From the technical support team we see an increase of support tickets related to publishing issues. With this publication we want to help you to common issues and how to troubleshoot.
The publishing lifecycle of a file
First we would like to explain the publishing lifecycle which the file will go through before it finally will be converted to a PDF.
The to be converted file will be placed in the publishing queue and ends up in the Conversion and Modification section as pending. From here the file is waiting to be processed.
- Files remain in a pending status until the scheduled tasks run (as default every 15 minutes, 5 files will be presented to the input directory of Adlib on the publishing server) or manually forced by an authorized user.
- Adlib opens the file using the native application and when opened it prints the file to PDF using Adlib’s print driver.
- Once the PDF version of the file is created, the activity moves to the modification queue.
- In the modification queue the PDF will be assembled with:
- Header / Footers
- Signature Manifest
- Overlay file with security
- Inline attachments are published.
- Published file moves to the EFP (electronic file path) to be accessed by MasterControl.
As you can read, this is a relative labor full process, which trigger an error easily. When a publishing error occurs an entry is created in the process log (available in the portal).
Common Issues and How to Troubleshoot
Proper configuration can help minimize errors, but you may still experience errors with publishing so it’s helpful to know what to do. The conversion process is where you will see the majority of errors because it deals with document content. You will still see some issues in the Modifications queue, but it’s not quite as common.
Failed to Print File
The most common error is a Failed to Print File, which can be caused by a variety of issues, including:
- Image size and scaling.
- Embedded files and images.
- Hyperlinks to external files.
- Secured documents.
1.Image Size and Scaling
Errors can occur with images in documents if they have been manually resized after being inserted in a document. Adlib reads the image’s original height and width, not the scaled-down size as it appears on the page. If the image’s actual parameters extend outside of the margins, it usually triggers a Failed to Print File error.
To troubleshoot image errors, it’s necessary to check the size of each image in the document:
- Right-click on each graphic in the document and select Size and Position.
- Locate the Scale section near the bottom of the window.
- Scale should show 100 percent. If it shows anything else, the graphic has been manually resized in the document.
- Locate the Original Size section.
- The original size of each graphic should not exceed 7.5 inches x 10 inches – if using .5-inch margins.
- With larger margins, add the margin sizes for each length and width together, and subtract from the full page size (8.5 x 11).
2. Embedded Images and Files
Embedded image errors mostly involve Microsoft Visio and CAD files that have been inserted directly into the document. Using these image types is challenging because Adlib cannot publish the files unless you have Visio and CAD installed on your publishing server – these are expensive applications.
A best practice is to convert these images to a supported image type, such as .png or .jpeg and insert the files into the document as an image. Most Visio and CAD applications provide the option to save the image in a file type that Adlib can read.
Document margins cannot be smaller than .5-inches on all sides. This margin size is set by default in MasterControl.
To check margins in a Microsoft Word or Excel document:
- On the menu bar, select Page Layout > Margins > Custom Margins.
- Ensure that all margins are set to .5 inches.
4. Hyperlinks to External Files
If the document contains a link to a local address, such as on your computer’s desktop, Adlib does not know where to find the file. You can insert paths to external files, but use text instead of a link so users can copy and paste the file path into a browser.
5. Secured Documents
Documents in Word or Excel with security settings activated can cause publishing errors. Checking the security settings on a Word document involves opening the Developer tab. The Developer tab is hidden by default; you can’t see it. To enable the tab, check with your IT department. You can also access the instructions provided by Microsoft.
Once you enable the Developer tab, open Restrict Editing. If the screen displays a button labeled Stop Protection, the document has a security setting that will need to be removed before the document can be published. The reason is that the document is password protected and Adlib doesn’t know your passwords.
To check the security settings on an Excel document:
- Click the Review tab (visible by default).
- If the Changes screen displays a button labeled Unprotected Sheet, the worksheet has a protection that needs to be removed before you can publish. Otherwise, the button is labeled Protect Sheet.
- With Excel 2013, you can also click File. The Info section will have an entry if the document has a security protection.
- Protections are applied at the worksheet level, so you need to check each tab individually.
When you make changes to any document settings, you need to reload the file and send it back through publishing. It’s recommended that you test the publishing process on your test site before moving to your production site.
Secured PDF Documents
Publishing errors can occur with vendor-provided PDF documents that have security protections.
To check security on a PDF document:
- Open the PDF document in Adobe Reader.
- Click File > Properties.
- Click the Security tab.
- Review the Document Security and Document Restrictions Summary section.
- Security Method should display No Security.
Ideally, you would like all options in the Document Restrictions Summary Section to show Allowed. This issue comes up a lot with vendor-provided documents when you try to publish them.
Pop-ups commonly cause a Failed to Open File or FMR Timeout error because of the way Adlib interacts with those files. The types of pop-ups include:
- Microsoft Office security prompts.
- Software registration prompts.
- Microsoft update messages.
- Error pop-ups.
- Any other prompt that requires user interaction to open the file.
To troubleshoot pop-ups:
- Log in to the publishing server as the publishing service account user.
- This account allows you to see what is happening with the files.
- Copy the document to the publishing server.
- Open the document on the server to see if it has any issues that may cause an error.
- Open any new applications you installed on the publishing server to clear any registration prompts that appear when you install a new application.
Other Possible Publishing Issues
Only Icons Published
If the system is publishing only icons instead of the entire document, one option is to pull the icons out, put them into MasterControl separately and link them on the InfoCard. Then you can publish the attachments and links.
Subscripts and Superscripts
If a document’s filename or title contains a subscript or superscript font setting, it may cause an error with publishing. This also applies to attachments. If these font settings are used in the document itself, it shouldn’t cause an error. It’s recommended to avoid using subscripts or superscripts anywhere in a document if possible.