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AFP Viewing and Conversion: Top 4 Reasons a Print Driver Won’t Satisfy Business Needs

by | Mar 28, 2013

AFP documents are complex document types first generated by IBM’s ImagePlus document management systems in the mid-1980s to drive and support the firm’s form printing via laser printers. They belong to IBM’s MO:DCA document family, which also includes sub components like IOCA, the image portion, PTOCA, the text portion and GOCA, the graphics portion. This document format was created to greatly enhance document formatting and printing for a variety of industries—including financial services, government, and insurance— looking to archive standard forms and other records.

Today, numerous organizations find themselves with large numbers of AFP files on hand and no easy way to view the content. The first instinct for many in this situation is to find a way to convert all of these files to a more common format like PDF or TIFF. A quick search on Google will turn up hundreds of options for AFP print drivers (a piece of software that converts the data to be printed to the form specific to a printer), but there are multiple reasons why a print driver can’t satisfy your business needs and requirements.

Reason 1: Although they may be very affordable, these print drivers are typically quite slow and can therefore reduce an organization’s productivity and efficiency.

Reason 2: Print drivers are not very flexible. As such, they are not a feasible option for large batch conversion jobs dealing with a variety of file types.

Reason 3: Print drivers will not provide the enterprise with a viewing solution for AFP files. They only provide a conversion tool.

Reason 4: Print drivers require the application that created the documents to be present on the system.

Depending on your enterprise’s specific situation, there are powerful software options that offer both viewing and converting tools for AFP documents. Companies looking to create a secure and searchable PDF archive, for example, can use a flexible imaging and conversion SDK to easily batch convert AFP files to PDFs. This allows users to search for specific subject matter in stored documents and then retrieve only the pages that contain the necessary information.

Another option is a sophisticated web-based HTML5+ document viewer that can display not only AFP and MO:DCA files, but also hundreds of other file types. A pure HTML document viewer enables organizations to forgo the process of conversion and instead immediately access and view AFP files from any computer, tablet, or mobile device with a web browser.

Whether you are looking to convert a repository of AFP files to a different file format or employ an HTML5 document viewer to easily view AFP files on demand, software solutions exist to help you met these goals with ease. It’s time enterprises shy away from print drivers and find a more powerful and flexible solution for AFP viewing and conversion.