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Control Center allows you to enable workflows along with Versioning (Revision Control System). Workflows let you set additional quality controls in your label printing process. Workflows include sequences of connected steps that follow workflow logic. Every workflow has at least a starting step and a final step. There might be one or more possible promotion steps from the current step.

Using workflows, you can track the status of your label files.

When you include folders in your workflow process, the revisions users see when they request label files depend on their access role privileges. For more information, read Managing folder permissions.

Approval Process

Approval steps depend on the type of workflows you use. Control Center sets the hierarchy of workflow steps for each default workflow and which steps are permitted next.

Files you upload to Document Storage in workflow-enabled folders start on the Draft step. When authors complete their initial layout and label contents, they move the file to the next step: Request approval. When configured, approvers receive email notifications for files they're assigned to review and approve. Approvers can Reject files (this notifies Authors to make changes) or approve them. Approval moves the files to the Approved step. Each workflow defines available steps and the transitions from one step to another.

Moving files to the Approved step can require users to provide login credentials again. Re-authenticating this way confirms the correct users are still logged in. The Two-step label production approval process includes this re-authentication by default.

The Approved step (or Published step in some workflows) is the final state for files. You cannot use labels in production until they are approved and published. Operator role members (or any users with print-only permissions) can only see files on the Approved/Published step. Authors can work on new revisions of label files, but these changes are not visible to print-only users until their revisions reach the Approved state.

Note

Files only become visible to Operator access role members (print operators and print-only users) when they are approved/published.

Label Production Approval Process

This workflow uses standard approval processes. Documents start as drafts. When ready, the authors request approval. Approvers either approve the documents or reject them. If rejected, authors can make additional changes and request approval again. When approved, documents are published automatically.

Operators can only see published documents. Operators have print-only permissions and can only use the latest approved (and published) documents. If un-approved revisions exist in Document Storage, they remain invisible to print operators.

The system documents each workflow step change. When users change steps, they must enter mandatory comments.

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Two-Step Label Production Approval Process

This workflow is similar to the Label production approval process workflow with a single difference. This workflow enables the two-level approval process. Before the document is approved (and published), two independent approvers must review and approve the document. Only after the document has surpassed both approving steps, it becomes published.

Note

Independent approvers must be logged in Control Center as unique users.

This process can be configured to have two separate approvers (or two groups of multiple approvers) defined for each step of the approval process.

  • Request first approval: assigns unique users for the "step one" approval.

  • Request final approval: assigns unique users for the "step two" approval.

To reach the approved status, the document must be approved by a unique member of both groups.

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Label Production Approval Process with Delayed Publishing

This workflow is similar to the Label production approval process workflow with one difference. This workflow differentiates between the Approved and Published states. When the document is approved, it is functionally complete, but not automatically used by the print operators yet. In some environments, the move into the final Published state must be performed with a delay. The document might have to wait until the next work shift, or until a specific date, such as after the public holidays, or when a production order requires new label designs. You can schedule the future date and time for the publishing to occur.

The transition to the Published state can be done manually, or automatically by the system. The state Approved is not a final state, but is followed by:

  • Published. In this case, the transition into the Published state is completed by the user.

  • Scheduled for publishing. In this case, the transition into the Published state is completed by the system on a date and time as defined in the workflow.

In both cases, the change of the step is logged into the system database.

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Enabling Workflows

You enable your workflows if you go to the Administration tab > Versioning and Workflows. Set Workflows for document storage to Enabled.

  1. Go to the Documents tab.

  2. Select the folder where you would like to enable workflow control.

  3. Click the Workflow button in the toolbar or right-click the folder and select Workflow in the context menu.

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  4. Select the option you want to enable for the folder.

    • Use workflow from parent folder. When you change the workflow on the parent folder, the change applies also to your current folder.

    • No workflow disables workflow control for the current folder.

    • Choose workflow defines the workflow for the current folder. You can select the built-in workflows or use your custom-created workflow.

Assigning Workflow Steps to Files

All files in the workflow-controlled folder are assigned to one of the workflow steps.

When you upload new files or enable a workflow for the existing folder, your files are in the initial step of the workflow. In the case of built-in workflows, such as Label production workflow and Two step approval, the initial step is Draft. When you change the workflow step for the selected file, the new step is automatically assigned to the document, for example, Request approval. You can only change the workflow step to the next step(s) as defined by the workflow rules.

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Changing workflow step to the next available step. In this case from Draft to Reqest approval.

Control Center allows you to simultaneously change the workflow step for multiple files in your folder. Use <Ctrl> + click to select your files and right-click to open the context menu. Select the Workflow step option to promote your files to the next available workflow step.

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There are two conditions to promote multiple files to the next workflow step:

  • All selected files must be on the same workflow step.

  • None of the files must be checked out.

When your file is assigned to the Approved step, print-only users can access it. Print-only users are usually members of the built-in access role Operator, but you can also create your own roles.

Print-only users can be also allowed to print files in other workflow steps (in case of solution developing and testing). Go to User Management to change or add roles to users.

Configuring Delayed Publishing

To enable delayed publishing of approved files and schedule file publishing:

  1. Assign your folder to Label production approval process with delayed publishing workflow.

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  2. Process your files through the workflow process until you reach the Approved step.

    Note

    In this process, the Approved step is not the final step. To enable your files to print, files must reach the Published step.

  3. Right-click your files and select the Workflow step.

  4. In the Next step drop-down menu select Scheduled for publishing.

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  5. Choose Automatic transition time when your document should be published.

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  6. Enter the comment and click OK.

Control Center monitors all scheduled actions, and performs the workflow step changes automatically at the defined time.

Limiting Folder Access for Approvers

You may want to update Approver privileges when:

  • You only want one approver to be able to work with documents in a folder. If you are a member of the Approver Access role grants access to all folders by default.

  • The approver can work with files in Folder1, but not with files in Folder2.

The solution is to disable file access to the Approver Access role and then allow access case-by-case by adding users to other roles.

To change the workflow step from Request approval to Approved, Rejected, or any other defined step:

  • The user must be a member of the Approver access role.

  • The Approver access role must have read/write permissions for the Documents storage folder that contains the documents in the Approval step. For details, read the section Managing folder permissions.

Note

If you want to approve or reject documents and you are not the Approver, you can also approve or reject the documents, but you should be a member of the Administrator role.

To limit the Approver Access role from your folder:

  1. Log in to Control Center as the administrator.

  2. Go to the Administration tab > Access Roles.

  3. Click +Add. The Create new access role window opens.

  4. Type in a name of a new role, for example, Selective access, then scroll down to Users in this role and add users. Click Save.

  5. Expand the Approver role and make sure the users from Selective access role are also a member of the Approver role.

  6. Go to Documents.

  7. Right-click the folder you would like to change the access and select Folder permissions.

  8. Update the Approver role, by disabling all permissions, then edit the Selective access role by enabling Workflows permissions.

Only Selective access role members can approve files in your folder now. Approver role members have no access to this folder.

Creating Custom Workflows

Control Center allows you to create new custom workflows. Use custom workflows to match the specifics of the labeling process in your company.

Before you decide to create and use custom workflows, analyze your labeling process and the built-in Control Center workflows first. Consider these three available options:

  • Introduce an entirely new workflow. In this case you are creating a new workflow from scratch. Although this is the most flexible option, make sure you know your approval process well enough before you start building a workflow. This saves your time and helps you eliminate potential future errors.

  • Edit the built-in workflows. In this case, we recommend you to duplicate and customize the most appropriate built-in workflow. Because the steps in a duplicated workflow are already configured, you must only make the necessary changes to adapt the workflow steps to your label approval process.

  • Try to redesign and match your labeling process with the built-in workflows. This option makes sure your selected workflows are fully tested and functional from start.

Before you start creating or editing the workflows, get familiar with the terms used in your workflow editor:

  • Steps: Each workflow contains one or more phases called steps. During the approval process, your documents go through the predefined approval steps. You can create, name, and order your steps, then assign states to each step.

  • States: States determine what you can do with a document during a workflow step. States include Working, Locked, and Published (see below for a detailed description of states). Users assigned to custom workflow steps can only use the states you assign to your steps.

  • Transitions: You control the workflow’s direction with transitions. For example, when a reviewer rejects someone’s changes, you can direct that document back to the submitter, or forward it to a different reviewer. All steps can transition forward or backward, except your initial step.

  • Delayed publishing: Workflows can contain timed approvals that automatically transition your documents form Approved step to Published at the time you choose.

  • Who to notify in this step: You control who gets email notifications for each workflow step.

  • Enabled workflows: You can toggle workflows on and off. All workflows require Versioning to be enabled.

Note

To create customized workflows, you must be a member of the Administration Access Role.

To create a new workflow:

  1. Go to Administration > Versioning and Workflows.

  2. If you want to add a new custom workflow, click Add. The editing window for a new workflow opens.

    If you are adding a custom workflow based on one of the existing workflows, select the existing workflow and click Duplicate. The editing window for a duplicated workflow opens. Further configuration steps are the same as for a new workflow except for the already configured steps.

  3. Note

    This step is available only in On-premise Control Center.

  4. Add and configure your workflow steps. Click Add step in the Steps field to add new steps. To edit an existing workflow step, click the step and click Edit.

    • Type the Step name.

    • Select the File state changes to for this step:

      • In progress (working): Reviewers can check in, check out, and change the document. Use this state for earlier approval steps when you expect multiple changes to the document, such as draft, first level approval, etc.

      • In approval (locked): The document is read-only in this state. Reviewers can only review the document. Use this state to keep documents unchanged on the current step. For example, when requesting approval.

      • Published (locked): All members of all access roles can see the documents. Use this state when documents are ready to use in production.

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    • Set your first workflow step as the Initial step. You can only define one step as the initial step.

    • Login required (Electronic signature) is an additional security measure that prevents unauthorized users from making changes to workflow steps.

      After you enable the Electronic signature, users authorized to promote the documents to the next workflow step must authenticate again with Control Center credentials.

      Note

      While authenticating with the Electronic signature, your session remains open. After the successful authentication, you can continue promoting your document.

      Note

      Electronic signature in your NiceLabel Cloud works only with Microsoft accounts.

    • Allow setting major revision: If your document had a minor version in the preceding workflow step, the promotion changes the current (minor) revision number into a major revision.

      This option is not available if you enable the option Use only major revision numbers. Check its status in Administration > Versioning and Workflows. Read more in section Versioning and Workflows.

      Example 12. Example

      Document's revision number in the "Draft" step was 3.2. After promoting the document to the "Request for approval" step, its revision number goes to 4.0.


    • Notification emails. When a document reaches the workflow step, the listed users receive an email with the link to the document.

      Note

      If you change the workflow step for multiple documents at once, the listed recipients receive a single notification email. The mail includes links to all relevant documents.

    • For each workflow step, you can define which users receive notification emails after a document reaches the current step using Allow the person who makes a transition to choose the recipients option.

    Repeat the configuration for all of your planned workflow steps. The new steps are listed under the Steps of your new workflow. Click Create in the top-right corner when you are done.

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  5. To send notification emails to the users who should be informed about the changes in workflows, click SMTP Settings.

  6. After defining the steps for your workflow, define how will you promote the documents to the next workflow step. The transition allows you to define the promoting options for your documents: approvals, rejections, and time delays before publishing. Click Add transition to define the transition to the next step in your workflow. The Add Workflow Step Transition window opens. Define your order of the steps, who can make transitions, delayed publishing, and multiple approvals.

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  7. After you define your custom workflow, you can apply this workflow in your Documents the same way you apply the built-in workflows. See section Enabling Workflows for details.

  8. If you want to delete your workflow, make sure that none of the files in your Documents use the workflow or any of its steps.

    If an error or warning occurs while deleting your workflow, try deleting the individual steps first. When deleting the workflow step that is in use, a warning displays the names of the files that use the workflow step you are trying to delete.

    Note

    You cannot delete the built-in workflows.