It's here... Nintex Document Generation


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This month marks a new milestone for Nintex as we introduce Nintex Document Generation for O365. Personally I am super excited about this. For years I've built workflows and then had to craft something to wrap the outputs up in nice way. Now in office 365 land with the absence of Sharepoint Word Services in O365, crafting that output document has become that much harder.

With the rollout of the next version of Nintex Workflow for O365, all Nintex O365 customers will get Document generation action with some trial Doc Gens right out of the box.

docgen9.png

Let me introduce this new capability by way of a story...............

As a Business Analyst for Crestan, I need to create a solution that allows Safety Inspectors to fill in a form on their mobile. The inspection information not only needs to come back into SharePoint but it also needs to be presented into PDF format to be archived.

First thing we need to do is create the list and build out the form and mobile application..Now because this has been covered in other posts in the past and no doubt into the future, I'm going to skip over showing this part. But rest assured a Form was created

With that all done let's get to the workflow, where the magic is going to happen.

To setup the Document Generation Action, we need to get all the information we want in the final document into Workflow Variables. This gives us the flexibility to pull in information from other sources, not just SharePoint.. So whether it is CRM, SQL, or a webservice call etc, if you can connect to it, and get a result, you can put it into the document.

Let's take a quick look at the action.. As I need to create my template.

Things I need to do to get this action working are:

  • specify the "Document" library where my template/s are going to be stored,
  • specify the template this action is going to use (Or create a new one).
  • Select the output type.
    • Keep the source of the template (DOCX, PPTX, or XLSX)
    • Convert to PDF
  • Specify the output library for the new

If I need to / or want to create a new template, I would select the "Create new template" link. This will allow me to select DOCX, PPTX or XLSX as my template source and to also specify a name for my template.

If I'm going to edit an existing template, this is just as easy as selecting the "Edit in Word" button. (*Note that this will change to "Edit in Powerpoint" if using powerpoint as a template and "Edit in Excel"

So let head to my new template and start to build it out

After selecting the button, the relevant app will load. What is really neat about this is notice to the right hand side of the screen we have the new Nintex Document Generation Tagger. This will load when editing the template doc from the action. You can also find the Add-in in the Microsoft Office Store. This tagger whilst simple in stature will give you the power to place the variable tags into the document, spreadsheet or PowerPoint to then be further modified using the styling tools of the choosen document type.

From the top down, the Add-in gives you access to the workflow variables particular to the instance of the workflow that has currently run up to the point of the Document Generation action running. In the screenshot above I've selected a 'Dictionary' variable, where I have then specified the Key. To use the tagger, simply place the cursor in the position that you require the information, and select "Insert Tag".. Simples right ??

Now because the template is in an Office 365 document library all you have to do is hit save and close, to commit the changes to the template document.

All in all, this new functionality can be used in a multitude of situations, whether it is to round out some sort of field inspection with a report, that can be then filed away sending to a record center for policy application. Or use the connectors to upload the document to a cloud based document store. If the report needs a signature before sending off to it end destination, you have the DocuSign option to capture that. Generating quotes, excel datasheets and customer specific sales PowerPoint presentation all become possible.

Go ahead and have a play and let me know how you plan to use it.. Stay tuned for a heap of new content that will start rolling out over the coming weeks around how to use the Document Generation action and different usage scenarios.

Until next time happy doc gen..

For more information I highly recommend you head off to to read the help information located here ..


38 replies

That's a pretty nice feature. Will it only work for O365 installations? What about on-premise SP2013?

Regards

Leif

You can't know how much I love it

Our customers will love this too.  It is a fairly common request.

Unfortunately, most of our customers are running on-premise, not cloud.  What is the story for on-prem?  Is it going to be supported?  Any indication of timelines?

Great functionality for O365 customer, i'm not there yet.

For On-prem, you can create a Word template as a content type within a document library and with the help of Content Controls, you can generate the same template. I guess getting this into On-prem workflow will be short-cut to the steps that can be done today.

Defiantly would like to hear if this is coming on-prim as well. Its a pain at times to turn your form into a pdf.

Awesome feature

This is going to be so useful for my clients with there approvals of documents that they need to keep in a pdf or word form. As well as purchasing documents that goes through process.

Any news yet on when this will be released to on-perm, as this would do wonders for my client?

What is the Trial Quota, does that mean only 50 documents can be created or 50 templates?

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The trial is fully functional 50 doc creations

Has there been any news on if or when this is going to be available on-prem?

hey Dan Stoll​ or others, is there anyway to add images from SharePoint into a Powerpoint presentation?

HI Jesse,

It's sadly not possible yet.

Hi Dan,

Is there any word on this being available on-prem?

Thanks!

Kimberley

Announced for January 2017 :-)

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Hey Jesse, further to ‌ post. The new Doc Gen actions for onprem will be a lot more advanced than the current O365 one. In turn the new Doc Gen capability will be available in O365 shortly after on-prem. I haven't tried it out yet, but I believe adding images will be possible, along with a heap of other capabilites. As soon as I get a chance to use I will update this thread, or maybe create a new blog post. 

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Hi ‌, The new Doc Gen service is ready and on-prem actions will be released very soon. At latest January 2017. Stay tuned to the ‌ for updates. 

‌ exciting times ahead! Thanks for the update 

Hi there, we are trying to use the document generation action for a very similar business use case. We have field employees who fill out basic forms and need PDFs with images to be generated. We use the multiple attachment sections to make sure that employees attach images with the question that they are responding to.

Using the document generation functionality, it does not look like you can include a dynamic number of images. One can only add a reference one image at a time. This does not work, if you have a dynamic number of attachments, and it would be bad programming practice to include ex.10 place holder images in the template document. 

  • Does anyone have a suggestion for including a dynamic number of images? 
  • Does the document generation workflow use timer job? I waited 12 minutes and the workflow was stuck on the document generation function.  

We are using SP2013 on-prem with the latest version of Nintex workflows installed. Thanks for help on this topic. 

Hi Ryan Reed

The only way around this at present is, as you say, 10 placeholder images in the document. 

However! You can use conditions. So you can have a template with 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 - and have the workflow choose the appropriate template.

Here is how I have done it (though I don't talk about the templates option here)

 

Hi

There is actually a way to include a dynamic number of images without having to use a pre-defined set of images and that's by using Table data.

Table data provides a data type of "Image URL" and if you pass it a collection of URL's then it will output each image in the collection regardless of how many you have. If you want all the images to be the same size then use a placeholder, otherwise if will output the exact size of the image.

I guess the other thing would be that it outputs these in a table meaning it would be one after the other, the way i have done this previously in the template is by using a single column/cell table and removed the borders so that way you wouldn't even know it's a table especially when in pdf. 

If you looking to get attachments then look at using the Call HTTP Web Service action get all the attachment url part of the list item e.g.  {Workflow Context:Current site URL}‍_api/web/lists/GetByTitle('‍{Workflow Context:List Name}‍')/Items(‍{Current Item:ID}‍)/AttachmentFiles

Rhia Wieclawek‌ 

Let me know how you go..

Cheers, Rick

This feature is now available for On-Prem also

This feature is now available for On-Prem as well

Hey ‌ you can now add images as well.

I think that this is only true for O365 - as there is no "Image URL" data type in tables for On-Prem (please correct me if I am wrong, perhaps I am missing something!) It would also make captioning the individual photos difficult (if you are looking to caption underneath each one.)

Rick De Marco

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