Frequently Asked Questions

The Basics

What is the PDF-Mapper?

The PDF-Mapper is a software for automatic processing of PDF documents. The data of incoming documents such as purchase orders, invoices, delivery notes or payment advices is automatically recognized, captured, validated and imported into the ERP system by the PDF-Mapper. Our PDF mapping technology offers 100% accuracy to minimize errors in data capture.

What is the PDF-Mapper used for?

Companies receive many important documents such as orders or invoices from their customers and suppliers every day. The data from these documents must be entered into the company’s ERP system (Enterprise Resource System or similar). The data is important for further processes in the company, such as the production and delivery of ordered items or the payment of invoices.

This document processing is still often done manually. The PDF-Mapper fully automates this process, allowing the data to be retrieved and the next processes to be triggered as soon as documents are received.

Why the focus on PDF?

The Portable Document Format (PDF) is a cross-platform file format for documents, which has become widely accepted for the exchange of electronic documents such as invoices or purchase orders in business.

The disadvantage, however, is that the PDF format is not suitable for automatic processing. In short, the data is in an unstructured form that differs from PDF to PDF, making it difficult to automatically recognize data.

At this point, the PDF-Mapper comes into play. With this application, orders and invoices in PDF format can be automatically processed into structured XML or EDI data, which can be processed by your ERP system (Enterprise Resource System or similar).

How does the PDF-Mapper work?

The PDF-Mapper works fully automatically after setup. The incoming PDF documents automatically go through the document processing steps:

  1. Import: The documents can be automatically imported into the software via an e-mail inbox or a file directory.
  2. Sender identification: The PDF-Mapper assigns the document to the appropriate supplier or customer.
  3. Data recognition: Next, the PDF-Mapper detects the header, item and footer areas of the document and the required data in these areas.
  4. Data preparation: The data can be reformatted as desired, for example, to obtain the desired date format.
  5. Validation: The automatic validation warns of errors in the documents before the data is transferred to the system. These errors can be, for example, missing data or non-existent article numbers.
  6. Integration: The data can be output in any structured format (e.g. XML, iDoc, EDIFACT or other EDI format) and imported into the ERP system via a suitable interface.

For automatic document processing to work, only a one-time setup is required. First, the preferred structured format of the data for the ERP system is configured once (Inhouse Mapping). Secondly, a Layout Mapping is performed once for each business partner. This determines which data is required from the document and where it is located on the document, how the data is to be prepared and validated, and how the sender is to be recognized.

How does PDF-Mapper differ from competitors?

We are the first and only provider of PDF mapping software for automatic document processing.

How does PDF-Mapper differ from Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) solutions?

The PDF-Mapper is an alternative to EDI solutions. The advantages of EDI are preserved and supplemented by additional benefits.

EDI is an interface for the digital exchange of data between two companies. The data is sent back and forth between the two companies in a structured form. This makes data entry 100% automatic and error-free, even when the data is voluminous. However, EDI is costly, time consuming and requires the cooperation of customers and suppliers. Therefore, most companies use EDI only for a few large customers or suppliers.

The PDF-Mapper is easy to implement for a large amount of customers and suppliers, and does not require the cooperation of these companies. This is because customers and suppliers simply send their documents as PDFs (or by paper). The PDF-Mapper then puts the data into structured form and passes it to the ERP system through a single interface. The benefits of 100% automatic data capture and 100% accuracy are easily realized through this process as well, even with voluminous data.

Learn more about the differences between EDI and PDF mapping here.

How does PDF-Mapper differ from OCR/AI (Optical Character Recognition / Artificial Intelligence) solutions?

The PDF-Mapper is an alternative to OCR/AI solutions. OCR/AI solutions can still serve as an upstream step, if paper documents need to be converted into PDF documents.

OCR and AI-based solutions are usually used to convert paper documents into PDF documents and then pass the data to the ERP system. However, the solutions usually only work for simple data extractions, with a maximum of 95% accuracy, and therefore need to be checked manually.

PDF Mapper works similar to EDI with 100% accuracy in data processing, works fully automatically and even with complicated data extractions.

Learn more about the differences between OCR/AI and PDF mapping here.

Can the PDF-Mapper be combined with EDI or OCR/AI solutions?

Yes. You can keep existing EDI interfaces and use the PDF-Mapper to connect additional customers and suppliers in a similar way to EDI. You can also use OCR/AI solutions to convert paper documents into PDF documents, and then use the reliable data processing features of the PDF-Mapper for improved data import into your ERP system.

What technologies does the PDF-Mapper use?

The PDF-Mapper uses our PDF mapping technology to structure the data in a PDF document. This structure is needed to feed the data into an ERP system, and can be used for all documents of the same business partner.

Who is the PDF-Mapper for?

For all companies that want to optimize their order or invoice entry (or entry of any other PDF document type). The more documents you receive and the larger these documents are, the more time and money you save with PDF-Mapper.

Especially distributors and manufacturers with a large number of products, customers and suppliers often have a huge workload when it comes to processing documents such as orders and invoices. Such companies from a wide range of industries are among our main customer base.

But the PDF-Mapper pays off even for automating document processing for a single customer or supplier who regularly sends orders or invoices.

What is a Layout Mapping?

Customers and suppliers usually have a set layout for their orders, delivery notices, invoices and other documents. The PDF-Mapper knows for each layout where to find the different data, how to prepare and validate the data and how to recognize the sender. This is defined once for each business partner in a Layout Mapping.

After the one-time Layout Mapping, each PDF document can be processed automatically. The content of the documents may of course change, as well as for example the number of item positions.

What is an Inhouse Mapping?

The ERP system you use to handle purchase order and invoice data has certain requirements for the structure of imported data. Thus, this data must be available at the interface to the ERP system in the required structure. An ERP system can have different interfaces or constraints on this structure.

The Inhouse Mapping of the PDF-Mapper offers the ability to convert the data of orders and invoices into this required structure (e.g. XML, iDoc, EDIFACT or other EDI format). Thus, the PDF-Mapper can be used with any ERP system that provides an interface for data import.

Product

What PDF-Mapper licenses are available?

The PDF-Mapper includes all features, continuous maintenance and regular updates, regardless of the license. The licenses differ only in the number of business partners (customers, suppliers) that you want to connect with PDF-Mapper.

You can select between licenses for 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50, 75, 100 or 100+ business partner connections.

All licenses are software rental licenses.

For which document types can the PDF-Mapper be used?

You can use PDF-Mapper to process purchase orders, invoices, delivery notes, payment advices or other document types you require.

All features are included in each PDF-Mapper license, so you need only one license for all document processing.

Example: You want to automatically process the orders of 50 customers and the invoices of 25 suppliers. Since you want to make 75 connections, you select the PDF-Mapper license to connect 75 business partners.

What are the costs of the PDF-Mapper?

The license for the PDF-Mapper costs an annual fee based on the number of business partner connections and thus the number of Layout Mappings.

How do I know which PDF-Mapper license is right for my business?

How many recurring customers and suppliers do you have who regularly send you documents such as orders or invoices? For these business partners, the connection via PDF-Mapper makes a lot of sense. Therefore, we recommend to choose a license that allows you to connect all these business partners. Or you start with a smaller license and convince yourself of the functionality of the PDF-Mapper first, before you connect all business partners.

Can I cancel at any time?

Of course, you can cancel every year.

Can I change my license at any time?

License upgrades are possible once per quarter.

Are there any costs for the Layout and Inhouse Mapping?

Of course, you can do the Layout Mappings and Inhouse Mapping yourself. The PDF-Mapper includes all the necessary tools and an intuitive user interface. However, we also offer both mapping types as a service if you wish.

Are there any other costs, such as transaction costs?

There are no other costs, which means no additional transaction costs.

Only the actual effort for support orders will be charged. You can submit support requests via the support feature of the PDF-Mapper.

How much does the PDF-Mapper Unlimited license for more than 100 connections cost?

If you want to cover a large amount of clients with the PDF-Mapper, please contact us here. We are happy to create an individual offer for you.

How can I pay for the PDF Mapper?

Payment for the PDF-Mapper is handled via invoice.

Support & Training

Do I need to have programming knowledge to use the PDF-Mapper?

No. The only step that requires programming skills is the creation of the one-time Inhouse Mapping. This step can be done by us, by your IT or your IT service providers.

All other steps in the setup can be done without any programming knowledge. After the one-time setup, the PDF-Mapper works fully automatically.

Do you offer training for the PDF-Mapper?

The basic tools of the PDF-Mapper are intuitive and can be used without any programming knowledge. Feel free to view our tutorials on various topics related to the PDF-Mapper. Furthermore, all information about using the PDF-Mapper can be found as documentation / manual in the software.

Do you offer courses for the PDF-Mapper?

If you would like on-site training, please feel free to contact us here. In essence, training is not necessary because the basic tools of PDF-Mapper are intuitive and can be used without programming knowledge.

Implementation

How does the free trial work?

To get started for free, register on our website with your name, company and company email. After that you can download and install the PDF-Mapper. Simply follow our download and installation guide.

At the same time you will receive a free trial license from us via e-mail.

After installation, open the PDF-Mapper in your browser and enter your free trial license. After that you can test the PDF-Mapper and its features for one month for free. We do not ask for your payment information.

Is the PDF-Mapper an OnPremise or Cloud software?

The PDF-Mapper is an OnPremise solution that is installed locally. This ensures a higher level of data protection. We do not have access to your data.

The application is java-based and can be updated via the web.

How is the PDF-Mapper delivered?

The PDF-Mapper is delivered as a download from our website. After ordering or registering for a free trial, you will be provided with the download link.

How do I implement the PDF-Mapper?

The PDF-Mapper can be downloaded from our website. To do so, log in via the website with your name, company and company email. You will then be taken to the download page and the guide for download and installation. Install the PDF-Mapper and open the PDF-Mapper via your browser.

After receipt of payment you will receive your license and enter it in the PDF-Mapper application. If you want to test the PDF-Mapper for free first, you can use the free trial license sent to you.

In order for the PDF-Mapper to process your incoming documents all-automatically, the one-time Layout Mappings for each business partner and the one-time Inhouse Mapping for the integration of the data into your ERP system are necessary. You can create these mappings yourself using the intuitive tools of the PDF-Mapper or have us do it for you. You can find more information about this above in the FAQ basics.

After the one-time setup of the mappings, document processing works fully automatically in the background. You work as usual with the data in your ERP system, but no longer need to enter all the data manually.

How long does it take to implement the PDF-Mapper?

The implementation of the PDF-Mapper can be very fast and is usually completed within 1 day to 1 week. The implementation time usually depends on how many business partners you want to connect with the PDF-Mapper.

The one-time connection of a business partner via Layout Mapping takes an average of 5 to 10 minutes.

What is required to implement the PDF-Mapper?

As an OnPremise solution, PDF-Mapper is installed locally at your site. The system requirements are:

  • An existing import interface in your ERP System, e.g. via CSV or XML
  • Java Runtime Version 8
  • Windows 8 Pro, 8.1, 10
  • Windows Server 2012, 2013, 2016 and later
  • Linux 64-bit distribution (with systemd recommended)
  • Chrome from version 38 or Firefox from version 30
  • Architecture: 32-bit and 64-bit, depending on the selected JRE.
  • Disk space: at least 50MB + user data
  • Memory consumption: Windows Service Typ. 5 MB, PDF Mapper approx. 50 MB plus configuration/user data, recommended approx. 100-500MB

Also executable under other platforms that support Java.

How does the integration to our ERP system work?

The transfer of the extracted PDF document data to the ERP system runs automatically. The PDF-Mapper transfers the data to an output directory. ERPs typically have import processes that then import the data automatically (e.g. SAP with IDoc import). If you use classic EDI, the export can also go to an existing import directory.

The automatic integration of PDF data is working with any system (ERP, accounting, order control, enterprise resource planning). You can find out more about the flexible integration here.

What data formats besides XML can the PDF-Mapper create from a PDF?

Output formats include, but are not limited to XML, OpenTrans-XML, EDIFACT, SAP-Idoc and CSV. All formats are customizable in post-processing.

Application

How can I import my documents into the PDF-Mapper for automatic processing?


In the PDF-Mapper application settings, you can decide whether you want to import documents from a local computer directory or have them collected directly from a defined e-mail inbox.

If you want to use the computer directory, the PDF documents will be automatically detected and processed when you copy your PDF files into this directory.

If you want to use the email inbox, simply inform your customers to send future orders to this email. Use different email inboxes for orders and invoices.

How can paper and fax documents be processed with the PDF-Mapper?

When sending documents by fax/mail/paper, data is lost compared to sending PDF files digitally. This data is essential for the PDF-Mapper to process the documents. But no need to panic: You can also reconstruct the lost data, so that the PDF-Mapper can process these documents too. However, it would be better and easier to send PDF files directly. You can find more information about this here.

If you have customers or suppliers who cannot send you documents digitally, the paper documents must be digitized before they are submitted to PDF-Mapper:

  1. Paper documents must be captured with a very good scanner. It is important to have one PDF file per document. The scans should be straight and even, not skewed or slanted. For PDF documents sent by fax, the PDF file is directly available.
  2. Create a digitally readable PDF document with OCR: To do this, you must also use suitable OCR software, e.g. Abbyy Finereader. You transfer the PDF files created in step 1 to the OCR software – typically to an input directory (“hot folder”). The software performs the recognition and pushes the digitally readable PDFs into an output folder. This output folder is ideally the input directory of the PDF-Mapper.
  3. The PDF-Mapper then takes over the subsequent data processing – just as it does with PDF documents that have been sent digitally by e-mail.

Please note that the results on the basis of OCR PDF documents are not as 100% accurate as when processing digitally generated PDF documents.

For more information, see the advantages of the PDF-Mapper over OCR here.

How do I check the MD5 check sum of my download?

For our downloads, MD5 check sums are provided for zip and tar.gz archives. This allows easy verification of your download for correctness.

Windows

  1. Open a cmd window.
  2. Type CertUtil -hashfile {Archive\Path}.zip MD5. You will then receive the MD5 check sum for the file {Archive\Path}.zip. The check sum must match the check sum specified on the web page.

Example: CertUtil -hashfile installer-pdfmapper-v1.zip MD5 provides the output:
MD5-Hash von installer-pdfmapper-v1.zip:
c9e77210d0ca7edc1095c5dac91bb6e4
CertUtil: -hashfile-Command was executed successfully.

Linux

  1. Open a terminal.
  2. Type in md5sum {tar/Archive/Path}.tar.gz. You will then receive the MD5 check sum for the file {tar/Archive/Path}.tar.gz. The check sum must match the check sum specified on the web page.

Example: md5sum installer-pdfmapper-linux-v1.2.tar.gz provides the output:
5c32f761c2649115f3ae176ae81465fb installer-pdfmapper-linux-v1.2.tar.gz

Can the PDF-Mapper process international documents in other languages?

Yes. Basically, you can process any international document in any language with the PDF-Mapper. In addition, the PDF-Mapper also has the appropriate tools to automatically convert international data formats into your preferred data formats. This way you can make sure that the data is transferred to your ERP system the exact way you need it.

Example: If you receive a German document with the date format DD/MM/YYYY, you can automatically convert this date format to MM/DD/YYYY or any other format.

In which languages is the PDF-Mapper available?

The PDF-Mapper is available completely in German and English language. Partially French and Italian program versions are also available.

If you need the PDF-Mapper in another language, please feel free to contact us.

Automatic Validation

Why does the PDF-Mapper have an automatic validation?

Intelligent automatic validation ensures that all data from your incoming purchase orders, invoices and delivery notes is correct. In case of errors or missing data, the PDF-Mapper informs you by e-mail.

This user-friendly feature ensures that only complete and correct data is transferred to your ERP system. As a result, errors are automatically avoided in your company’s downstream processes.

You can find out more about automatic validation here.

Can the PDF-Mapper validate item numbers?

Yes, use the automatic validation of the PDF-Mapper for this purpose.

Create an item list as an XML list (e.g. directly from your ERP system or with Excel) in the form

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<itemlist>
 <item>0622896</item>
 <item>0680814</item>
 <item>0696261</item>
 <item>0696262</item>
 <!-- ... -->
</itemlist>

Each <item>...</item> contains a valid item number.

If you save this data in the file system of the PDF-Mapper, e.g. in C:\data\article\list.xml, then this list can be used in the PDF-Mapper validations as a list of valid item numbers:

Note: The PDF-Mapper does not need to be restarted if the external list was changed during operation.

How do I validate that the EAN or supplier item number is given?

Since either the EAN or supplier item number can occur, use the field AID in the “blue” process 1, in order to be able to check that one of the two numbers is there.

For this purpose, an XSLT template is created in the “blue” process 1 as follows:

<!-- AID for check if SUPPLIER_AID or EAN exists -->
  <xsl:template match="ORDERS_ITEM/ARTICLE_ID">
    <xsl:copy>
      <AID>
        <xsl:value-of select="SUPPLIER_AID" />
        <xsl:value-of select="INTERNATIONAL_AID" />
      </AID>
      <xsl:apply-templates />
    </xsl:copy>
  </xsl:template>
  • In the validation, a rule on AID is stored as a mandatory field with Lenght != 0 hinterlegt.
  • EAN and supplier item number are then each specified as an optional field with their own validation.
How do I make sure that missing supplier item numbers are validated?

Usually, the supplier item number is a mandatory field for import into the ERP system. Sometimes no supplier item numbers are transmitted in the PDF order. This means that the elements SUPPLIER_AID or even ARTICLE_ID are missing in the extracted XML structure.

For validation, however, these elements must be present in the structure. For this purpose, two XSLT templates are created in the “blue” process 1 as follows:

<xsl:template match="ORDERS_ITEM">
  <xsl:copy>
    <xsl:apply-templates select="@*|node()" />
    <!-- Check if ARTICLE_ID exists. If not, then create ARTICLE_ID/SUPPLIER_AID empty  -->
    <xsl:if test="not(ARTICLE_ID)">
      <ARTICLE_ID>
        <SUPPLIER_AID></SUPPLIER_AID>
      </ARTICLE_ID>
    </xsl:if>
  </xsl:copy>
</xsl:template>

<xsl:template match="ARTICLE_ID">
  <xsl:copy>
    <xsl:apply-templates select="@*|node()" />
    <!-- Check whether SUPPLIER_AID exists. If not, then create empty -->
    <xsl:if test="not(SUPPLIER_AID)">
      <SUPPLIER_AID></SUPPLIER_AID>
    </xsl:if>
  </xsl:copy>
</xsl:template>
  • In the validation, a rule on SUPPLIER_AID is stored as a mandatory field, e.g. with Lenght != 0.
The document correction does not show some documents for processing – what do I have to do?

When validation with document correction is enabled in the PDF-Mapper, sometimes documents are not displayed for editing.

This is especially the case for large, multi-page PDF documents.
In the log file appears java.lang.OutOfMemoryError: Java heap space. The PDF-Mapper is then not allocated enough memory space to process large documents.

Please allocate more memory space to the PDF-Mapper. To do this, open the PDF-Mapper installation directory and there the directory config.
Here you open the file executor.properties with a plain text editor (notepad.exe or similar – no Wordpad or Word!).

  1. Replace the entry
    executor.command=java -Xmx384M -jar lib/netx.jar …
    with
    executor.command=java -Xmx2048M -jar lib/netx.jar …

2. Check that you also have 2GB of RAM available in the operating system. Alternatively, you can also use other values, such as 512M for 512 MByte or 1024M for 1GB of working memory.

3. Stop and restart the PDF-Mapper.
The executor-log should then contain a line with
… Starting: java -Xmx2048M -jar lib/netx.jar …

System Requirements

What are the system requirements of the PDF-Mapper?
  • An existing import interface in your ERP System, e.g. via CSV or XML
  • Java Runtime Version 8
  • Windows 8 Pro, 8.1, 10
  • Windows Server 2012, 2013, 2016 and later
  • Linux 64-bit distribution (with systemd recommended)
  • Chrome from version 38 or Firefox from version 30
  • Architecture: 32-bit and 64-bit, depending on the selected JRE.
  • Disk space: at least 50MB + user data
  • Memory consumption: Windows Service Typ. 5 MB, PDF Mapper approx. 50 MB plus configuration/user data, recommended approx. 100-500MB

Also executable under other platforms that support Java.

About ExxTainer AG

Who is ExxTainer AG?

The PDF Mapper® is a software, product line and registered trademark of ExxTainer AG.

ExxTainer AG was founded in 2005 as a provider of digital integration solutions based on Java and XML standard technologies. We operate a GS1-certified EDI clearing center at our locations in Zurich and Munich. A number of product lines are available: BizzTainer®, SwissTainer® and PDF-Mapper®.

You can find out more about our company here.

Where is ExxTainer AG located?

The company headquarters of ExxTainer AG is located in Pfäffikon, Switzerland.

You can find out more about our company here.

Information Security & Data Protection

How is the data protected? What happens to confidential data such as invoices?

Neither we, nor any third parties have access and insight into your data. All data is exclusively stored in your local system.

You can find more information about privacy protection with the PDF-Mapper here.

Your question is not mentioned? Contact us!

Just contact us directly and we will do our best to answer your question as soon as possible. We look forward to hearing from you!