How do you automate the creation of letter documents from within a FM application? The content is highly standardised but users must be a able to redact the document. What target format (word, rtf or other) would you recommend?
We have always used 360Works Scribe to merge FileMaker data with Word templates. We’ve a dedicated merge field manager and templates modules using externally stored container fields. The templates are either linked to specific records, or record state, or available for selection. The merged letters are then stored in a dedicated documents table complete with merged data.
Scribe allows the text of each letter to be set into a field, hence the contents are searchable within FileMaker. The letters can be opened by exporting to a temp folder with auto open, and can be edited and saved by following a close, save and click of a reload button.
We are also able to convert these to PDFs using a piece of software called FolderMill and an SMB share.
This has been running for years, particularly in our insurance systems. Were we to start this now, we’d probably be looking at APIs, but 360Works have always given us great support and Scribe makes it pretty easy.
All the best
Acrobat Pro has a redact tool
Thank you for valuable insight. I had a look at Scribe and its capabilities. Looks pretty good.
The documents to be created in the project an hand are contracts with a wider variety on content. The longer I look at it, the more I tend to try LATEX for its full control over formatting. I'll find out tomorrow how much post-creation manual editing if these documents is required.
Check some old FileMaker Magazine (K&K-Verlag). There were some Articles about LATEX (FMM 201803 - LaTeX Publishing, S.20 / Erich Schmidt, FMM 200804 - ... / W. Werner)
Are there any examples you can find online of the kind of output you want? Is it correct that the layout and format of the contracts will be similar, but the content will be quite different? Will the same information be redacted from each content, or will that change depending on the client?
There are about 5 different kinds of contracts. For each, a layout is defined and content is similar, with adjustments for each customer.
To me, it sounds doable if you made enough text fields for each section and had a layout to render it appropriately, but you would definitely have more flexibility with LaTeX. I love LaTeX and tools like Pandoc (https://pandoc.org/) can help convert it into other formats. LaTeX isn't the easiest choice though, and I know many people do not like using it because of how complicated it can be.