5 ways to boost the desktop experience of your Alfresco end-users

Posted by Deyan Atanasov on 11/20/17 5:01 PM

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Are you currently discovering how you can boost the desktop experience of your Alfresco end-users? We'd like to share few key things that can help you achieve your organizational goals with Alfresco. 

The best way to increase the adoption rate and productivity of your organization is by choosing a simple and user-friendly Digital Content platform that will allow room for customization and personalization. This will further ease the adoption rate of your end-users and lead to powerful document management experience. Keep on reading to discover how can you adapt this thinking to your Alfresco Digital Business Platform.

Let's break it down and jump right into what we'd like to share with you. First thing you need to focus on is helping you and your end-users establish a personalized working environment and smooth Alfresco desktop experience in managing the organizational content and boosting your end-users productivitiy.

We'd like to keep it simple and easy, therefore below 5 tools to guide you on this journey:

1. Powerful Search in Alfresco

We strive to enable the end-users of having easy access to their documents at every step of the way. No matter whether you are searching on a metadata field or any text in the document you need to be able to find the documents you are looking for in your repository in just a few seconds.

By running a Simple search you are able to retrieve all your files, only restricted to the folder set and its sub-folders if you want to narrow down your search.

A generic search will look for the value in:

  • Folder names
  • File names
  • Metadata fields
  • Document searchable content
  • Format

 If you are a power user and prefer using extra filters for your search in Alfresco you can opt in to use the Advanced Search. This will enable you to visualize your selection and have laser view into your document folders.

In order to ensure you save time an option for Saved Search and also Preview of your Search results is part of the package to ensure you retrieve your documents with a click of a button.

2. Handling documents

Today we live in an age of content overload but it doesn't have to be that complicated to work and collaborate with your documents stored in Alfresco. Now you can drag and drop your documents right into Fred which will automatically save them in your Alfresco repository. 

If you are collaborating on a project with your team, you have the option to Enable versioning of your documents to ensure you are delivering the right status of your projects to the rest of the team. We've also gone even further by enabling Check-In & Check-Out of your documents by locking the document for other users and make a Working Copy of the document to be edited. Other users will still be able to open the locked document, but they will not be able to modify the document on the Alfresco server.

One of the most popularly used features is Edit-Offline which combines a Check-out and download/opening of the working copy of your document.

The Edit Offline feature in Fred will:

  • Lock the document
  • Create a working copy of the original document
  • Download that working copy to your local drive
  • Open the working copy for editing

The working copy is copied to a Fred folder on your local hard drive. This folder is defined in the settings (repository tab) of Fred therefore no need to worry about losing any of your information.

3. Editing Metadata

Metadata is basic information used to describe and organize your content and documents.

Once you have setup your content model as a building block for your Alfresco content repository it's important to have an easy way of managing and editing your metadata. Now we enable easy Edit Metadata functionality for your end-users directly from Fred - desktop client for Alfresco. 

You can view the metadata both of your documents and folders in a separate Metadata pane. If you are working with a number of documents you are also able to Edit Metadata of Multiple Documents.

As metadata is building block for many organizations document management in case you are upgrading your Alfresco instance or migrating you can also Export your Metadata and easily integrate with thirdy party Metadata applications.

Depending on your organization many times Metadata Governance can be a challenge especially if this is not implemented on organizational level to eliminate proper metadata usage.

When uploading documents to the server, standard document properties are extracted automatically from the document and you are able to edit the business metadata. You can choose to keep the default document type, and not add extra metadata. Adding extra metadata fields and values is helpful in finding the content at a later date and providing additional details of the content. To guide the users in completing the appropriate metadata, you are able to add some additional metadata governance in specific folder structures.

4. Manage your workflows

If you are a regular workflow user, now you can Start Workflow within your desktop client and be able to also use some of the predefined workflow definitions that can be used right away from your Alfresco repository.

The below listed are currently predefined workflows available:

  • Ad-hoc 
  • Group Review & Approve
  • Parallel Review & Approve
  • Pooled Review & Approve
  • Review & Approve

 As an end-user you are able to look into the workflows that are assigned to you and also the Workflows I've StartedThe My Tasks list lets you view and manage the tasks that are assigned to you.

The summary provided for each task includes:

  • Current status of the task
  • Task type
  • Task name
  • Due date
  • Priority

All task assigned to the end-user can be edited and the end-users has the authority to take actions related to it. Furthermore the tasks can also contain attachements with relevant documents to the assigned task to be reviewed by the end-user.

Whenever a workflow is no longer required it can be cancelled and this action will delete all tasks related to the workflow itself.

5. Personalize your Alfresco experience

Building a positive working culture and productivity comes easy when you empower the employees to personalize their working experience.

Once logged into the Alfresco repository now the end-users are able to see all folders and files that they have right to access in a view similar to a Windows Explorer. Navigate using a folder structure and an address bar to access all folders and documents including a navigation history right from your desktop client.

Some of the main key features to help you personalize your Alfresco desktop experience are:

  • Favorites
  • My Sites
  • My Saved Searches 
  • Documents I'm Editing

In case you are working on specific project or documents located in a specific folder now you can create a Favorites folder that you can rename separately and edit the content of it. Your Favorite folder is a full functional personalized folder structure in which you can manage your documents. Additionally you can start a search query from the Favorite folder. 

When you are member of a Share Site, the document library of that Share Site will automatically appear under My Sites. In order for the document library to appear under My Sites, you need to be a member of the Share Site. This will allow you to drag and drop, edit documents and access all folders within the assigned My Sites.

If you are a power search user you have the option to save your Search which will be shown under My Saved Searches  - a folder that provides you with a list of all search queries you have saved. This allows for an easy launch of your search queries and presenting the views in the Search tab.

The Documents I'm Editing shows in the details pane a list of all the working copies of documents that you have put in Edit Offline mode and have not yet been uploaded. This enables you to be aware of the documents that need to be checked-in and allows for an easy access to your draft documents.

As Alfresco Certified Technology - Fred v3.5 desktop client can help you increase the productivity of your organization, boost the adoption rate for your Alfresco repositories and turn your end-users into powerful Alfresco users. 


Topics: Alfresco, Content Services, Alfresco Certified Technology, Search, Metadata, Handling Documents, Personalization, Workflows

About Xenit 


Xenit is a Belgium-based IT company, focusing  on content services solutions, and covering all document-related business processes, from data migration to digital archive to hybrid/cloud hosting solution, to help organizations get control of their information. Premier Partner and System Integrator of Alfresco Digital Business Platform, Xenit has more than 10 years of experience in Alfresco Content and Process Services.


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