The short version

A Word document is often converted to a PDF whenever a signature or a read-only copy is required. Simul Documents now allows you to import these read-only records as part of a document’s history. The PDF documents can then be published or labelled like any other draft.

The longer version

Simul provides version control for Microsoft Word documents – these documents are often used to work towards a “final” copy which is declared a record. These are usually distributed as a PDF copy to prevent further modification.

It’s important to keep such copies alongside the previous version, allowing members to clearly see what has changed. Simul Documents will keep the PDF document in its original format, but also produce a copy as a Word document which can be used to leverage Simul’s advanced version comparison features.

Importing a PDF

To upload a file, navigate to the document tile for which you wish to import a .pdf:

Select “Import a new version” from the document options menu:

You can either browse and upload a .pdf from your computer or import a .pdf from SharePoint, OneDrive, DropBox or Google Drive.

Once uploaded, the .pdf will appear in the document’s revision history as a stand-alone record:

Any PDF files will be highlighted with the icon above. You’ll notice it’s also not connected to the main revision trail – this is because the version is a read-only record and can’t be edited.

Publishing a PDF

It usually makes sense to publish the PDF as a minor or major version. Publishing a version assigns a more significant version number and makes the document available to those with the “Viewer” security role. It is also shown on the publications tab hiding the clutter of draft versions.

To publish a version, select the PDF record and choose “Publish this version” from the “Document actions” menu:

You can then declare the version a minor or major version. This will assign a more meaningful version number to the published version. In addition, you should give the published version a name to convey its purpose:

This document will now appear on a streamlined view of published versions on the “Major Versions” tab:

The publication details will also appear on both the draft and major version pages like so:

If desired, you can collect approvals from other members of the document.

Comparing document versions

The main benefit of having a version control system which can import PDF documents, is the ability to see exactly what has changed between all versions.

Simul will convert the PDF into a format where the contents can be easily compared to previous PDF or Word documents.

This is clearly shown using a format similar to Microsoft Word’s tracked changes feature:

Work smarter with your documents

Simul can now not only help you draft better documents, but capture all relevant records produced from your document.

The ability to compare PDF to your draft versions allows you to better understand the history of your document and provides an immutable audit trail.

As always, we welcome your feedback!

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