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Learn how to create an alternative layout in FlexiLayout Studio for ABBYY FlexiCapture.

 

Hello. Today I'd like to show you how we can use ABBYY FlexiLayout Studio to create an Alternate FlexiLayout or what we sometimes refer to as an Alternative FlexiLayout. And the reason why we would have an alternate is because we want to extract the same information from a variety of different forms, but the look and the feel and the structure of those forms are drastically different. And in this case we would want to tell the software that we're going to use alternates and we'll direct the software, how to figure out which alternative to use. The first thing I'm going to show you is what the documents look like. I have two transcripts and one is just from a generic like a homeschool document and the other one is from a document from Doe High School and I've already created the first one for us so that we don't have to worry about this and waste video time to do so.

But this is the typical structure where you would add your search elements, define the header so that we can figure out which form this is and process those accordingly. Now I'm just going to add an alternate tier by right clicking at the very top of the tree and go in to add FlexiLayout Alternative. When I do that I will get a new set of search elements and you can see here I now have brand new search elements. And at this point I may want to rename these so that I can tell later on downstream which alternate is selected by the software. In this case, our typical document processing and FlexiLayout design happens just the same, so we will define a header and the header is very crucial because this is going to tell us how we locate this document and what makes it stand apart differently than the other ones.

And then of course we can have a footer. I disabled it in this case, but we can reference other footers. Now for ease of this video, I'm not going to describe how we would go and process the results accordingly, but you can see, I'm trying to find a student name and a GPA and just like any other FlexiLayout, we can add logic to go find that information using labeled fields and relations and all those cool little features that we have within the FlexiLayout Studio. But for today's demo, I'm not going to do this. I'm just going to create the placeholders. So I'm just going to say this would be our student name and then of course we would provide logic and how to extract that in your forms and maybe I'm just going to select a different one for GPA. So now that we have the information being extracted and of course you can test and tune your documents, we would create a block. When we create a block, we will add the type of block, for example, student name, and this is where it actually becomes pretty important. We want to tell the software for this layout. So when you go to the Homeschool layout, I want you to reference the Homeschool student name and then you want to select alternative layouts and make sure you set the source element as well. And the software will automatically, of course with intelligence go to the proper FlexiLayout search element for us here.

So now I can see in the Doe Alternate FlexiLayout, I want to get it from this source and in the Homeschool I want to get it from this source and just to keep it very basic, we'll do another one. This is going to be our GPA.

And in the Homeschool one we want to reference this GPA and in the Doe one we want to reference this GPA from this source element. So creating these different Alternate Layouts now has given us a lot of flexibility in where we control how the software extracts that information. Now let me just be clear. The normal designing and logic of a FlexiLayout still happens. So you want to define your headers and footers when and if applicable. You want to define your search elements and your relationships, and your grouping. Just like normal, but the only thing we're dictating here is which FlexiLayout Alternate is being used. Now some things that is handy to do when you have an alternate is to be able to set the layout here. So we know that this one is going to be Homeschool.

And we know that this one is going to be Doe and the cool part is is now when we match, we can see here some logic that tells us when a document is referenced. So if it's a certain check mark, we can tell that the software has referenced those for us. Now, just like normal FlexiCapture Studio, we would want to process these and test and make sure that what's matching is green. And then of course we would export it. And just to show you on the other side how things look, I will open our project setup station.

So in our project setup station I've created a document definition and uploaded that FlexiLayout that we exported. But to show you the results here, you can see that even though I have one document definition, the content and location of those fields differ based on the layout. So this is a very cool way for us to kind of be able to dictate which layout the software is using, but have one FlexiLayout so that way we don't have to have multiple document definitions for the same content. And so later on downstream we can have the same workflow, the same rules, the same export path that every other document in this document definition will have. So it's a really good way for us to have one document definition and apply one FlexiLayout with Alternates here. So I hope you enjoyed this video! Please feel free to reach out to us if we can help you with anything!

Information about the Author
Travis Spangler
About Me
Articles by Travis Spangler: Travis writes articles dealing with various technical aspects of document capture and forms processing. He is fluent in Microsoft.NET and holds several certifications including ABBYY FlexiCapture and IRISXTract. As general manager and sales director, he controls the daily operations as well as manages customer accounts to ensure both customers and prospects are receiving the very best from UFC, Inc. Travis has many years of experience with document capture software and content management systems. He also has wide areas of expertise including custom functions in ABBYY FlexiCapture, email API's, Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services, and many other applications and platforms. He has integrated Amazon Web Services EC2 instances with several applications including the company's CRM system.
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