of “single-line text”. We can add a description like “Please fill in the Width of the artwork in Inches”. We also set this field as “Value is required” so that the submitter cannot continue until a value is filled in.
For Document color and Output, the data type is a dropdown list. We are going to give the submitter a list of options to choose from.
Click on ” > ” next to “Data values” field property. In the next panel, enter the list of dropdown items, one per line.
In the “Set size” element (this is a PitStop Server configurator we renamed to “Set size” in it Properties) we will adjust the size of the artwork to the size filled out during submission. We’ll also delete the artwork’s “border”.
We need variables to do this, so we will set up an Enfocus Variable Set in Enfocus Switch. After that, we can setup the Action List that uses the variables in PitStop Server. Note that the Variable Set must be created in Enfocus Switch, not PitStop!
Variable Set Creation
Select the “Set size” element and go to the property > Variable set. Click on ” > ”
Next, “Select variable set”
The Variable Set needs to define all the variables that we will want to use in our flow.
Width and Height will be used to set the new size of the artwork (entered by the user), as well as mapping for the colors that is selected in the dropdown.
Here’s what the “CValue” configuration will look like with its conditionals in place (Don’t worry – we explain what this is all about in a minute):
Size W and Size H
This variable will be defined as Text with variables + Length + Inches (see image below). The Length is necessary to be able to use the variable inside of the Action List as a measurement. You can, of course, change the measurement unit.
Create the variable then click on the rectangle with the dots (bottom right):
Here we are going to select the job ticket’s location of the width that is entered during job submission. Select Metadata > Text > Path ” > ”
Choose “Build location path”
Select the radio button “External” > Submit (note the name “Submit” – this is the same dataset that was submitted via the Switch Web Portal). At the bottom of the window, you see a representation of the “XML data tree”. This is where you select the location for the width value, as in:
To set up the “Size H” and “ColorSelected” variables follow the same steps.
CValue – MValue – YValue – KValue
For these variables, we will use the selection made in the ColorSelected dropdown to set the CMYK values. For example, if the user selects “RD CMYK1” then the values will be 0, 100, 100, 0. If they select “RB CMYK” then the values will be 100, 50, 0, 0.
Choose “Rule Based > Number” as type—this will allow us to set up the required conditions.
You click on the “Copy” button on the right to make a copy of the current IF statement. At the bottom, we choose to Generate a failure if the selection does not match.
Repeat this for the other CMYK values.
Give your now-ready Variable Set a name in the General category and click on “Save”. It is now created and selected in our property.
Creating the Action List
Below you can see the content of the selected Action List for the “Action List” property of the PitStop Server element in our flow.
What’s cool here is that we can use the variables we defined in the “Scale to fit page size” action in our Action List.
Here’s the complete Action List as you’ll see it in PitStop (Pro or Server)…
Below, you can see the blue widget for Size W and Size H in the Width and Height properties. This indicates a variable has been chosen for this value. (Doing this is straightforward, but if you need a little help, please refer the “Configuration of the Action List” section of this article)
The other checked actions take care of the object that needs to be removed.
When you’re done, click “OK” and let’s move to the next element.
The “Place border” element (an Execute command element that is going to use PDFtk), is where we are placing a template PDF with a new border. You can see the settings below. (The “Command or path” property will have a different path on a Windows system.) You will need to install PDFtk first in order to use it in Enfocus Switch. The Execute command element is available when you have the Configurator Module installed.
We are using the same size W and H XML location to find the correct template in a repository folder.
The name of the file is “12 x 18 TS (Template Stroke).pdf” We are going to take 12 and 18 from the size set during submission.
Our “Arguments” property for the Execute command will look like this:
“%1” stamp “/Users/<username>/Desktop/Workflow Sample – Metal & Frames/Metal Signs/[Metadata.Text:Path=”/field-list/field/value”,Dataset=”Submit”,Model=”XML”] x [Metadata.Text:Path=”/field-list/field/value”,Dataset=”Submit”,Model=”XML”] TS (Template Stroke).pdf” output “%2”
Refer to the “Configuring the Quite Hot Imposing Configurator”section in this article for the details on how to setup the repository path with a variable.
The color of the newly placed border is not the same as the job so in the “Convert color” element (PitStop Server configurator) we convert all the objects to the color selected during submission.
Here’s the Action selected with details.
The Variable Set selected is the same as the one selected (and created) in the first PitStop Server element. Again, it is represented by the blue lozenges.
(Please refer to the section “Configuration of the Action List” in this article if you need help on how to get variables into your Action Lists.
Last but not least, we send the job to the correct press’s input folder using the data selected at submission.
Select “Define condition with variables” for the “Include these jobs” property of the connections.
We set the XML location to look for the selection made during submission as a variable, and then we write the “Press” value into the right hand field.
(For details on the variables, please see the steps in the Variable Set creation in the beginning of the article.)
Repeat the steps for the other connection, just type Xerox instead of HP on the right hand side. [TIP! You can select the connection and right-click > Copy property values. Then go to the other connection and right-click > Paste property values. In this way, you only need to adjust the HP to Xerox.]
Now you are set, your jobs will be process according to your job requirements that were submitted in the beginning of your flow.
Benefits of this workflow?
You’ll only have to select the requirements for your job once on job submission, and after that all the other decisions and steps are done automatically. You can also export the XML data at the end of your flow then import it in another system or pass it to another workflow in Switch.
And there’s a great deal more to discover about Enfocus products, so if you’d like to learn more, please contact us today.