published on by Peter Hilton - 3 min read

Adding paper to an automated workflow

When you think about workflow, you might imagine fully automated online processes. However, most real business processes include manual tasks. Some of them even include paper. This article shows how you can use Effektif’s Google Cloud Print integration to print documents as part of a workflow.


In the spirit of simplified workflow, let’s use a simple business process example: signing a contract. There might not be much to it, but if you’re a busy manager with an overflowing in-tray full of things to sign you’ll appreciate some help with that.

Example workflow: sign a contract

The goal of this example process is to archive a signed copy of a contract. In Effektif, the process is triggered by using a form to upload a contract. Once this is approved and a signed copy is uploaded, the final task automatically archives the contract.

sign contract process

The catch is that this process model assumes that you’re using electronic signatures and archiving the signed contract by saving it to Google Drive (or, alternatively, This isn’t much use if you want a physical signature on a paper copy, and you have to archive the original. Perhaps this wouldn’t be necessary in an ideal world, but then in an ideal world we wouldn’t have regulations or audits.

Print example: sign a printed contract

If you need a print copy of the contract, to sign, then you would normally have to open the contract, choose a printer, and print it. A simplified version of our example process for signing a contract looks like this, with review and singing combined into a single task:

sign contract process - print version

The first task in the process is a Google Cloud Print task, which will print the uploaded contract as soon as the process is triggered. Use the Effektif process editor to configure the task, by selecting a Google account, a printer and the document to print:

print task set-up

The ‘Contract’ next to ‘Files to print’ is the file variable on the process’s trigger form. This is the form people use to upload a contract and start a new case.

trigger form

Now you have your paper copies under control. If you do have to use paper, you can at least move it as close as possible to to the end of the process: the printer next to your desk.

Photo: jason saul / CC BY-ND 2.0