Many forms require a unique number to identify that form. When using pre-printed paper forms or using products like QuickBooks, a sequential numbering system was most likely in place. Many companies want to maintain their existing numbering scheme after moving to doForms.
When filling out a form, the status of your network connectivity becomes critical when determining how to number your forms. If your users are not always connected, it is not possible to insure that each user gets the next available number in a sequence.
Type: There are three ways to assign auto-numbers across multiple mobile devices in various states of connectivity:
- Generated: (previously When collected) If you need to print a receipt onsite and the receipt requires a unique number the system can assign a unique number based on the current date and time in the format yyMMddhhmmssss. For example, a form generated at 11:28:24.12 AM on March 27, 2016 would be assigned the auto-number 16032711282412. This algorithm allows you to produce a pattern of unique ascending numbers across multiple mobile devices that are operating in disconnected mode. Note: A Generated auto-number may change as a result of a subsequent Retrieve or Forward transaction.
Submitted: (previously As received) Another option is to have a number assigned to a form by the server when the form is submitted. This will take place before any other actions take place like sending emails. This insures that forms are numbered in the sequence in which the server receives them. Keep in mind this might not be the same sequence as when the form is completed. Completed forms might be sent after the fact when a network connection becomes available.
A Submitted auto-number can also have a Start value that determines the start of the integer sequence. To change the Start value of the auto-number (default value = 1), enter it in the Start value field. For example, if you want your auto-number to begin at 1000, enter 1000 in the Start value field. This will allow you to pick up where your prior process left off. So if your last paper invoice was 1021 then set the start value to 1022.
The Reset numbering in all forms using this prefix option resets the Submitted auto-number sequence of all forms in the account using the same Prefix to the Start value. This reset happens when the form is submitted for the first time after being published. Note that the reset only applies to new incoming data records from these forms, and will not affect any previously submitted data records.
Note: Once a Submitted auto-number is set in a data record received by the website, it will not change as a result of any subsequent Retrieve or Forward transactions on the same data record.
Requested: (previously On demand) This option works like a Submitted auto-number, but retrieves the next sequence number while the form is open instead of waiting until the form is sent.
Requires that the user has Internet access. If no number can be retrieved you can default the number to equal the Generated number which is based on time.
An example use case would be multiple factory workers loading pallets with each pallet requiring the next sequential number which is converted to a barcode and printed as a label.
To auto generate a number for your form, use the When form opens for the first time trigger value. Note: A number will not be generated in the preview. This field should be set to ready only for all entities.
Prefix: If desired, enter a Prefix for the auto-number, which is appended to the beginning of the number value. For example, entering a prefix "NYC:" would assign auto-numbers that look like this: NYC:16032711282412. Note that you may enter alphanumeric, spaces, and special characters in the Prefix field.
A Prefix can be added to all auto-number types. However, for Submitted and Requested auto-numbers, all forms in the account that have the same Prefix will share the same auto-number sequence. For example, if Form A and Form B both contain Submitted auto-numbers with the same Prefix (e.g., "NYC:"), then the incoming records from Form A and Form B will be assigned NYC:1, NYC:2, NYC:3, etc., on a first-come, first-served basis. Similarly, all forms that use the null Prefix (i.e., no Prefix) also share the share the same auto-number sequence, and will be assigned 1, 2, 3, etc. on a first-come, first-served basis.