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Modernization, FoIP and Document Output Management Solutions for IBM i


How do I upgrade to the latest Formtastic Tax-Pack version?

To upgrade to the latest version of Formtastic's Tax-Pack, please contact Quadrant Software technical support through our Customer Care Center here:

We have a spool file that only prints data on the first half of the page on two separate pages. We would like to combine 2 half pages and put it on 1 Form Page. Is this possible using Formtastic?

Formtastic cannot move spool data from one page to another. We can only map spool data one page at a time to that form. However, FORMATTER (an optional module for Formtastic) can reformat your data so that when Formtastic gets the spool file, it has already combined the 2 half pages onto one page. With Formatter, you can manipulate how each page prints and incorporate multiple page styles to decrease space used by headers and footers while increasing space dedicated to detail items. This module can potentially reduce a 10 page spool file to 5 pages or less.

When merging MICR checks, the user gets an error, but when I do the merge it works fine. Am I missing something?

Anyone who submits the merge command, runs the menu option to merge, or starts the Auto Merge, must have the proper authority to access those spool files.

We print forms in large quantities. Is there anyway to archive them? Can we put them into a PC format and offload it to an optical package?

Formtastic’s “PDF Module” will put a copy of a form merge (in PDF, TIF or PCL format) to a defined UNC path. This module has index settings for GAUSS, RVI, VANG, and one that you can define.

Is it possible to map data from both a spool file and a database file?

No. Forms can use spool files or database files, but not both.

You can print the different text by creating a condition according to the copy number and then printing to a distribution list. For example, you would add the text ORIGINAL, then go into conditions and specify the text to appear when copy number = 1. Add the text COPY and condition that to appear on copy number = 2. Then, create a distribution list specifying that copy number 1 goes to this printer and copy 2 goes to another printer or the same printer. It doesn’t matter. The end result is that copy 1 will have ORIGINAL and copy 2 will have COPY printed on it. When you run the merge, specify the distribution list as the output queue.

How do I increase the number of automerge jobs I can run?

In the FTASTIC subsystem, go to the FTTOOLS menu and take option 40, ‘Create/Repair Formtastic Subsystem’. You can define up to 99 total jobs to run in the FTASTIC subsystem. You can also define the number of miscellaneous jobs that can run in that subsystem.

When I merge a form, the form name appears on the bottom of the document. How can I remove that?

This is defined by the user profile. In Formtastic, you are not required to enroll all users. If a user is not enrolled, the *DEFAULT user is used. Within the profile, there is a setting for “Print Form Name”. The options are TL, TR, TC, BL, BR, and BC. TL is for top left, TR is for top right, TC is for top center, BL is for bottom left and so on. If you don’t want to print the form name, just blank out this parameter.

When using the FAX command on my form, how does Formtastic know when to break and create a new fax job?

When you define the FAX command and map a spool region for the fax number, recipient name, and/or company, Formtastic will break when that information changes. However, Formtastic will not break on blank values, so if you print the information on only the first page of each fax, then that is not a problem. You also have the option to remove that data from the merged form.

When I print invoice tags and specify new printers, I get an error that the output queue is not defined. What’s wrong?

In Formtastic, any output queue that receives a merged form must be defined in Formtastic. You define output queues using the Utilities Menu, Option #5 off the Main Menu and then Option #3. Also, if you qualify the library name (not *LIBL), you must also qualify the library name on the merge. You do not have to define output queues where Formtastic picks up the original spool file.

I want to attach Terms and Conditions at the end of a merge and not to every page. How can this be done?

On the Forms menu, choose Option #6, ‘Work with Sets’. From there, define your form as the primary form and add the terms and conditions with form type = *NONE and Duplex = N. This prints or faxes all pages of the document and adds the terms and conditions at the end.
Note: Form sets are not valid when using the Auto Merge.

I have the Formtastic Labels module and don’t see an option for an Auto Merge. How can I have my labels merge automatically?

Labels only merge with database files, so having an automerge is not practical. An auto merge activates every 60 seconds and it would merge the same information in the database file. In most cases, you only want to merge after the database file has been updated with the new information. The best way to automate this is to call your application program’s MGRLBL command. From there, you can control when this job is done or create a scheduled job if you know when the file is updated ahead of time.

I have a 300 page invoice spooled file, but I only need to reprint one invoice and merge it using Formtastic. Can I do this and how?

Yes. In Formtastic, run a manual merge from the Forms Menu, option 4. On the merge options, enter a FROM page and TO page range. This will only merge that form with that page range. Remember, when you merge from an output queue, you must specify spool file attributes. If there are multiple spool files in that output queue, then Formastic will pick up the first one it sees and do a page range merge. If you did not specify a page range, Formtastic will pick up all spool files based on that selection criteria.

Can I load a new font to a printer for use in Form merges?

Formtastic allows you to add new fonts to a printer but will not allow you to change any existing default fonts for that printer. From the Forms main menu, take option 5 for the Utilities menu. From the Utilities menu, take option 5 to work with font groups. Page down to your printer model and take option 2 to edit. Now take option 1 to create the new font and enter a name for that font, then hit enter. For new fonts, you will need to supply information such as Font type (i.e. soft, soft scalable, micr, signature, etc.). If the font is a mono spaced, then enter the character width. Finally you will have to enter the command or escape sequence for that font. The next time you do a merge, the new font will be downloaded to that printer.

Within a form merge, is there a way to override the pre-set number of copies created for a user with a customized number of copies? One time the user may want 1 copy and another time the user may want 3 copies.

Yes. Use the MRGFRMSPL (Merge Form with Spool File) command in a CL program. From there, pass the number of copies in and load a variable that is to be used when running the command. So, when a user submits a job to print, this creates an option to select the number of copies. Then, after the spool file is created, the CL program passes that value. This will perform a merge each time a user prints. There is no delay time as with the Auto Merge. Also, the Auto Merge, once started, can’t be changed for the number of copies.

When I’m working on a MICR check on the GUI side, I use a certain font and it looks good. When I merge and print, all the fonts are larger. Why?

When creating a document (Check, Form, or Label), you must first choose a printer model. This printer model defines the available font set. If the printer model you initially selected does not match the printer you actually use to print, then the printer will substitute fonts it cannot find.

I am trying to merge an AFP form with an AFP spool file but it isn’t printing.

You cannot merge an AFP form with an AFP spool file. The spool file needs to be SCS.

I have many spool files on the PC side which are not being used. How can I clean this up?

You cannot remove any spool files which are linked to spool files. To can clean up the others on the iSeries side by taking option 6 (manual transfer) from the Ftastic0 main menu. You then have to take option 4 to download spool file. Here you can take an option 4 to delete any spool files which are not linked to a form. Once you have cleaned up the spool files, open the GUI and do a download from iSeries. This gets the GUI in sync with the iSeries.

How do I get a check digit to print in my barcode (bar code)?

Go into your barcode attributes and you will see that there is an option for ‘calculate check digit’. On the iSeries, it should be set to *YES. In the MS Windows Editor, it must have a check mark to be enabled.

I am currently using the FILE command to create a PDF file in the IFS structure on the iSeries. Why am I not getting the PDF file in the directory specified?

You need to have a File Share on the directory into which you are trying to place the PDF file. To check for the share or to create the share:

1. At a command line, type FTASTIC/FTTOOLS and hit enter.

2. Do an F8 at the warning screen.

3. Take option 36, ‘Work with iSeries NetServer and file/print shares’.

4. Here you will see the shares which you currently have setup. If you do not see the required directory, then you need to add it by doing an F6 and selecting the type *FILE.

The share name would be the name of the directory. Access should be a 2 for Read/Write.

Once the share has been setup then we should be able to copy the PDF files into this directory.

I created a barcode using the CODE128B barcode. It isn’t being picked up properly when it goes through the scanner.

When using the CODE128B you must specify the check digit option. This is required for this type of barcode.

I am creating a Positive Pay file but I am missing certain fields (check amount, check number, etc.). How do I get these fields to be included?

For these fields to appear in the Positive Pay report, you need to use the commands with the check itself.

If you are mapping this data using spool text, you will need to remove the STEXT command and use the appropriate check command instead.

Is there a recommended method for copying the Positive Pay information from the iSeries to the PC?

You can use any method with which you are comfortable. We use the CPYTOPCD command on the iSeries.

I am attempting a new installation of Formtastic and getting an error stating that the library is already in the library list. This is a brand new installation so it is not in the library list.

At an iSeries command line, type DSPLIBL and hit enter. Do you see ACOM in your library list? If you do, then you will need to remove it to proceed with the installation.

When using the QCKMRGSPL command and specifying the Form Type as *SELECT, I am getting a message that the next 5 parameters need to be filled in. Which 5 parameters do they mean?

The parameters are the fields which are furthest to the left (Job name,Job Number, Spool Number, To Output queue, Library).

How do I get a check digit to print in the MICR line for the check number (Modular 9or MOD 9)?

In the CKNBR (check number) command there is an option to Calc Check Digit. This would need to be set to *YES on the AS/400 (or on the GUI it would need to have a check mark) to be enabled.

Is there a way to suppress the printing of certain pages within a merge based on criteria in the spool file?

With version 5.3.0 and higher you can do this using the PRTNO command.

When I’m on the iSeries (AS/400) working with a document, I’ll a take an option 2 to change, and I get a message reading ‘document is in use’. I know that the document is not in use. How can I fix this?

This happens if a document is not checked in after it is used on the GUI side. When you received this error you can take an option 10 to ‘CheckIn’ the document. You will then be able to edit the document.

What format does a image need to be for Formtastic?

The form needs to be a Tif or PCX, 200dpi or B&W.

We use Formtastic to print and fax Invoices and Purchase Orders. Currently, our system operator uses the option from the Formtastic menu to start and stop the Auto Merges for these jobs. We also print Payroll Checks, so security has become an issue. We don’t want the system operators to have access to this information or Formtastic. Is there anyway we can automate this?

Formtastic has two commands available to automate the starting and stopping of the Auto Merges, ‘STARTAM’ & ‘STOPAM’.  These commands can be used with a SBMJOB command or put in a scheduled job list. They start and stop the Auto Merges based on the schedule date and time you supply.

Note: You must have the FTASTIC library in your library list when you submit this job.


There are other commands to run the Form and Check Merges, Printing the Audit Log, Purging the Audit Log, Downloading Forms and Images to a Printer, and Deleting Resources from a Printer.  Also as of version 5.4.3 we have an Auto-Start feature where we will automatically start the Auto merges when he Formtastic subsystem is started.

A customer wants to mirror Formtastic, What files should be excluded?


Can I call for a manual check from the command line?

Yes, you will need to ftastic to library list and then do a
call pgm(ftastic/ec102ac) Parm(‘M’)F4 and populate your check information.

Do you have steps for moving Formtastic to a new iSeries?

Go to an iSeries command line and
type strpdm.

Fake opt 3., Work with Members.

File is ffxinfo, library fastfax, member MOVFOCPU

Take an option 6 on print the text file.

How can I send different copies to different printers? For example, I want copy1 to go to printer A, copy2 to printer B.

Sure! You will need to go to the forms menu and take option 7, “Work with distribution lists”, then you need to setup a distribution list for the different copies and printers. When the manual merge is run specify the distribution lists name in the manual merge screen for the value “Send Spool File Merged With Form To:”

How do you attach a Terms and Conditions form to an iSeries merged formtastic spoolfile that is being faxed thru FastFax?

On the merge you need to specify Duplex mode *YES then pass the Terms and Conditions form name for Back side form name. This will attach a Terms and Conditions form when faxing

We only support zebra printers in the label module that use ZPL language.

We do not support zebra printers that use EPL2 programming language.

A customer’s PC crashed. She restored it, however, now every time she attempts to open a new document, she gets the following error message: Couldn’t Open File (DBM 5663).

Go into the Formtastic GUI interface, and then access TOOLS, Download from iSeries. From here you should download product system information. This should fix the problem.

Automerge is not picking up the file from the outq.

Verify that the subsystem is started (Wrksbsjob Ftastic), and verify that the automerge is started (option 9 off forms menu.)

Automerge is not picking up the file from the outq.

Verify the spoolfile “select criteria” matches the case on the outq and the automerge. It’s case sensitive. Example: Form Type, Printer File name, User Data, User ID. All need to match.

new api commands for formtastic *MMPN and *MMZC

*MMPNSet print suppression (PRTNO) by entering the copy number. Use a comma to
suppress a list of copy numbers. Enter 0 to suppress all copy numbers. 1

*MMZCSet copy number to be faxed/emailed for the recipient..

NOTE If this command is not used, copy #1 is used as the default.1 numeric

Customer is getting F011018 error message when his automerge starts from his robot job after his ipl – He is able to start it manually fine.

The user that is starting the automerge jobs must have *SPLCLT authority on their As/400 user profile under special authority to start an automerge.

The customer can add *SPLCTL to the special authority of the user profile starting the automerge –

If they do not want to do this the next options would be:

If the customer is running 5.3.x from an As/400 command line type:

If the customer is running 5.2.2 they will need to run
and at this release level would need to contact Technical Support for addition program fixes.

My pc had a problem while I was working on my Formatter Template and now when I try and go back into it I receive an error that the template is already in use by my user profile?

Update the FRMTHD file and remove the value that is in field FRHIBU.

**TO UPDATE The field complete the following steps at an iSeries command line

STRDFU 5 (enter)
Data file . . . . FRMTHD
Library . . . . FTASTIC

Page down so FRHDSC:= Template name

Wipe out the field FRHIBU
Press enter & then F3 to exit

When linking a spoolfile to a form I get a Formtastic Error “E-60402 SPOOLED FILE TYPE MUST BE *SCS, ERROR FOUND ON SPOOLED SELECTION 01” . What is causing this error?

The spoolfile must be a *SCS type. To verify, go to the spoolfile in the Formtastic out queue. Take an 8=Attributes page down until you see ‘Printer device type”, value must be *SCS.

In formtastic can you duplex?

yes the printer needs to support duplexing. Then on the merge you need to specify Duplex mode . . . . . . . . *YES or *TUMBLE
than pass the form name

When sending a Formtastic merged spoolfile to FastFax, how can I attach another document, like a Terms and Conditions form?

In the merge you need to specify duplex mode as *yes, than update the Form Name to use the document you’d like to attach (in this example would be the T&C form)

I’ve created an automerge but the form is not merging with the spool file.

On the automerge, change the value for Force Overlay Download from NO to YES. We default the automerge to NO.

I am using the FILE command in my form and wanted to know when the pdf files that I am specifying in this command are being created.

The pdf files created with the FILE command are being created on the moment the form containing the File command is merged.

I have two files on my system that are large and interferring with my backup procedure – Can I clear them?

Those two files are FOFILHI and FOFILHS – they are file command index and history files.

Use the following commands to clear then in your release level from the AS/400 (iSeries):

clrpfm ftastic/fofilhi
– and –
clrpfm ftastic/fofilhs
Formtastic release 5.3.3 and above has an option from the utility menu to clear these files.