Imaging’s Output Advisor module is a powerful toolkit
that provides several key benefits. First, Output
Advisor’s LaserForms module allows any document, form,
or report to be printed on plain paper on a laser
printer. It does not matter whether or not the software
you are using supports laser printing. Output Advisor
handles all of the printing processes. Output Advisor
can even print multi-part forms on a laser printer.
Second, Output Advisor provides tools that allow data to
be captured from virtually any Windows, UNIX, or Linux
program. Any software program that can send a print job
to a standard network printer can send data to imaging.
This means that the imaging system can be used to
capture and store information from any software package
that may be in use at your company.
Third, Output Advisor provides tools that re-map and
re-format in-bound print data. This allows Output
Advisor to change the way a form or report looks. The
data can be taken from the existing software package,
just as it is, without any changes, then re-format it
into the layout that you want.
Each of these features is discussed in more detail in
the following paragraphs.
Why print your documents on plain paper rather than on
pre-printed forms? That’s easy. Pre-printed forms are
expensive and plain paper is cheap.
Depending upon the size of the pre-printed form and the
number of plys, pre-printed forms can cost anywhere from
3 or 4 cents up to more than 10 cents each. Multiply
that times the number of forms used each day and by the
end of the year, the expense can be significant.
Printing on plain paper with a laser printer costs less
than half a penny per copy. Even if two or three copies
of the document are needed, the cost is still only about
1 penny each. Laser printers are faster, quieter in an
office environment, and produce a far superior output.
So why doesn’t everyone print with laser printers?
Surprisingly, many accounting software packages do not
have the ability to print to laser printers. They were
originally designed many years ago when dot matrix
printers were the only choices available. Dot matrix
printers were reliable, did not cost as much as laser
printers, and everyone used them.
Over the years, though, the cost of purchasing and of
operating a laser printer has dropped to levels that are
now no more than, and in some cases less than, the cost
of purchasing and operating a dot matrix printer. Even
in very dirty or dusty environments, laser printers seem
to be more durable than the older dot matrix printers.
The challenge is that many of the accounting packages
have not been updated with the ability to print to laser
The solution to the problem is Output Advisor’s LaserForms module. This module allows any document,
form, or report to be printed on plain paper on a laser
printer without any changes to your existing accounting
It does not matter that your existing software cannot
print to a laser printer. LaserForms handles all of the
print file conversion automatically. All the user has to
do is to select the “imaging” printer instead of the dot
For example, let’s assume that we have been printing
invoices on 3-part dot matrix forms. Now we want to
print them on plain paper on a laser printer instead.
With LaserForms installed and running, this is easy to
The first step is to go into the accounting software and
generate the invoices in the normal manner. The only
difference is that, instead of choosing the dot matrix
printer, the “imaging” printer will be selected. The
“imaging” printer is really the LaserForms software.
When the print job is received by the LaserForms
software, it identifies the print job as an invoice (or
statement, or A/P check, or whatever), then looks up the
rules for handling an invoice in the template that was
In this case, the template will take the data that was
generated by the accounting software and re-format or
re-map it as necessary to fit the page correctly. It
will add the logo’s, lines, and boxes to make the
printed copy look just like a pre-printed form.
Since it needs three copies of the invoice, it will send
the first copy to tray 1 to print on white paper, the
next copy to tray 2 to print on blue paper, and the
third copy to tray 3 to print on yellow paper. By doing
this, the driver knows to always get the white copy
signed, leave the blue copy with the customer, and give
the yellow copy to the dispatcher.
At the same time, LaserForms can be set up to
automatically email a copy of the invoice directly to
the customer. This feature assumes that the customer’s
email address will be printed on the invoice itself or
available in imaging’s PhoneBook.
Output Advisor’s DataCapture module is the tool that
allows imaging to work with any Windows, UNIX, or Linux
software application. The DataCapture module makes
imaging “look like” a printer to any application that
can send a print job to a standard network printer.
There are no changes required to your existing software.
The only difference is that, when it is time to print,
the “imaging” printer is selected instead of the dot
matrix printer. The “imaging” printer is the DataCapture
software. This software takes the in-bound print job,
extracts the appropriate index information, and passes
the data on to imaging for archival storage.
With DataCapture, any document, form, or report from any
Windows, UNIX, or Linux application can be captured and
processed for imaging with no manual data entry.
Output Advisor’s DataMapper module is a tool that allows
in-bound print data to be re-formatted and re-mapped on
the page. With this module, the data can be changed
around into any layout required.
For example, if the accounting software is limited in
how it can print an invoice, DataMapper can be used to
take the regular print layout from the accounting
software and move the data fields around to look the way
you want. This even works with EDI-type data streams or
With DataMapper, you are back in control of how the
output will actually look.