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Convert PDF with Watch Folders in 5 Steps

Learn how to set up an automated process to convert PDF with Watch Folders. In this overview, we will use the free evaluation versions of WatchDirectory and Visual integrity’s PDF Conversion Server.

Before you begin, download both programs and install them following all on-screen instructions and any additional information in the readme files. Accept the default settings. Once the programs are loaded, you are ready to begin setting up your automated PDF Conversion project using watch, or hot folders.

Convert PDF with Watch Folders for the First Time

We suggest completing the tutorial the first time without changing any of the options presented to ensure a positive result. Once you have finished this tutorial, you should feel comfortable experimenting with the options to set up your own automated PDF conversion project.

5 Steps to Convert PDF using Watch Folders

Time to Follow Steps 20 minutes

  • Start a New Watch Folder Project

    Launch WatchDirectory and select New Task from the Control Center. We will set up a process to convert PDF files into editable DXF drawings. Also, create 2 new directories; one to accept PDF (c:\watchdirin) files and one for the DXF output (c:\watchdirout).

  • Make a Program Connection

    Convert PDF with Watch Folders

    Select the executable to start: Here, you will enter the complete path for the PDF Conversion Server. In a standard installation, it will be:
    C:\Program Files\Visual Integrity\PDF Conversion Server v12\pdf2xxx.exe

    Select the startup directory for the program: This is the directory you created to accept and process PDF files.
    C:\watchdirin

    Enter the parameters to pass to the program: Here, specify the destination directory for the converted files. Since we will be converting into DXF, use xxx.dxf. xxx represents the file name and dxf is the extension. For example:
    %WD_File% “c:\watchdirout\xxx.dxf

  • Specify the Directory to Watch

    On the top line, enter the directory where the PDF input files are processed (watchdirin). If you have not done so already, you need to make sure this directory exists. If not, create it before moving along. Adjust any other settings in this dialog as needed.

    The next screen asks about directories to exclude. We do not use this in our project but you can enter folders here if desired.

  • Create PDF Conversion Filter

    Select “New“. It will bring up a dialog to create a new event filter. Set up a filter where the “extension equals pdf“. When you click OK, you will see the filter added to the screen.

    Review the summary table and use the Test Section to ensure the filter is correct. Add more events if needed and change any that need adjusting. Since this project is just one filter, you can continue to the next screen.

  • Choose Monitoring Method and Triggers

    In the next two screens, specify the monitoring method and the event triggers. For our purposes, the default monitor is fine. For event triggers, select new files and files that have changed in the watch directory. Check FILENEW and FILECHNG.

  • Name the Project

    Skip the options on the next two screens. On the third, give the project a name. We used PDF-Test for this example.

  • Decide How to Run the PDF to DXF Conversion

    When converting PDF with watch folders, there are several ways to launch the process. In our example, we will start it manually. It will continue running in the background until stopped.  It can also be started automatically (using the Start-up menu, or as a Windows Service).

  • Run Project in WatchDirectory Control Center

    Run the program. When completed successfully, the WatchDirectory Control Center will display the PDF Conversion Server project (PDF-Test). As you can see above, it is running.

    Now, when PDF files are saved in c:\watchdirin, they will be automatically converted into DXF files in c:\watchdirout.

Automating PDF Conversion with Watch Folders

Congratulations! If you have reached this point, you have successfully set up an automated PDF conversion project. Now, as long as the process is running, anytime a PDF file appears in the Watch Directory (c:\watchdirin), it will be converted automatically to a DXF file (c:\watchdirout). This type of solution is great for any workflow requiring automated PDF conversion.

If you had any trouble, have questions or want to discuss your project with us, please contact us.

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