How Can I Attach a File to a Customer?

ESC has the ability to save various file types to the customer's record.  Whether you're attaching a spreadsheet to a Service Agreement, a PDF to an Invoice or a picture to a Dispatch, it's as easy as drag-and-drop!  Attached files can then be recalled, edited or viewed by any user with the appropriate permissions and a program capable of displaying them.

A list of attached files can be viewed for each customer by attachment date, person who attached the file, name of the file, and the screen/record where it was attached. Add to that an innovative search screen makes finding that elusive file easy, regardless of the customer, and you have one powerful tool.

Attachment Locations

Files can be attached to the following screens:

  • Customer Information
  • Dispatch Entry
  • Enter Service Agreements
  • Equipment Information
  • Sales Invoicing

Attaching a File

Add new...

  1. To attach a file, go to any of the screens listed above and recall or enter the record that you would like to make the attachment to.  For instance, if you would like to attach a file to the customer directly, head to the Customer Center and double-click on the customer you wish to edit.  If you would like to attach a document to a customer's dispatch, you'll head to the Dispatch List and search for that dispatch, then open it from there.
  2. Click on the Documents tab.



  3. Click the Add New button or right-click within the tab and select Add File from the resulting list.  Select the file to attach from the resulting screen.
    Power Tip: You can select multiple files within the same directory by holding down the CTRL key on your keyboard as you are clicking them.




  4. Click Open when you are done.



  5. The Document Name field will show the name of the file you're attaching (without the file extension). This is your chance to give the file a name that is more descriptive or means something to you, use it.
  6. You can see the file name and path of the original file right above the Document Name field. Click the Remove file from original location box to send this file to the Windows Recycle Bin. By selecting this option you are making sure that only one version of the file exists, the one in the database. That way any changes that are made to the file in the future are also saved in the database, not on a computer that is inaccessible to the rest of the office.
  7. If the file being attached is a picture, a preview window will appear below. This is important because most digital cameras have an automatic naming scheme. By viewing the picture you can change the file name from the camera's default to something meaningful.



  8. Click OK when you are finished or Cancel to abort the attachment of that document. If you selected several documents in Step 3, this screen will be displayed for each of them.
    Tech Tip: When attaching photos from a camera, select all the pictures on the device using the Shift key - or CTRL key - on your keyboard. Select OK to save ones you want in the database and Cancel to skip the selected picture.
  9. Now for the most important part. Click the Save button on the screen you are on to save the record along with all attachments you have added. If you add large files expect to wait a moment or two while they are copied across the network and added to the database.

Alternate Attachment Methods

Copy & Paste

It is also possible to copy a file into the Windows Clipboard by selecting it and pressing ALT+C (or right-clicking it and selecting Copy). Once that has been accomplished, go to any of the screens listed above and recall or enter the record that you would like to make the attachment to. Click on the Documents tab. Right-click within the Documents tab and select Paste from the resulting menu.

Drag & Drop

This is a variation of the previous method. Go to any screens where documents can be attached and recall or enter a record. Click on the Documents tab. Now switch to the Windows Explorer, Desktop or other similar area without closing ESC. Click and hold the left mouse button down on the file you want to add. Drag it to the ESC icon in your Windows Taskbar and wait for ESC to reappear. Drag the file anywhere within the Documents tab and then release the mouse button.

Working With Attached Files

Once files have been attached to a record, anyone with the appropriate permissions can view, edit, rename, delete or extract the file at anytime. This can be accomplished by right-clicking the file and selecting the appropriate option from the resulting menu. It can also be accomplished by left-clicking the file and then clicking one of the buttons available at the bottom of the screen. A brief description of these options appears below.

Open

This opens the file for viewing and editing in the program that is associated with the attached file extension. This option can also be activated by double-clicking the attached file.

To edit the document and have those changes saved back into the database it is essential that the following steps be followed exactly.

  1. Open the attached file.
  2. Edit it in the associated program.
  3. Save the file in the associated program.
  4. Close the associated program.
  5. Save the ESC record to which the file is attached.

If the ESC record is closed, cleared or replaced with another record while you are editing the file in the associated program, it will not be possible to have your changes update the existing attached file in the ESC database.

If this happens, it is still possible to save the modified file to your computer's hard drive and reattach it to the ESC record later on using the steps outlined in Attaching a File (above). In this situation, you may also want to delete the existing file from the ESC database in the process so you don't have two similar records.

To simply view the record, open the document and elect not to save it when you are done.

Note: If there is no program associated with the file type being opened, the following error will appear:

The document could not be opened. There may not be a program associated with the type of file. You may use the 'Extract' option to save the file to disk.

If this occurs simply extract the file (using the option described below) to your computer. Double-click the resulting file and pick the program you would like to use to open it or let Windows suggest one for you.

Extract

Use this option to save a copy of the attached file to your computer. This option is ONLY available from the right-click menu.

Delete

This option removes the selected file from the database. The ESC record the file was attached to must then be saved for the deletion to be complete. There is no way to undo this command.

Rename

This allows you to rename the selected file in the database. The ESC record the file is attached to must then be saved for the operation to complete.

Attachment Limitations

Users that don't have the software necessary to open an attached file, will not be able to view the file until a program capable of opening it is installed on their computer.

For performance and storage reasons, each attachment is limited to 20MB or less.
The version of Microsoft SQL Server Express that is provided with the ESC software has a 10GB database limit. Since all attachments are added directly into the database, attaching a large number of big files could push you to that limit. At this point ESC would cease to function properly until a full version of SQL Server is purchased and installed.

 

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