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Scanners and Scanner Software - OmniForms

One type of document that presents a great number of problems is forms. You probably have dozens of different forms within your company. In some cases, they are off-the-shelf forms (such as for phone messages). In other cases, they are printed specifically for your company (such as vacation requests). OmniForm provides you with a mechanism that not only loads the form into the system, but fills it out electronically and automatically loads that information into a database.

Forms can be scanned in using the same OCR engine that other Caere products use. Using a newer version of the Logical Forms Recognition technology, OmniForm does an outstanding job of maintaining the "look and feel" of the original form. However, you are not required to load all of your forms from other sources. Instead, OmniForm comes with a forms editor, which enables you to create new forms more easily.

If you already have forms on-line, you can import them into OmniForm by starting the application and printing to the OmniForm printer that is automatically set-p when you first install OmniForm. This starts up the OmniForm application, so you can make changes as needed.

When data is input into a form, it is stored in a flat-file database, which means it can be imported into any current database application. However, using ODBC, OmniForm can communicate directly with a wide range of database applications, such as MS Access, MS Excel, MS SQL Server, and Paradox.

When you scan in a form, you have various levels of configurability you can choose from. For example, you can tell OmniForm that you wish full control over the design and layout of the form or that you wish to maintain as much of the original’s appearance as possible.

Figure 10-15 shows you the OmniForm designer. As you see, it has the same general appearance as most any other Windows application. At the top are the functions one would find in other programs, such as character formatting options, file operations, printing, and copying. On the left side is the Drawing Toolbar, which is used to create the elements in your form, including what type of form element it is (text box, radio button, etc.). On the right side is the Arrange Toolbar, which is used to arrange and line up the elements on the form, such as aligning elements along a column or changing the layout of the elements.

OmniForm Designer

When designing the form, you can specify the characteristics and behavior of each of the form elements. For example, if you provide a list of choices in a drop-down menu, you can specify whether additional options maybe input by hand or the user must select an option from the list. It would also be possible to define fields as being required.

You obviously need some method to "fill out" the form. This can be done either from within OmniForm or with the supplemental product OmniForm Filler. You can also save the form as RTF so that others can share the form. However, this does not have the database connectivity you have directly with OmniForm or OmniForm Filler. However, you can save the form as a mailable executable, which you can send to someone who fills out the form and returns it to you. Finally, OmniForm supports PDF, so you can send the file to users of the Adobe Acrobat reader.

There are many cases where certain fields will be filled with specific information, depending on the values in previous fields. If you have already input something similar, the "Type-Ahead" functionality will automatically fill in the rest of the field for you.

Other functionalities include:

  • typical form elements, such as check boxes, text fields, plus elements only available on.-line like drop-down menus
  • validation of input information
  • links to other forms or even Web sites
  • embedding OLE objects into the form

An interesting feature is the ability to generate unique serial numbers. Each time a new record is created, OmniForm automatically increments the serial number by the number you configured.

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Published on: 0000-00-00 (3780 reads)

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