Get rid of those cumbersome, costly forms

IBM's latest enhancements to AFPDS printing capabilities through Client Access have made creating overlays a snap. These overlays can then be used from within iSeries printer files in order to replace forms. The overlays can be created from any PC application software that can print (i.e. Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint or Adobe Acrobat). A simple three-step process is all that it takes.

1. Create a printer device on your PC using Client Access Express' printer driver (one time only).

-- Through the control panel, click on 'Add Printer'

-- Choose 'Local Printer' and then 'Print to File' for port

-- Choose IBM as the manufacturer and then IBM AFP NNN as the printer (where NNN stand for the resolution -- example IBM AFP 600)

-- When prompted for the driver, point to CWAFP.dll (you may have to search for the location, although it should exist in the Client Access directory of "C:Program FilesIBMClient AccessCWBAFP". You may need to contact IBM to get the latest, bug-free version of the driver (I did).

2. This new 'printer' is now available from the "print" dialogue on any Windows application. You can experiment with the various settings, but it's important to select "Overlay" under the type of document to create. You may need to experiment with the clip limits depending on margin capabilities and needs. I left most everything else under the default settings. When you click print, you will be prompted for the name and directory of the file that will be created. You may want to put a '.oly' extension on it in order to find it quickly.

3. The last step involves getting this PC file to your iSeries.

(a) For users prior to v5r1:

-- Create a folder in the IFS 'QDLS' directory called 'AFPRES' (one time only)

-- FTP the pc file to this new directory on the iSeries ( i.e. "put c:overlay.oly qdlsafpresoverlay")

-- Create qsys file AFPRES (one time only) ---> CRTPF FILE('lib'/AFPRES) RCDLEN(32766) MAXMBRS(*NOMAX) LVLCHK(*NO)


-- Create overlay ---> CRTOVL OVL('lib'/OVERLAY) FILE('lib'/AFPRES) MBR(*OVL) DATATYPE(*AFPDS) TEXT('Text')

(b) For V5R1 and later …

-- Make sure AFP Manager was installed in Client Access Express or update it to install it.

-- In the tree view, expand 'AFP Manager', then 'Resources'. Right click on 'Overlay' and select 'Import'. Complete dialogue box....you're done.

In order to use your new overlay, just point this object to option 'FRONTOVL' or 'BACKOVL' when doing CRTPRTF or OVRPRTF. One caveat: you must have a AFPDS capable printer in order to print the resulting spool file. Happy Printing!


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This was first published in February 2003

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