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Microsoft Office 2003 add-ins

For Microsoft Windows users, a natural way of working with the files is by using the Microsoft Office tools. It would be a tedious job for Content Managers to have to search and locate the documents using an Alfresco web client, copy them onto their local desktop, edit them, upload them to Alfresco, and secure them. How about having all of the features mentioned above in your choice of editor itself?

Alfresco provides Office add-ins for MS Word 2003, MS Excel 2003, and MS PowerPoint 2003, to allow them to manage the content directly from those tools. This improves the productivity of Content Managers.

Support for Microsoft Office 2007

Although the Alfresco add-ins were developed for Microsoft Office 2003, they are also compatible with Microsoft Office 2007.

If you are using Microsoft Office 2007 on Windows Vista, then the add-in is not effective, as it provides read-only access to the repository. Unfortunately, this is a known problem with Vista, as Microsoft has rewritten the WebDAV parts of Vista. You may consider the workarounds that are provided at the following URL:

http://blogs.msdn.com/sharepoint/archive/2007/10/19/known-issue-office-2007-on-windows-vista-prompts-for-user-credentials-when-opening-documents-in-a-sharepoint-2007-site.aspx

Installation

Download the Alfresco office add-ins (ZIP file) from the source forge web site, by visiting the following URL:

http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=143373&package_id=237030

An individual installer (for Microsoft Word, Excel, and Power Point), as well as a combined installer, is available for download. Select an appropriate add-into download.

Unzip the ZIP file and run the Setup.exe file contained within it. The set-up program will download the components that are needed, from the Microsoft web site.

Once the set-up is complete, you can open the Office tool and use the add-in. For example, for MS Word 2003, you will notice a new button named Alfresco. For MS Word 2007, you will notice the add-in, as shown in the following screenshot:

Extending Document Management in Alfresco 3

Configuration

Click on the Alfresco button to open the add-in window. You need to configure the add-in, by clicking on the link provided at the bottom of the add-in window.

Provide the URL details for the web client, WebDAV, and CIFS, as shown in the upcoming screenshot. No matter how you access the repository, you will still have to go through Alfresco’s security rules. Provide the Userid and password for the purpose of authentication. The access to the Alfresco repository will be based on the authorization of the user.

Click on the Save Settings button to go the main screen. If you have more than one Alfresco server to connect to, then you might have to manually change the settings as needed. Currently, there is no facility for storing the settings for more than one Alfresco server.

Extending Document Management in Alfresco 3

Features of MS Word add-in

The Alfresco add-in allows you to carry out the following activities directly from Microsoft Word. Refer to the following screenshot for more details:

Extending Document Management in Alfresco 3

  • My Alfresco: Displays the My Alfresco dashlets
  • Browse Spaces: Browses the entire repository for spaces and files.
  • Search: Searches the repository for keywords.
  • View Details: Views the details of the selected document.
  • Workflow: Starts workflow for the active document.
  • Tags: Allows you to add tags to the document.
  • Transform to PDF: Transforms the selected MS Word document into PDF.
  • Insert into Word: Inserts the selected document into Microsoft Word for editing.
  • Save to Alfresco: Saves the current document to the current space. If the document has not been given a filename yet, then a pop-up panel will prompt you for one.

Editing a file in Word

To edit a file in Microsoft Word, double-click on the file name. The file is opened directly for editing. The MS Word file is locked for others, while it is being edited by you, as shown in the upcoming screenshot. You can perform all of the Alfresco repository activities, such as adding new tags and initiating a workflow approval process. Saving the file in Microsoft Word will directly save it in the Alfresco repository. If auto version is enabled, then it will be versioned automatically.

When you close the file in MS Word, or exit from MS Word, the file will be unlocked in the repository.

Extending Document Management in Alfresco 3

Recovering deleted content

When you delete an item (either content or space) in Alfresco, the item is not deleted from the server, but is moved to a temporary store called Archive Space Store. This gives you a chance to recover items that were deleted. Deleted items will be kept in the temporary store forever, until you decide to either recover or purge them. These features are available to administrators through the Manage Deleted Items action.

To test these features, log in as an administrator, create a couple of dummy files in any space, and then delete them. Click on the User Profile Icon  Extending Document Management in Alfresco 3 option, located above the menu item, and then click on the Manage Deleted Items button. The Manage Deleted Items pane appears, as shown in the following screenshot:

Extending Document Management in Alfresco 3

You can list all of the deleted content by clicking on the Show All button, as highlighted in the preceding screenshot. You can also search for deleted items by name, by content, by date, or by the person who deleted it, by using the search options provided. Select the item that you previously deleted, and then click on the Recover Listed Items icon, as shown in the preceding screenshot. You will notice that the item is recovered to the original space.

When an item is recovered, it is removed from the archive space store and moved to the original space from which it was deleted.

Purged items are deleted forever and cannot be recovered. Because the deleted items will otherwise be in the temporary store forever, it is a good practice to purge them periodically. It is also recommended that you take regular backups of your data.

 


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