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Print Wizard Manifests

Introduction

Print Wizard version 3.0.50 introduces a new concept for Print Wizard users, “manifests”. A print manifest is a file that lists a group of files to print.

In the past, you could reference a file that contained a list of files by simply referencing the file with a leading at-sign, such as '@c:\printwiz\myfilelist" and printing it from a command line with the following:

"c:\Program Files\Printwiz30\printwiz.exe" @c:\Printwiz\myfilelist

However, to do this, you had to manually set up the file and it had to contain exact paths to each file. This option, called a "file list", is still available. However, starting with Print Wizard version 3.0.50, a print manifest will simplify this process and add some flexibility for the future.

When would I use a manifest?

A Print Wizard manifest makes it easy to group files together. If you have a standard set of files that need to print each time you print a specific file, you can group them into a manifest. Here are some examples from customers:

"Our application drops a print file called invoice.txt into a PC directory. Our application then runs Print Wizard against a manifest file that prints a cover page, followed by the invoice, followed by a disclaimer form. These are all printed for each invoice file before passing them onto our printer and proceeding on to the next invoice."

"A Print Wizard service despools from a shared directory, watching for a file coming down from the host. When the file shows up, the service prints the file along with a manifest file containing a list of CAD attachments in PDF form. All files are printed and then packaged up for a customer."

Setup

Print Wizard Manifests can be changed from within the user interface for Print Wizard, or you can edit the file manually with a text editor such as NotePad. We will cover the user interface here.

You can access the main dialog under the "Tools" menu and "Create a manifest..." item. This will bring up the following dialog:

Add to list... & ordering the list

With this dialog, you can select a list of files to print using Print Wizard. Click on the "Add to list..." button and select the files.

You can also select a group of individual files by holding down the "Ctrl" key while clicking:

or you can select a group of files in sequence by clicking on a start item and an end item while holding down the "Shift" key. Note that the order in which these populate our list depends on the order in which you click:

You can then reorder these files by clicking on the up and down arrows when you have an item highlighted on the left side. Or you can delete specific files by highlighting the file in the list and pressing the "Delete" key:

Print now

The "Print now" button will run Print Wizard against the current manifest list. If you have made changes and not saved the list yet, you will be asked to do so first.

New

The "New" button clears the current list and starts a new list. Prior to pressing this button, you should have saved your list in order to not lose any changes.

Open

The "Open" button retrieves a previously created manifest list, loading the file list into the dialog for editing.

Save as...

Once you have built your list, you can do a "Save as..." and save the list where you want. The extension for this new list will be "manifest" and needs to remain that in order for Print Wizard to handle it correctly.

If you have created or changed the list, when you click "Done" you will also be prompted that if you continue you will lose your changes. You should save the current list prior to exiting this dialog.

Done

This button exits from the dialog returning to the main user interface dialog. If you have made any changes and not yet saved your manifest, you will be warned.

Printing the list

From the user interface

The list can be printed from within Print Wizard's user interface, either by accessing this dialog and clicking on the "Print now" button, or by simply selecting a file with an extension of ".manifest" and pressing the print toolbar item or the Print menu item.

From a command line

By referencing a file with a ".manifest" extension, the list of files it contains will be printed.

"c:\Program Files\Printwiz30\printwiz.exe" c:\Printwiz\myfilelist.manifest

Likewise, you can print a single file or your own list of files and include a manifest file as well:

"c:\...\Printwiz30\printwiz.exe" c:\Invoices\Invoice12302 c:\Invoices\invoice.manifest

Drag and drop a manifest file

You can drag and drop the manifest file from Windows Explorer onto the desktop shortcut for Print Wizard's user interface. It will then hand this file off to the Print Wizard engine for processing.

Issues to be aware of

  • When you select several files from the standard Windows dialog to add to our list using the "add to list..." button, these files may come into the dialog in strange orders. This is actually due to the standard dialog and the order in which you selected the files. Make sure you check the order of files in the list before saving the manifest.
  • The files will be handled in Print Wizard in the order in which they are listed. However, if the file is NOT handled by Print Wizard's print engine, but done with Smart Print (rendered through another application, check the user documentation on the Smart Print option), it is possible that the rendering program may take longer than the Print Wizard program to print and files may then end up in different orders in the print queue.
  • All lines in a manifest are handled as file names and may require complete path names. This also means all these files will be handled identically, depending on the command-line settings, the profile referenced, etc. If you are faxing or emailing these, they may get handled as individual faxes and emails, depending on your configuration and fax engine and email server settings.

The future

The future has many enhancements slated for manifests.

Print job chaining
Print job chaining (keeping all print jobs in order even if they come from various Smart Print sources).

PDF combining
Combining all the files in a manifest into one PDF.

Parameter inclusion
The inclusion of parameters after the file name to alter how each file print behaves.

Fax job chaining
Manifest files as single fax job (this would group all files into a single file to fax).

Emailing in one step
Grouping all manifest files as a list of attachments in a single email.

Scripting
Scripting how the output should behave if files exist or don't exist and pulling select data from the files themselves (such as a fax number or email address).

Automated manifests
If you print a file and a related file with a .manifest extension is found, that manifest will also be printed, i.e. you print file abc.txt and Print Wizard also does abc.manifest.

So there is more to come in future releases. Let us know if you have specific needs. Giving us feedback on your needs always helps us prioritize future development.

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