This is a seriously cool tool!

How it works

  1. When you create a new merge document in Spinalogic, you embed a barcode. This barcode is unique to the document.
  2. After the patient has completed the form, your CA drops it into a scanner.
  3. The Spinalogic Document Filer (SDF) monitors your scanned doc folder for new files. When one arrives, it looks to see if it has a barcode and can match it to the original document.
  4. If it can, that document gets imported to the same patient’s file with the same name as the original doc but with ‘ – completed’ added to the end of the name.

And that’s it. Essentially it means that after you get a doc completed by a patient, you just drip it into your scanner then into your shredder and it’s all filed. Seriously cool.

Setting Up

You have to first put a bookmark into your documents that will be replaced by the barcode when the document is printed.

You need to have a scanner in a convenient place for your CA.

You need to download and install the SDF software and run it on any pc in your office with Spinalogic installed. This is the thing that reads the files as they arrive and files them if they have a barcode.

*** You must have Word installed to use this. You cannot merge with Wordpad or OpenOffice etc ***


Go to Settings..Clinical..Document Templates.

For each document that get’s completed and returned, you must enter a barcode bookmark. Here’s how:

  1. Enter some text that says ‘BarcodeHere’ (or whatever, it doesn’t really matter, it’s just anchor text)
  2. Select that text (but not any carriage-return afterwards – just the text)
  3. Insert a bookmark. In Word 2010, Insert..Bookmark. Click ‘Add’. Call it ‘BarcodeBookmark’. You must use exactly this name. (It may be the opposite order: Enter the name then click ‘Add’)
  4. Save and close your document.

Actually, now that you know how, note 4 and 5 below tells you the easy way to do this and how to position the barcode exactly where you want it. We recommend the lower right edge of your doc.


  1. You must have the barcode appear on the first page of the doc when it is scanned or it won’t get matched by the SDF
  2. The barcode will appear vertical
  3. The barcode must be full size for it to be recognized.
  4. You could put the barcode in a textbox that you position on, say, the lower right of the first page of the doc. You can then just copy and paste that textbox to each new document. Just don’t make the textbox too small or the barcode will be too small. Also, don’t have any border on the textbox.
  5. Here is a sample form: Adult Intake Form with Barcode TextBox. You can just cut the texbox from this form and paste it into your doc then drag it to whereever you want it. Just select it by clicking its invisible border.

Repeat for every document that a patient fills in. This will probably take you about 2-5 min to complete for each document template.

Recommended size for textbox containing barcode: 3cm x 1.5cm


What ever scanner you use, set it up to save to a specific folder as a pdf as soon as you hit the scan button on the device. You should be able to configure it so you don’t have any dialogs that pop up and require you to do anything other than hit the scan button.

Set the scanner to scan 200 dpi colour duplex.

*** Do not use ‘Compressed PDF’, ‘OCR’ or other unusual pdf settings in your scanner. The SDF will only read plain scanned document pdf’s ***

If you are going to put the SDF program on a different PC to the scanner, you will need to share the folder that the scanner scans into. The easy way is to put the SDF program on the same PC as the scanner so you won’t have to do this.

Spinalogic Document Filer

Download the SDF software. Just follow the prompts to install.

Each time the software is run, it will look for updates and offer to install them. Just accept any updates. They only take a few seconds to download and install.

You will need to enter the address of the folder that your scanner scans into.

You can leave it open to watch it at work if you want, or minimize to your tray. If you close it or forget to start at the beginning of the day, no worries, just start it up and it will check the folder for any docs. It will import about 10 files per second 🙂  … A bit faster than doing it by hand eh?

That’s it. A bit of work to get it set up but it will then save hours a day in a busy office.

Enjoy! And don’t forget to let us know how you go.


SDF says “No image found in pdf”

This means the pdf format is not a plain scanned image type of document. Change your scanner settings to generate a plain pdf.

SDF says “Unable to read barcode”

The SDF has found an element on the page that it thinks is a barcode but isn’t. You can easily tell because the SDF draws a green box around the region that it thinks contains the barcode and you can see it does not contain the actual barcode.

There are three reasons this may happen:

  1. Cause: You don’t have a barcode in your document. Solution: Put one in!
  2. Cause: The formatting of your document contains elements that look to the SDF like a barcode e.g. a striped table and the SDF is detecting that as the barcode instead of the actual barcode. Solution: reformat your doc so it doesn’t contain such elements. If it’s an image that you really need in the doc, move it off the first page. Solution 2: Reformat your doc so the barcode is separated from the other elements on the page.
  3. Cause: The barcode is the wrong size or too close to the edge of the document. Solution: use the recommended size for the barcode textbox (see above). Move barcode textbox position and retest.
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2 Responses to Spinalogic Document Filer

  1. Shane Mezger says:

    HI, Nat here, I am testing this out…I can’t seem to get the scanner to recognise the barcode, the Document filer keeps picking it up straight away which is great however it says that there is no image detected in the PDF. I have cut and paste the text box from the sample that you provided, and I have also tried creating my own by inserting bookmark, niether are working though! Please help. Im sending a ticket too…THANKS!

    • Richard says:

      Hi Nat. That is because the PDF type generated by your scanner has things other than images of the pages in it. It must be a plain image PDF. Yours probably has embedded OCR included. In your scanner settings, change it to create plain old vanilla PDF’s.

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