MetaServer

Process scanned and electronic PDF documents imported from folders or email inboxes.

More than ever, documents arrive as electronic PDFs attached to an email or are scanned with MFP devices (multi-functional printers / digital copiers).

MFPs are not directly connected to an end-user PC like a traditional scanner, but are network devices scanning documents as PDF files to folders or email.

MetaServer is developed with this new trend in mind. It can watch folders and email inboxes and, regardless of the input, process the scanned PDF files and electronic PDF email attachments. It dynamically names and organizes them using text extraction and easy to configure rules.

It automatically switches between electronic text extraction, in case of electronic PDFs attached to emails, and OCR extraction, in case of a scanned image.

Typically, organizations use their MFPs to generate PDF files with a random name generated by the machine. Next, the user finds the PDF file, renames it and puts it in the correct folder structure. This process is OK for the occasional scan but if you have to process multiple documents, it is cumbersome and prone to error.

This is where MetaServer comes in. You just scan the documents and that’s it. Relevant data is automatically extracted and used to organize the PDFs in folders and apply a meaningful name to each PDF.

MetaServer Server runs as a background service to perform a number of automatic processes such as:

  • Import PDF files from folders and sub folders
  • Watch email inboxes and detach PDF attachments
  • Separate documents based on rules
  • Auto-Detect PDF Type: Extract data accessing the text of an electronic PDF without passing through OCR or automatically use OCR if the PDF is image-only
  • Complete data by means of database lookup
  • Check validity of data using validation rules
  • Export the result to one or more destinations of choice

MetaServer Organizer is used to visually organize documents.

For example, if you scan a large number of invoices with the ADF (Automatic Document Feeder) of a multifunctional printer, they arrive as a single PDF containing multiple invoices.

With the Organizer, you can visually separate the PDF using virtual separator sheets. The Organizer can also be used to delete pages and change the sequence of the documents.

MetaServer Validation: if the server is not able to extract data automatically, you can use the validation client to complete the data using a number of techniques such as: 

  • Select Text tool
  • Select Barcode tool
  • Database Lookup
  • Manual Data entry

To speed up the validation process, the extracted data is highlighted on the document. If the data is found on another page, the correct page is automatically displayed.

For example, the total amount on the document below was found on the last page in the bottom corner. By simply navigating in the Total Due field, the viewer jumps to the last page and highlights the zone where the data was found.

Validation can be configured to only display documents with invalid data. Documents with correct data would go straight through without any user interaction.

MetaServer processes PDF files generated by any device that can scan to folder or to email. Or you can ask your customers / vendors to email PDF documents to a dedicated email address watched by MetaServer.

Documents are
scanned to folder or emails arrive in
watched email inbox
MetaServer automatically processes these documents Optionally, use the
Validation client(s)
to organize and validate
the documents
The documents are exported to the specified destination(s)

In its most basic configuration, you can run MetaServer and Validation on a single workstation.

But you can also run MetaServer as an unattended service on a separate machine to do all the automatic processing and have users validate the documents on their PC.

No Coding, Only Configuration

Instead of using custom scripting unique for each implementation, you set up MetaServer using a range of actions, such as “Import”, “Extract”, “Validate”, etc. with easy to configure setup panels.

For example, this is how the Import from Folder setup looks like:

MetaServer Functionality

MetaServer Workflows

MetaServer configurations are defined in the Administration screen in the “Workflows” tab.

In a workflow you define how to process a certain document type. It’s a combination of actions and rules to process the document and goes all the way from import over extraction, validation to final export.

Typically, you have a workflow per document type. For example, a vendor invoice workflow, a POD workflow, a delivery ticket workflow and so on.

In combination with a multi-functional printer, you would define hot buttons for each workflow that scan to the correct folder watched by each workflow.

Scan buttons on your MFP panel could, for example, look like this:

The user would just press the button corresponding to his document type and MetaServer does the rest.

This is how a workflow looks like in MetaServer:

You can also visualize your workflow by pressing the Graph button:

Before defining a workflow, you need a set of sample documents. You will use these to test your Extraction rules. You will be able to select the folder holding your sample documents and test your rules on any of the documents in your sample set.

This is an overview of the functionality of the Administration client:

A workflow consists of different actions. Examples of these actions are:

  • Import from Folder
  • Organize
  • Extract
  • Export to Folder
  • Etc.

To construct a workflow, you simply add actions by means of the Add button.

You typically start with the last action, the “Export” action. Any actions added after defining the Export action, will then automatically be connected to each other.

This is a short summary of the available actions:

  • Import Email: import email from a specified inbox (using IMAP).
  • Import from Folder: import PDF files from a specified folder and its sub folders.
  • Organize: send the file to the organizer to separate the document, edit the order of pages, delete pages, etc.
  • Extract: define a sequence of rules to extract and format data.
  • Validate: based on the validation rules, send invalid documents to the validation viewer to complete or check the data.
  • Export to Email: send the result to a specified email address.
  • Export to Folder: send the result to a folder or FTP Server.
  • Forward Email: forward the original imported email to a specified email address.

MetaServer Organizer

If a PDF first needs to be separated in multiple PDFs, you can first go through the organizer. The organizer is another view in Validation and looks like this:

Organizer features the following functions:

  • Separation
  • Merging
  • Rotation
  • Deletion
  • Moving
  • Reject set
  • Triple undo
  • Preview

MetaServer Validation

If the server is not able to extract one or more data fields automatically, you can use the validation client to complete the data using a number of techniques such as:

  • Select Text tool
  • Select Barcode tool
  • Database Lookup
  • Manuel Data entry

TIP: You can always check the document counters in the left corner of the Organizer & Validation viewer.

1) Documents: total documents currently in progress

2) In Organizer / In Validation: total documents currently in the Organizer / Validation.

3) Skipped: total documents that were skipped in Organizer / Validation.

The counters between parentheses show the total reserved documents in that mode.

How Does MetaServer Compare to Kofax Express with MetaTool?

Kofax Express with MetaTool is recommended when you want to use a production scanner directly connected to your PC through USB. Production scanners are ideal for high-speed, high-volume document scanning.

MetaServer is recommended in combination with MFPs, networked devices, network scanners or scan-to-folder oriented systems such as Fujitsu ScanSnap. It is also recommended to process electronic PDFs or documents that arrive as attachments to email.