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Document Management: Welcome to the Real Paperless Office

Novell Cool Solutions: Tip
By Jaelynn Williams

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Posted: 1 Jun 1999

No doubt, you've heard all the scuttlebutt about e-mail creating the paperless office: no more printed memos, everything communicated online, and file cabinets on their way to the scrap yard. Works great, you say, as long as you can do all your work through e-mail, but paperless turns into impossible when you need to distribute a document for review, store documents securely for the long haul, share documents with others, or make files, such as graphics and macros, available to your co-workers. What you really need is a way to distribute documents to co-workers and still control who reads them, or the ability to give co-workers your latest and greatest java script without dredging up a disk and walking down the hall?right? Well, settle in and get comfortable because GroupWise Library makes it possible for you to share and control all your documents and files without ever going to the printer or copying a file to a disk. In fact, you can do all this and more without ever leaving GroupWise?much less your office.

Here's an example: You've been late too many times, and now you've been given the tedious task of updating the office phone list. You've got a hard copy on your bulletin board, but who wants to type all those nasty tables again? Certainly not you (or me for that matter). Well, you could scour the office and find out who created the last phone list (check with the tardy people first) and pray he or she still has the file. Or, you could just search for the current phone list in the GroupWise library. You may be late, but you're certainly not stupid, so you use Find to locate the document in the library. Once you've found the old phone list, just drag the document reference (the item that shows in the search results) to your Mailbox and you're ready to roll.

Because you're updating the phone list, you'll need to create a new version of the document. No problem. It's a snap. (First, make sure the author of the document has given you edit rights to the original document.) Just click the document reference (the one you dragged into your Mailbox), click the File menu, click New, and then click Document Version. Type in a description and then make sure Open Document Now is checked. Click OK. Voila! The document is open and you can make your changes. When you're finished, save the document. Now there's an updated version of the phone list in the library.

To make sure you haven't made any mistakes or overlooked any changes (you really need to impress your boss on this one) you can send the phone list around for review. All you need to do is forward the document reference in your Mailbox to everyone you want to take a look at the document. When you get all the comments back (people will be amazed that you did this so quickly), you can double-click the document reference to open the document and make any changes. Before you know it, you're finished.

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Storing Documents in a Library
You can think of GroupWise libraries as an online Library of Congress. Everything is stored in the library, but nobody can see everything in the library?this is a good thing. In fact, not even the system administrator can see the contents of the documents in the library because all the documents are encrypted, which means they are munched and squished into a bunch of non-readable gobbledegook. Now, you are probably wondering what good a library is if you can't see what's in it. Right? Well, just because you can't see your documents doesn't mean GroupWise can't. In fact, you don't have to worry about looking for documents anymore because GroupWise will find the documents for you, and document encryption guarantees you won't have to worry about anyone else looking at your documents either.

A GroupWise library is a lot like a regular library, the kind with lots of musty books on the shelves. Pretend you are in the Library of Congress. Every book in the library has one of those intuitive numbers, such as LC7. 888.c, that identifies it and makes it easy to find. Easy at least for the librarian. Well, GroupWise uses the same type of system to keep track of documents. Every document in the GroupWise library has a number associated with it that identifies it and makes it easy to find. Don't worry, you don't need to remember that pesky little number to find your documents (unless you want to) because Find will locate your documents for you. Find performs a full text search on all the documents in the library, which pretty much eliminates the problem of trying to remember where you saved the latest and greatest copy of your resume. No more hours of frantically searching the network for documents because if you save them in the library, GroupWise will find them. Remember the old adage, ?A place for everything, and everything in its place?? Well, the place for your documents is in your GroupWise library.

What can you store in a library? Just about everything except the kitchen sink. You can keep text files, graphic files, executable files, and more. Let your imagination run wild.

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Getting Documents in the Library
So you're ready to get organized and get your documents in a library, but you have the classic, how-do-you-get-a-camel-through-the-eye-of-a-needle problem. You have oodles and oodles of existing documents that you need to get into the library. No problem. You can use Import Documents to get that camel through without losing a hair. Here's what you do:

In your GroupWise Mailbox, click the File menu, and then click Import Documents. Now, click Add Files, and then click the files you want to put in the library, then click Next twice. (Easy isn't it?) Click Finish to start importing the files. Voila! All the files are in the library and there is a reference for each document in your Cabinet folder.

Great, you say, except you really do have oodles of documents, maybe as many as 400,000, and you don't want to select each one. Well, there is another way. You can drag and drop a directory to import its contents. Here's how you perform the magic.

Open Windows Explorer and select the directory you want to import. Drag the directory to your GroupWise Mailbox and drop it on a folder. Before you know it the files are in the library, there is a reference to each document in the folder, and you are out of the office early.

If you don't want a reference for each document in your folder (400,000 might be just one too many) do a Custom Import. The topic About Importing Documents in online Help tells you all about it.

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Understanding Document References;
They're Not Really Your Documents
Document references are the items that display in your folders and Mailbox that look like documents. But don't believe everything you see. Document references may look like documents, but they're not. Document references are really just imposters of the real documents in the library. Just like a card in a card catalog is a representation of the book on a shelf, a document reference is a placeholder for the document in the library. Before you can do anything with a document (open, edit, delete, check in, check out?you get my drift), you must have a document reference to it in your folder or Mailbox. Without a reference, you're out of luck. Document references are the key to the documents in the library. If you have the reference for a document, you can do anything. That is, anything you have rights to do. If you don't have a document reference, you're stuck.

So where do document references come from? A lot of places. Each time you import a document, create a document, create a new version of a document, or perform a Find, GroupWise puts a document reference for the document in the current folder. (That's the folder you're in when you create the new document, perform the Find, and so on.) Great, you say, but what if I know the number of the document I want to open? Well, if you have a mind that remembers those pesky document numbers, you can create a document reference that points to a specific document. Here is how you do it:

Click the File menu, click New, then click Document Reference. Select the library where the document you want to access is stored. (You have to be on your toes to create a reference this way.) Type in the document number, specify which version of the document you want the reference to point to, and click OK. Voila! You have a document reference and you didn't even get your hands dirty.

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Creating New Documents
You love your GroupWise e-mail, but it's time to get started with your real work. Wait! Don't click that close button yet. You can do all (or at least most) of your work without ever leaving GroupWise. (Which means you won't have to miss any updates from all those groovy list servers you subscribed to.) Do you need to write a report? You can do it from GroupWise. Do you need write a few lines of code? You can do this too. You can create just about any type of document from within GroupWise.

No doubt, you create lots of different documents and you want to be able to create them in lots of different ways. That's why you have the choice of three document templates. (Don't you love all these choices?) A template is the foundation of your documents. Just like the foundation of a house determines the size and shape of the house, a document template outlines the shell of your new document. If you want to base a new document on a document you've stored on your hard drive (obviously, you created this document before you became intimately acquainted with document management), use Select a File. If you want to start from scratch in your favorite application, use Select an Application, or if you just want to base your document on one of the bizillion similar documents created just like it every day in your office, use Select a GroupWise Template.

Now that you're up to speed on the basics, here's what you do to get a new document rolling:

Click the File menu, click New, then click Document. Make sure that Select an Application is selected. All the applications you've installed display in the Applications list box. Click the application you want to use to create your document. If you want to get fancy, you can also select the library where you want to store the document. Click OK. Type a subject for the document. The subject you type here displays in your Mailbox or when the document appears in the results of a Find?so keep it politically correct. Click OK. Voila! The document opens, and you can create your masterpiece.

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Sharing Documents with Others
As the author of a document, you have all the power. You determine who can see your documents in the library and who can edit or delete them. If you are having a good day and the material is pretty dull stuff, you can give everyone rights to view your document. If the document is your household budget or your resume and you don't want these things to become the fodder of office water-cooler gossip, mark the document Not Shared and you are the only person who will ever see it. You can even specify different rights for different versions of a document. Let's say you are writing a brilliant proposal for a new bonus plan. You may want to give your friend in the next cubicle rights to view the current version of the document, but you want to give your boss rights to view only the official version of the document?the one without all the typos and arithmetic errors.

So you're ready to start sharing or not sharing your documents. In fact, your resume is out in the library and you've already heard the snickers in the lunchroom about that reference you made to being the director or something like that. Here's what you need to do to get your resume out of the public eye (sorry, we can't help you if they actually printed it):

Right-click the document reference in your Mailbox or folder, then click Sharing. You're in the drivers seat now. Click Not Shared to lock the document up tight, or click Shared With  to let others see it. When you share a document, you get to specify which rights each person will have to the document (view, edit, delete, or modify sharing). The sharing rights you specify on the Sharing tab are for the whole enchilada (that's all versions of the document). If you want to specify different sharing rights for different versions of the documents, click Version Level Security and have a heyday determining who gets what rights to each version of the document. Enjoy it! You'll probably never experience this type of power again around the office.

If you want more detailed information about the individual sharing rights, be sure to read About Sharing Documents in online Help.

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Checking the Status of Documents;
Find Out Who's Been Doing What
Have you ever gone to the library and the book you wanted wasn't on the shelf? You run frantically from one sorting shelf to another looking for the book, and after wasting a lot of time in your futile search, the grim reality that the book is misplaced, stolen, or in someone else's possession finally overcomes you. Take heart, this will never happen to you in GroupWise. Big Brother is alive and well. If you have view rights to a document, you can see who has viewed, edited, checked out, or deleted the document, and that is not all. You can even see when they did it. No more secret editing of documents. No more I-never-saw-the-document excuse. No more secrets! Here's all you do to find out who or what's been looking at your documents:

Right-click the document reference in your Mailbox or folder (didn't I tell you these were important),click Properties, then click the Activity Log tab. There's the evidence in black and white (unless you've meddled with your screen colors). Every little thing that has happened to the document is listed along with the name of the person who did it. If you want to see what has been going on with all versions of the document, click Show all Versions. Now you can really say you've seen it all.

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Checking Out Documents
One of the great things about a library, besides the smell of old books and drool on the tables, is that you get to check out books and take them with you. You don't have to read the book right then?you can read it a week later if you want. In GroupWise, you can check out documents just like you check out books. If you want to work on a document when you're away from your GroupWise system (heaven forbid) or if you just want to lock a document in the library for an extended period of time, you can check it out. When the document is checked out, it is your property (for the moment): no one else can edit or modify it in any way. (The best part is there's no due date and no fine if you keep it out too long.) For you workaholic types, checking out documents is a great way to take them home, take them on the road, or take them to the in-laws. I'd probably stop short of taking them to a friend's house?if you still want to be friends.

To check out a document, here's what you need to do:
Click the document references for the documents you want to check out in your Mailbox or folder. (Feel free to select more than one.) Click Actions, then click Check Out. In the list box, you'll see all the documents you selected. Next, make sure Check Out and Copy Document is selected up at the top. Type a name for the checked out file in the Checked-Out Filename text box (unless you're one of those people who remembers those pesky document numbers). Specify the location where you want the checked-out document saved in the Checked-Out Location text box. (Do this for each file you want to check out.) Click Check Out, and you're finished. The document is yours until you check it back in (which could be forever).

When you're sick of these documents, tired of working on them, or just ready to put them back in the library, click Actions, then click Check In. Click Show All Checked Out Documents in Selected Library. Voila! The list shows all the documents you've checked out. (Didn't I tell you Big Brother was alive and well?)  Select the documents you want to check in. Make sure Check in and Move Document or Check In and Copy Document is selected up at the top, then click Check In. GroupWise updates the document in the library with the changes you made to the checked-out copy.

If you're curious about the other check in and check out methods, be sure to read About Checking Out Documents and About Checking In Documents in online Help.

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Maintaining Multiple Versions of a Document
You've got this great library where you can store all your documents, so why limit yourself to just one version of each document? The library is like an empty shelf?space just crying out to be filled. So go ahead keep one or two or three or more versions of your document. In fact, you can keep 100 versions of a document, if you really want to.

Here's an example: You work in one of the bazillion companies in corporate America that are enamored with downsizing. As a result, you always keep a copy of your resume up-to-date in the library so you can fire it off at a moment's notice. But one size doesn't fit all, so you find yourself customizing your resume for every position. No more. All you need to do is keep multiple versions of your resume in the library. You can have one version that underscores how you single handedly developed all the software and documentation for the world's best-selling software program. Another version can highlight your skills as a novice dental assistant. And yet another version can describe in scintillating detail all your comedy gigs on late night TV.

 Now, with all these different versions, you probably want to mark one as the official version. (In this case, it would probably be the one that most closely parallels what you really do.) The official version is the version that people who have view rights will see when they search the library. If you don't mark an official version, the current version (which is the latest version and may or may not reflect anything you've really ever done) is the official version by default. So if you don't want people to see your work in progress, mark a version as official. (Of course, this is assuming that you want to share your resume in the first place, which you probably don't.) You can see all the versions of the document and mark a version as official in the Version List. It's a little like one-stop shopping. Here's what you do:

Click the document reference in your Mailbox or folder, click Actions, then click Version List. The world turns for a few seconds and then the Version List appears. Click the version you want to mark official, click Actions, and then click Mark Official Version. It's that simple.

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