Text: Patrick Mackaaij

Photography: Robin Kuijs

WORK SMARTER 29

PATRICK MACKAAIJ
…is a consultant and team leader at TOPDesk. He specializes in technical issues and optimizing processes.

CREATING CLEAN DOCUMENTS WITH THE RTF DOCUMENT CREATOR
This article outlines the use of the RTF Document Creator in TOPdesk. With this add-on, you can create neat letters, work receipts and distribution forms based on data saved in TOPdesk.

T

he RTF Document Creator lets you create text and calendar files. RTF (Rich Text Format) is a file format with which

values (key values). This data is retrieved from the TOPdesk Event Management module.

Step 1: Create a template file in a word processor
Create a template. You can use a word processor such as Microsoft Word for this.

you can add formatting such as fonts and images, as well as plain text. RTF is supported by various text processing applications, including Microsoft Word. The link between the RTF Document Creator and TOPdesk enables you to create documents with attractive layouts. What’s more, you don’t have to copy or retype information manually. The RTF Document Creator can also be used for specific versions. For instance, you can

Title
The RTF Document Creator has many applications. For instance, you can upload the generated text file to the corresponding card, or save the file and send it as an email attachment. The RTF Document Creator uses generic text files, so it is also possible to create iCalendar files (.ics).

a) Insert the TOPdesk values you want to replace as tags, such as: $<employee_name>$ b) Save the document as an RTF file in the ‘bespoke-work-resources’ folder (which you will have to create manually). c) Zip the ‘bespoke-work-resources’ folder and upload it to TOPdesk as bespoke work.

How does the RTF Document Creator work?
The RTF Document Creator works with a template file. In this file, you use tags to indicate the text that should be replaced. Once this is done, the RTF Document Creator will generate a new text file, using key words to replace the tags with the corresponding

convert the date files of tags that start with ‘ics_’ into the UTC time zone needed for iCalendar. It is also possible to convert field names in RTF documents to barcode-128, generating scannable bar codes.

Step 2: Create an HTTP request in TOPdesk
TOPdesk controls the RTF Document Creator with an HTTP request action, which you can find in the Event Management module. You can also use this module to determine which template is used and whether the generated document should be linked to the card (see figure 2).

30 WORK SMARTER
Pay attention to the layout You need to pay extra attention to the layout if you are using data from linked cards. If the document has a large number of rows, it is possible that not all data will fit on a single page. You can include
▲ Figure 1: Template file with tags (employee provision form) The TOPdesk Magazine covers subjects that are topical in the world of professional service desks in IT, facilities and other service providing organizations. TOPdesk Magazine is intended for managers, service desk employees, facilities organizations and electronic city councils – anyone who is involved with supporting clients on a daily basis. This concerns both the processes and the technology behind these services. ▲ Figure 2: Processing the template in the Event Management module. The values containing TOPdesk information are enclosed by ‘\C’ and ‘\c’ tags to ensure that TOPdesk is able to properly interpret the special characters. Chief Editor: Nienke Deuss Editors: Nienke Deuss, Timme Hos, Milou Snaterse, Niek TOPdesk Magazine is a TOPdesk publication Tel: + +44 (0) 207 8034200 Email: editorial@topdesk.com

Editorial
Want to comment? Go to www.topdeskmagazine.com

data from linked cards in a table, but you will have to apply edits directly to the rough RTF layout. Using bullet points does not look as good, but it is simpler (see the $<objects>$ bullet in figure 1).

The HTTP request action is performed automatically when a predefined event takes place, such as creating or editing a card. You can also set up TOPdesk so that the end user can create the document manually via context menus (see figure 3).

Troublesome templates
If you create template files in Microsoft Word, it is possible that not all tags you insert will be replaced. This is caused by Microsoft word inadvertently inserting hidden characters in tags, so that the RTF Document Creator can no longer recognize them. To solve this problem, delete the tag in question (including $< >$), type the tag again and save the document as RTF.

Steenhuis, Nicola van de Velde Translators: Leah Clarke, Nicola van de Velde, Hazel Hollis Contributors: Lydje Snieders, Renske van der Heide, Patrick Mackaaij, Roland de Schepper Layout: Joost Knuit, Louise van der Laak, Ontwerpbureau DDC Photography: Ted Erkkila, Aad Hoogendoorn, Robin Kuijs, Jonas Mertens, Kees Muizelaar Copy editor: Nicola van de Velde A print run of 5,000 Quarterly magazine

Figure 3: It is possible to adjust TOPdesk’s settings so that end users can use the context menu to create the document manually.

Add-ons forTOPdesk
TOPdesk offers add-ons to Enterprise customers to meet wishes held by several customers. Addon installation is usually supervised by a TOPdesk consultant, who explains the bespoke work and takes care of the initial set up. Please visit the TOPdesk Extranet for more information about add-ons.

Languages: Dutch, English

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