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Laserfiche®: Tips & Tricks

Maximize the benefits of your content management solution

Click on the specific tip or hint below to read the full description:

Advanced Searches

The Advanced Search option allows you to expand on the traditional Laserfiche searches (i.e., Text and Field (Template) searches). To expand upon a Text search using the AND option, open the Advanced Search option. To search for three or more items (such as Trash, Garbage and Brush), simply type in the following search criteria – trash & garbage & brush – then hit the Search button. [Note: the results that are returned include all three search words that were used in the search example.]

Another Advanced Search that might be handy is the ability to search multiple templates at any given time. Instead of being limited to searching just one template, with the Advanced Search option, you can include multiple templates and fields. A sample search criteria could look like this:

{[Template1]:[Field]=”search criteria”}|{[Template2]:[Field]=”search criteria”}

So, if you had a template named “Maps” and one named “Photos,” to search both templates, your search criteria would look like this:

{[Maps]:[Street]=”14 Pine St”}|{[Photo]:[Location]=”East Rochester”}

Once this search string is placed into the Advanced Search, your search includes the ‘Maps’ template via the fi eld named ‘Street’ with the search criteria ‘14 Pine St’ and the ‘Photo’ template via the field named ‘Location’ with the search criteria ‘East Rochester’.

Hit the Search button and your results will display in the right-side frame.

If you have questions regarding the "Advanced Search" option in your Laserfiche system, call General Code’s Laserfiche technical support at 1-855-GEN-CODE (436-2633).


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Backing up the database

Backing up the database is a function that should be performed on a daily or weekly basis, depending on the frequency by which you input information. You should develop a backup plan, including what type of media you will be using to back it up, who will be responsible for the backup, and what time of day this procedure will be performed. It is important that once this procedure is in place, it is adhered to and all steps are followed on a regular basis.

Once backup is complete, it is important to test the backup to ensure that it was done properly. Many municipalities also have a second copy of their backup to take off-site in case of fire or other disaster.

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Build Folder Structures Automatically

Sometimes building a new folder structure using the New Folder option can seem to take forever. An easier way to do this semi-automatically is using Laserfiche Briefcases. Once a desirable folder structure is in place, before placing documents into the folders, create a Laserfiche Briefcase.

First, create a blank folder structure to suit your needs (including all subfolders). Once done, go to the top level of the newly created structure and highlight the main folder. In the top menu, click on File, Export, Briefcase.

A dialog box will appear to input the name of the Briefcase and where you would like to place it. (Note: the name of the main folder you highlighted will automatically appear in the dialog box). Once you have named and saved the Briefcase, it can be imported back into the Laserfiche database wherever you want to place it.

To import the Briefcase, simply navigate to that section of the database where you want to place the set of folders.

In the top menu, click on File, Import. A window will appear allowing you to browse the location where you have saved the Briefcase. Highlight the Briefcase name and then click the Import button. Your folder structure will be imported back into the database. To change the name of top-most folder, right click the top folder and select the Rename option. Once the Import process is complete, you can begin scanning into the folders.

Note, there two potential caveats to building Briefcases. The first is that you can include documents - however, these will be direct copies of the originals. The second is that imported Briefcases must have any desired security manually reapplied.

To automate the process even more, General Code now offers an add-on tool for Laserfiche 7 called “Folder Builder” that not only allows you to build blank folder structures, but will also auto-apply the desired security to those folders. Contact General Code for more information about this exclusive tool!

If you have questions regarding building folder structures automatically, call General Code’s Laserfiche technical support at 1-855-GEN-CODE (436-2633).

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Check It Out! (And In): Collaborate with Laserfiche

Did you know Laserfiche is more than just a static archive? Newer versions of Laserfiche (7 and up) can also be used as a collaboration center! Electronic documents, such as Word and Excel files, can be shared and collaborated on by many different users using the built in “Check Out/Check In” options.

A good example of how the collaboration capability might be used is an Excel spreadsheet that is used for yearly budgeting purposes and is added to by several different departments. The Excel file could be placed into Laserfiche in its native format (i.e., .xls) and then users could “Check Out” the file for editing.

To Check Out an electronic document, right click on the file name and then select the Check Out option from the menu that appears (Figure 1). The file will open in its native application (i.e., Word, Excel) and you can edit the document. You will also be given the option to add comments (Figure 2) about why you are checking out a document that will be relayed to another user when they attempt to Check Out the same document. No one else can make changes to a checked out document; users can open and view read-only copies of the document, but cannot make edits until it is “Checked In” again (Figure 3).

Once you’ve completed your changes, “Check In” the document and save it. Options to save include: “Save as a new version of the document,” “Save as a new document” and “Overwrite the existing document.” (Figure 4)

Once you have selected the Check In option and saved your file, the document is set to be worked on by someone else. It’s as easy as that!

If you have questions regarding the "Check In/Check Out" options in your Laserfiche system, call General Code’s Laserfiche technical support at 1-855-GEN-CODE (436-2633).

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Customizing Views

There are several methods to customize the way to view files using helpful short cuts and informational aspects (e.g. whether or not a document has been OCR’ed, date a document was created, etc). Customizing a view can help in navigating the Laserfiche 7 browser windows faster, as well as inform you of valuable bits of data about a particular document.

To add short cuts, go to the Tools menu within the main Laserfiche browser window and scroll to Options. In the Options menu double-click on the Toolbar icon.

Some of the short cuts that can be added to the Browser view include Export documents, Delete documents, Refresh and depending upon what kind of add-ins you may have for Laserfiche, Email documents, Snapshot documents and Publish folders. Note that with the Remove option, you can remove short cuts that you do not use, if you wish. Furthermore, this works similarly with  Laserfiche 6 and is located in the same area (e.g. under Tools –> Options –> Toolbar). You then drop down the Toolbar Type (e.g. Main Browser Window or Document Window) and choose to Add and Remove short cuts..

You can also customize view by utilizing the Browser options built into the Tools –> Options. By double-clicking the Browser icon, several different choices are available, including the number of Pages in a document, whether or not documents have been OCR’ed, whether or not documents have been Indexed, when a document was Last Modified (changes made to said document), when the Creation Date of a document was, who (username) a document was Created By, the name of the Template (Index Card) that a document is using, Extension types (e.g. doc, xls, wpd) of the electronic documents, the Volume in which a document resides, as well as information contained within certain Template Fields, just to name a few. Similar Browser information is also available for Laserfiche 6 in the same location, but there are just fewer options to display.

If you have questions regarding customing views in your Laserfiche system, call General Code’s Laserfiche technical support at 1-855-GEN-CODE (436-2633).

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Document Annotation Tools

Once records have been scanned into your Laserfiche system, you may wish to make annotations on an image or text. To do so, simply click on the Image or OCR Text side of the screen, and click one of the desired tools below. It’s that simple!

  1. Sticky Note. Click on the sticky note icon, place the note where you would like it to appear, and enter the text in the field. To read it later, double-click the note. You can also move the note by simply dragging and dropping it to a new location, or delete it by using your keyboard or right-clicking your mouse.
  2. Stamp. Use this tool just as you would a regular stamp. Create a .bmp image in programs such as Microsoft Imager or use a stamp in the C:\Program Files\Laserfiche\LFW Directory. To use the stamp, select one and click on the image where you would like the stamp to appear. Popular stamps include “CONFIDENTIAL,” “APPROVED,” or “FAXED.”
  3. Highlight. Click on the highlight button. Then, using your mouse, select the area you wish to highlight. The highlighting will show up as soon as you release your mouse.
  4. Redact. Click on the redact button. Then, using your mouse, select the area you wish to redact. The black or white redaction (based on user preference) can be used to block out text you do not want others to view. Individual user rights determine whether or not a user can view through the redaction. Note that using white redactions will save on printer ink when printing out documents.

The above-referenced document annotation tools are not permanent and will not alter the original text or image. This is an important factor in protecting the integrity and legal status of your documents. Also note that the documents can be printed with or without the annotations, and that the system’s security administrator can restrict user rights, permitting or denying individual user’s rights to view annotations.

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Exporting Documents

Do you find yourself needing to share documents, or even parts of documents, from your Laserfiche system with others? Whether you need to e-mail them to co-workers or for other purposes, Laserfiche offers several ways to export and distribute your documents.

One method, built into Laserfiche 7, is the File/Export function. Clicking on the desired document you wish to Export, you can then choose which format type you want to export the file as (see Figure 1).

Laserfiche 7 allows you to export as an image or as text (NOTE: the Export/Text option requires that the document be OCR’ed - scanned for optical character recognition - beforehand). By selecting the Export/Image option, you will be able to choose from many different image formats, including PDF, TIFF and JPG (see Figure 2).

Choosing the Text option enables you to save your document as a txt file (again, as long as the document has been previously OCR’ed). Hint - if you place a .doc extension instead of a .txt extension, your documents will open automatically within your Microsoft Word program. Be aware that since you are dealing with OCR’ed data, it may not be 100% perfect. Be sure to run a spell check over the document before sending it out!

Another easy way to share documents from Laserfiche is to use the Laserfiche E-Mail plug-in option, if you have purchased it. If so, then exporting documents as PDF’s is as simple as a right click and selection of the Email Document(s) option (see Figure 3).

The Laserfiche E-Mail plug-in then interfaces with your e-mail package (Outlook, Outlook Express and Groupwise), and automatically converts your documents from Laserfiche format to that of PDF. After selecting Email Document(s), a Selected Attachments window will display. You can then choose from several different output formats, including PDF (see Figures 4 and 5).

Another quick hint is to use the Thumbnail view in Laserfiche 7, which allows you to send just certain pages out of Laserfiche (see Figure 6).

If you have questions regarding exporting documents, call General Code’s Laserfiche technical support at 1-855-GEN-CODE (436-2633).

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Keyboard shortcuts for Laserfiche 7

F1: Open the Help menu.

F2: Rename: Select an object in the folder list or folder tree and press F2. This action immediately opens an edit box on the item to allow renaming.

F3 or CTRL+F: In the Laserfiche folder browser, both F3 and CTRL+F will toggle (show or hide) the Search pane.

F5: Refresh: This command will retrieve the most recent version of the folder structure or the current document from the server.

CTRL+A: Select all: In the folder list, Thumbnail View, and the Text View, you can use this command to select all of the objects in the folder or document.

CTRL+D: New Document: This command either creates a blank document in the folder browser or creates a new document from the selected pages in the document viewer.

CTRL+SHIFT+B: New Folder Browser window

CTRL+SHIFT+H: Highlighting Tool

CTRL+SHIFT+R: Redaction Tool

CTRL+SHIFT+N: Sticky Note Tool

CTRL+SHIFT+S: Stamp Manager

CTRL+SHIFT+P: Panning Tool


CTRL+SHIFT+T: Activate Text Editing mode

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"Maximum Users Exceeded" Error Message

There are a number of causes for this particular error, including the number of users logged into the Laserfiche system has actually reached the maximum licensed amount. It could also be that the number of clients and/or viewers installed on your network does not match the licensing on your Laserfiche server, or a user is “stuck” as logged in, despite the fact that they have exited the program.

A simple solution is to merely wait until another user logs out of the Laserfiche system. If this is not possible, you may want to use the Laserfiche Administration Utility (Laserfiche version 5) or the Laserfiche Administration Console (Laserfiche version 6) to manually log out any undesired connections. After doing so, try logging into the database.

You might also want to verify that the number of Laserfiche client and viewer workstations do not exceed those permitted by the Laserfiche server. The type of Laserfiche client installed can be identified from the main splash screen that appears when the product is loaded on the workstation.

If all available licenses on the Laserfiche server are being used, you may want to increase the number of permitted licenses. Contact your Laserfiche administrator, and he or she can make arrangements with your certified Laserfiche dealer to increase the licensing on the Laserfiche server.

For those who want to take a proactive approach to preventing the error, remember to use the red door exit icon when exiting Laserfiche instead of the X in the upper right-hand corner and/or “file, exit.” This recommendation comes directly from Laserfiche and can help ensure users are logged off correctly.

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Number fields - length choices

For templates, you have two choices for number fields, Integer and Long Integer. Integer fields are 5 numeral characters long and long integer fields are 10 numeral characters long.

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Optimize OCR results with SnapShot

If you use Laserfiche SnapShot to archive PDF documents, you will get optimum OCR results if you turn off "Photo quality" in the Snapshot configuration screen.

When you Snapshot a PDF document, gray or colored text becomes slightly distorted as it is converted into a TIFF image. This can prevent the OCR engine from reading the colored letters properly. Turning off "Photo quality" converts the text to black or white, thereby circumventing those issues.

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Read only option - be careful

It is possible to make a volume "read only," but be careful if you do. If you scan pages into a "read only" volume, everything will appear to be fine, but your images will not be saved.

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Redactions - save your toner!

To save toner when printing, make redactions white instead of black. To do this, after placing a redaction on your image, double click it and choose white. (Note: if you save this as your default, redactions will always be white instead of black.)

Redacting text: When you redact text, the information is eliminated from searches unless you have the right to see through the redactions.

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Redaction tool - retaining confidentiality made easy

The redaction tool, included within Laserfiche, is very handy for information you don’t want viewed on-screen, on printed hard copies or in e-mailed attachments. Such confidential information can include Social Security numbers, salaries, last names, etc. In conjunction with Laserfiche security, rights can be set on folders and documents within Laserfiche so retrieval users (such as those at public terminals) cannot view sensitive information.

To access the redaction tool, open a document within Laserfiche and note the Annotation Tools along the top of the window. The redaction icon looks like a black marker (see Figure 1).

Redact an image by clicking the redact icon, then click, holding down your left mouse button as you draw a box around the image you want redacted (see Figure 2). Stop the tool from drawing by releasing the mouse button. Use a sample image to practice on.

To delete a redaction, depress the redact icon, right click on the redaction you want deleted and select Delete from the menu. In redacted documents, viewers without given rights to see through said redactions will see nothing but a blacked-out square - on-screen, in print and in e-mail attachments (see Figure 3).

Note that an annotation such as a redaction is not a permanent part of the document. It is an image sitting on top of the document, so the document’s integrity is never compromised.

Breaking News! General Code has developed an Auto Redaction tool you can add to your Laserfiche installation. If, for example, redactions occur in the same location on a particular form, the Auto Redaction tool can automatically redact that area. Note that the Auto Redaction tool works only in Laserfiche 7.x installations. Call General Code at 1-855-GEN-CODE (436-2633) for more information about this innovative tool!

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Saving Searches

Do you have a complex search (e.g., a multiple template search) that you need to run over and over? You can save the search criteria, saving you time from having to retype it every time.

To begin, navigate to the top of the Search pane.

Two options are available – Save or Load (in version 7 of Laserfiche these are represented by icons – a Disk icon saves a search and a Folder icon opens a search).

Save your search by choosing the Save option, then name your search in the window that displays.

To open your saved search(es), simply hit the Load button, choose the name of your search and click OK (Figure 1).

If you have questions regarding "Saving Your Search" in your Laserfiche system, call General Code’s Laserfiche technical support at 1-855-GEN-CODE (436-2633).

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Searches - date ranges/templates/paging through results

Date range searches: Do date range searches with the advanced search and templates that contain date fields.

For instance, within the Advanced Search window type:
{template name:field name>"date"}&{template name:field name<"date"}

As an example, to find all the people born in 1999 type using a template called BirthRecord and a BirthDate field:
{BirthRecord:BirthDate>"12/31/1998"}& {BirthRecord:BirthDate<"01/01/2000"}

Searching templates with an underscore as part of the template name or field name: To accurately search templates with an underscore as part of the template name or field name, when you do an advanced search, place the template name or field name with the space in brackets [ ].

For example: {[City Clerk] Date="01/01/2000"}

Searching an open document: To page through search results in an open document, press "N" to go to the Next search hit, press "P" to go to the Previous search hit.

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Searching techniques (basic, fuzzy, detailed, sticky notes)

Clicking on the search button (the binoculars icon) enables users to perform basic searches, including single word or phrase searches. In the Basic Search Dialog Box (the box that appears on your screen after clicking the search button), click “phrase” and type in the word or phrase you are seeking. You can also search for combined words using “and,” “or,” “not” and “within.” When you select any of these options, you will be given two Phrase Boxes in which to enter your words or phrases.

The fuzzy word search is another useful tool, particularly if files contain OCR errors, misspellings, and spelling variations. This can be especially helpful when searching for names, particularly last names, which are often misspelled. In the Basic Search Dialog Box, check the Fuzzy Word Search Box, and Laserfiche will find words or phrases that are substantially similar to the words or phrases you entered.

For more detailed searches, the advanced search tool will allow the user to perform multiple types of searches at one time. Clicking on the “advanced search” button (the binoculars icon with the graduation cap and tassel) will enable this feature. Users can restrict searches to a single folder or can combine a phrase search within a template search. (Note: users can also search for the name of an actual file or folder.)

Users may also find they only wish to search for information contained within Sticky Notes. To do this, simply click on the search button, then “phrase,” and type {LF:sticky = “search text”}, where “search text” is the word or phrase for which you are searching.

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SnapShotting - save time!

Save time SnapShotting documents by dragging and dropping a file list on the Laserfiche SnapShot printer.

To do this:

  1. From the Start bar, click Setting/Printers to get a list of your printers.
  2. Drag the Laserfiche SnapShot Printer onto your desktop, then when prompted to make a shortcut, choose Yes.
  3. Open Windows Explorer and highlight a document or a group of documents to print; drag the list and drop it on the desktop icon for the Laserfiche SnapShot Printer.
  4. Once your documents are printed, open Laserfiche and choose Tools/Run LFAssist and your documents will be brought into Laserfiche.

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Sticky notes - length and width

Notes may be typed up to 20 characters across and 2,000 lines down.

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Splitting lengthy documents quickly

One easy way to do it this is to highlight the document in question, hold down the Ctrl key, and press Enter. This will launch the document in the Batch window, where it can easily be separated.

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