FolderMill User Guide

This is the comprehensive guide to FolderMill.

FolderMill is a server-based software able to automate converting and printing of multiple files as well as some other tasks with the use of Hot Folders.

Hot folder monitoring software

Getting Started

Primary Actions

Additional Actions

Miscellaneous

Getting Started

Initial Setup

To get started, please download and install FolderMill. 

On the first launch of the program, the Initial Setup menu appears. You'll be prompted to enter the default FolderMill Data Directory where Hot Folders will be located. It is recommended that you keep this folder at the default location (C:\FolderMill Data) to avoid any issues with accessibility.

But you can change the default location to any other one by clicking the "Browse" icon – a local or a network folder path can be used. If you're not ready to decide yet, keep it default. You will be able to select another location later in the program's General Settings.

Initial setup of FolderMill

FolderMill Control Panel

FolderMill Control Panel overview

Start button runs FolderMill real-time processor.

Hot Folders section manages Hot Folders. Click New Hot Folder to create a new Hot Folder and assign Actions to it. Available controls:  

  • Edit – edit settings of a selected Hot Folder;
  • Duplicate – make a copy of a selected Hot Folder;
  • Delete – remove selected Hot Folder (including or not including is subfolders);

Export or Import – save or load rule files as a .rule file or a ZIP archive with all rules and settings;

Dashboard displays information on currently processed files and indicates active Hot Folders.

Task manager provides information about the program's processes, somewhat similar to the Windows Task Manager. It allows checking current tasks and includes relevant information about the status of each processed file.

Settings menu manages FolderMill's General Settings. They include Run FolderMill as service, paths to FolderMill folders, Multitasking mode, response timeouts, and more.

Events log opens a record log of all operations. You can browse between General log, Completed jobs log, and Error log.

About opens a window with information about the program version, web links to purchase the full version page, FolderMill homepage, link to the support service page, and information about the program's build.

Status bar displays the current status of FolderMill: Inactive, Waiting for documents…, or Processing active Hot Folders.

Hot Folder Settings

FolderMill Hot Folder Settings

After creating a Hot Folder, you'll see the Hot Folder Settings menu. In this menu:

Name of the Hot Folder. You can enter a preferred name for your convenience to distinguish between multiple Hot Folders.

Folder is active/paused toggle enables you to pause this Hot Folder. Any Hot Folder can be paused while others are up and running. Resume its work by clicking this toggle button.

Set the Source for incoming files (a location where FolderMill checks for new files). It can be:

Priority lets you set Hot Folder priority: High, Normal, or Low. Files sent to a high-priority folder will be processed first.

Use file mask – this is a file filter that can be optionally used to include (Process only) or exclude (Process all except) incoming files. When the Process only option is selected, only those files that meet specified criteria are processed. All other files are kept intact and will remain in the Incoming folder. To configure this file filter, you can enter multiple masks separated by comma. Masks may contain commonly used wildcards (e.g., * or ?).

Rescan period sets a period when FolderMill will check for new files in the Source (Incoming folder). In other words, it sets time intervals when the program should "scan" the Hot Folder and take action. By default, it is set to 1 sec.

Move source files to "Processed" folder setting controls what to do with the source files. By default, it is enabled, and the original source files are automatically moved to the "Processed" folder. You can also define time intervals when to delete the source files – using the setting Delete files in "Processed" after

If you leave this option unchecked, the source files that were placed in the Incoming folder will be permanently deleted.

Sort files by – this setting can sort incoming files by a specific parameter, such as name, type or date. Please note that the files will be sorted only after the retrieval of a group of files from the Source.
The default setting is Unsorted. If you need a strict order of file processing, you can select different options (e.g., Name, Type, Date, Size, Path). But in this case, multitasking for that Hot Folder will be disabled to maintain the sort order.

Sorting files By name is convenient especially if you want to merge incoming files using the same file name.

Create new Action Set – this button adds Actions to be assigned to the current Hot Folder (Add new Action). By clicking the Create new Action Set button, you can create independent combinations of Actions. An Action Set may include a set of Actions that will be performed consecutively. Each Action Set starts working by processing the original source files.

Advanced settings – this button opens all existing Hot Folder settings. In most cases, you won't need to change them unless it was advised by our support service.

FolderMill Data Directory

If you choose Folder as Source, the program will usually create 3 subfolders in the Hot Folder (located by default at C:\FolderMill Data\Hot Folders\1):

Incoming folder is where input files are placed by users or another software. Drag'n'drop or copy files into this folder.

Output is a folder where output documents or images will be stored after being processed by FolderMill.

Processed is a folder where original input files will be saved after processing (if Move source files to "Processed" folder is enabled).

For your convenience, create shortcuts for each Hot folder or its subfolders for any user involved via LAN network or Internet. Thus, multiple users can work with the documents together.

Adding and Combining Actions

The Add new Action button creates a new Action in the Action Set. You can add a single Action, a combination of Actions within an Action Set, or even several parallel independent Action Sets. 
When there's a series of Actions in the Action Set, each incoming file undergoes a series of operations. For example, you can make up combinations such as:
Filter by filename  → Add text or file watermarkConvert to ImagePrint document.

Several Action Sets within one Hot Folder are usually created when the first Action is a Filter by… Action.

After you’ve added all the desired Actions, you can swap them – click and hold an Action icon and move it left or right between others to arrange them in proper order. Then, release the mouse button to place it where necessary.

Adding and combining Actions

According to the configuration on the screenshot above, all incoming TXT (.txt) files will be converted to PDF and then printed. All others (non-TXT files) will be sent to the folder "C:\Out".

Where to find the output (converted) files?
For each Convert to… (and Copy document) Action, an output location can be defined in the Action settings (see Output folder). You can change the output folder path as needed – this is the place where the resultant files will be placed once processed. 

Convert to Image Action output folder location

What happens if you uncheck "Output folder"?

You can disable the Output folder option for some Actions. In this case, files won't be saved at this point, but they will be passed on to the next Action. Disabling this option is mainly needed if you want to send processed files to an email box or FTP server as a final Action (Send to Email, Upload to FTP).

How to pass on to the following Action

Primary Actions

Primary Actions in FolderMill

Primary Action is the one that can work on its own – no other Actions are required.

Print Document Action

This Action allows you to print documents to a selected printer using certain printing preferences. You can choose basic print settings like page range and the number of copies. Besides, you can adjust page scaling, enable or disable printing email attachments, and automatic rotation to landscape or portrait orientation.

Besides, you can access your printer properties by clicking the Properties button. From there you can manage other options (e.g., RGB or CMYK color mode or a custom color profile) that will depend on your printer model.

Want to print to several printers at the same time? You can automate printing to different printers with FolderMill.

Once the Action is configured and FolderMill Processor starts running, you can simply place documents into the Incoming folder – the files will be immediately sent to the selected printer.

Learn more about Print document Action →

Convert to PDF

Convert to PDF action

This Action allows you to convert your files into PDF format:

  • Existing file: Create new file, Overwrite, Skip;
  • Multipage mode allows you to choose either of 4 options:
    • As in original file

      Keep the structure of original source files

    • Split into single pages

      Create a separate PDF file from each page of the source document

    • Append to existing PDF file

      Add new files as pages to the existing file with the same filename (in the end of the document)

    • Insert before existing PDF file

      Add new files as pages to the existing file with the same filename (in the beginning of the document)

      Append to… and Insert before existing PDF file options can help you create a combined multipage PDF out of several various files all merged into one.

Create searchable PDFs (OCR)

FolderMill can recognize text in the source files and keep it in the output PDF files. To enable OCR processing in FolderMill, please download and install an additional OCR package.

Create searchable PDFs (OCR) - Convert to PDF

Convert to Image

This Action has the following settings:

  • Existing file: Create new file, Overwrite, Skip;
  • Image format: JPEG, PNG, or TIFF. For each format, you can choose color space, output file quality, resolution, and resize options for the output image;
  • Compression (for TIFF format) allows to select Default, Flate, LZW, or JPEG compression method for TIFF files;
  • Multipage (for TIFF format) mode allows you to choose either of 4 options:
    • As in original file

      Keep the structure of original source files

    • Split into single pages

      Create a separate TIFF file from each page of the source document

    • Append to existing TIFF file

      Add new files as pages to the existing file with the same filename (in the end of the document)

    • Insert before existing TIFF file

      Add new files as pages to the existing file with the same filename (in the beginning of the document)

      Append to… and Insert before existing TIFF file options can help you create a combined multipage TIFF out of several various files all merged into one.

  • Rasterization resolution defines the resolution and quality for rasterized vector files (e.g., PDF, VSD, CDR, AI, PSD). The value for DPI (Dots Per Inch) is 300 by default; we recommend setting it up to 1200 maximum;
  • Resize output image allows to set a certain size for the output files (in pixels): Don’t resize, Fit rectangle, Fit width, Fit height, Thumbnail (fit rectangle and fill color).

Convert to XPS

Convert to XPS Action

This Action lets you automate file conversion to XPS format.

You can make the XPS output file size smaller – just check the box next to Minimize file size in the Action's Advanced settings.

Copy document

‘Copy document’ action

This Action creates copies of the incoming files and transfers them to a specified location. Set path to the new folder by clicking the folder icon.

Besides, you can modify the output folder path by using built-in macros. To do it, click the Macro button and add regular expressions, date/time, or filename. For example, you can enter file path: C:\Output\{srcfilename}

Send to Email

Send to Email

This Action provides sending incoming files to a specified email address via SMTP protocol. 

You can configure the subject and the body of the email and set other parameters. By default, the recipient will get an email with the subject: "{DocName}" received from FolderMill. The document comes as an attachment to it.

Want to be notified only when new files appear in the Source and not receive attached files via email? Uncheck the Attach document to Email option.

Upload to FTP

Upload files to FTP automatically

FolderMill can automatically upload files to an FTP server. FTP (File Transfer Protocol), FTPS (FTP with TLS/SSL), and SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol) protocol types are supported.

You may use a specific path by filling the Target FTP folder setting or leave it blank to use the default directory.

Run custom application

Run custom application Action settings

Run custom application – this Action allows you to execute an application or a script file. Additionally, you can set command line parameters. This Action is usually used to perform some custom operations that are beyond the scope of FolderMill functionality.

  • Path to application or a script file: set path to .exe, .bat, or another executable file to run an application or a script (e.g., to run a PowerShell script);
  • Command line parameters: set additional parameters for the application or script used. Using the {=} button, you can add macros: Source document full path, Source document name;
  • Run in hidden mode – if this option is enabled, FolderMill does not show the window of executed application or script;
  • Wait until process is finished – if this option is enabled, FolderMill waits and does not resume its work until the application or script process is completed.

Additional Actions

Additional Actions are designed to work for pre-processing files before Primary Actions, e.g., to filter or rename files. They can't work on their own, but must be followed by another Action in order to take effect. 

Filter by file contents

Filter incoming files by text (Filter File by Contents Action)

Process or skip certain files according to text inside documents. FolderMill will search for specific text and let documents or individual pages with this text go further to the next Action (Process only…). Alternatively, you can prevent some files from being processed (Process all… except those). Besides plain text, you can also use commonly used wildcards:

  • Asterisk (star, *). The asterisk is the wildcard character which stands for any string of characters (or no characters at all).
  • Question mark (?). The question mark matches a single arbitrary character.

Filter by filename

Filter by filename

This Action allows you to filter incoming files by file name and/or file extension and pass them through to the next Action. Define which files are to be processed or ignored according to the filename mask (Process only documents or Process all documents except those). Any text or common wildcard characters can be used (e.g., * or ?).

Learn more about Filter by filename Action →

Filter by number of pages

Filter by number of pages

This Filter Action can filter incoming files according to the number of pages inside a document. Enter the number of pages and select a relational operator.

It can help you, for example, send documents with many pages to one printer and those with few pages – to another.

Filter by page size

Filter incoming files by paper size

Filter by page size Action lets you process certain documents depending on their page size. Configure paper size by setting a custom or pre-defined format (e.g., A4 or Letter, etc.).

Using this Action, you can also distribute documents to different print queues by combining different size filters. For example, documents with pages less than A3 format may be sent to a small office printer whereas larger documents (A3 or larger) go to the plotter.

Learn more about Filter by page size Action →

Add text or file watermark

This action allows you to apply either a Text watermark or a File watermark (image watermark) to a document or а group of documents.

Text watermark settings

Add image or text watermark automatically

You can add a text watermark to incoming documents. There's a variety of available settings to adjust a watermark. You can select font, font size, formatting, text color, background, position, rotation, page range, and other parameters.

Besides, there's a set of macros (Macro) that allow you to add page numbers, a total number of pages, date/time, source folder name/path, original filename, and more.

Learn more about Text Watermark

File watermark settings

Click the folder icon and choose an image, a PDF, or an HTML to be used as a watermark. 

Add file watermark option

You can adjust the watermark's alignment, rotation, opacity, and set margins. You can also change page range and watermark size. For instance, it is possible to resize it using a percentage of page size.

Learn more about File Watermark

Rename document

“Rename document” action macros

This Action changes names of processed documents. By default, it is set to {srcfilename}.{srcfileext} – source file name, source file extension. Rename document Action is used to:

  • Mark files by date/time;
  • Group files for further combining & merging them;
  • Simplify names of files or apply a certain naming pattern.

Besides just text, you can also use various macros (Macro) that can extract file properties (EXIF, metadata, date/time, etc.) and apply them to the filename.


Miscellaneous

Activation & licensing

When you install the commercial version, you are prompted to activate the program at the first launch. For automatic activation, keep the option Get activation code automatically (recommended) selected and click Next.

FolderMill Activation dialog

If automatic activation fails and throws an error, shut down and restart the FolderMill Control Panel. If the error persists, try manual activation (see steps below) or contact our Support.

Manual activation
If the automatic activation is not possible due to no Internet access, lack of admin rights or another reason, follow the steps below. 

  1. Select Enter activation code manually;
  2. Open the link activation.fcoder.com;
  3. Click the Get Activation Code button;
  4. Copy the generated Activation Code;
  5. Enter the Activation Code in the FolderMill Activation window and choose Next.  

Automatic activation doesn't work? You can get the activation code using any other web-connected device (another computer, smartphone or tablet) and then enter it where FolderMill is being activated.

The fCoder Activation Server (activation.fcoder.com) can be accessed from any Internet-connected device. Still, if you have any difficulty activating your license, please contact our support.

How to back up your FolderMill configuration and settings

Once you have set up everything, we advise you to backup settings and Hot Folders. To do it, open the FolderMill Control Panel and click the Export button. You'll be prompted to save all current rules and settings as a .zip file.

Please note that when you reinstall FolderMil, the user account of FolderMill Service might be reset to the default local system account.

When you upgrade from free trial to the full-featured commercial version or from older to newer version, your FolderMill configuration (Hot Folders and rules) are kept safe on your computer.

Convert password-protected Word, PDF files, and archives

Convert password-protected Word, PDF files, and archives

FolderMill can process Word files, PDFs and RAR, ZIP, 7ZIP archives with password protection. FolderMill doesn't have access to such files until you enter a password (or list of passwords) to handle password-protected files. 

  1. Add Convert to Image or Convert to PDF Action;
  2. Open Advanced settings;
  3. Find entry Password list;
  4. Enter a password and click OK. You can enter multiple passwords (each on a separate line).

FolderMill will try all passwords you've entered in order to process each incoming password-protected archive, Word or PDF file.

Want to password-protect output files? Enter a password next to the setting Destination file password in the Action's Advanced Settings.

Customize alert notifications

In order to instantly get any warnings or errors on file or folder access restrictions or other types of notifications, you can enable sending them to your email in the General Settings

Get alert notifications via email

Drag’n’drop files into Incoming folder

Once the Hot Folders are configured and FolderMill is running – just copy the files to the Incoming folder (Source) and get the output files from the Output folder or printouts from the printer. We recommend creating shortcuts for each Hot Folder and its subfolders for every end-user involved.

If you have any questions on FolderMill features, configuration or need help with specific tasks to be performed, please feel free to contact us!

Please note that screenshots in this article are valid for FolderMill version 5.0.