Introduction

Purpose of this Manual

This manual is for users and administrators who plan to deploy AFD Robot Evolution in a Windows environment. It details the installation and configuration options available.

Product Overview

AFD Robot Evolution makes using address management and bank validation within Windows applications easy. Once you have installed Robot, simply type the postcode into any field in a form, and Robot will automatically insert the address into the correct fields. Robot can also validate Bank details right within your application, see the section Bank Account / Card Number Validation for more information.  

Setup

We advise that Robot is installed on a single machine for testing purposes before rolling it out on all of your clients. Please note that AFD Robot Evolution requires a connection to an AFD Postcode Evolution server. If you already have one of our desktop products installed, then you should use AFD Robot Desktop, which can be downloaded from www.afd.co.uk/robot.

Simply follow these steps to get AFD Robot Evolution setup on a single machine:

  1. Download and run the AFD Robot Evolution installer from: www.afd.co.uk/robot.
  2. Once installed, run the program and modify the first line in “Evolution Settings” a. Server: Leave as default if you are licensed to use our hosted Postcode Evolution service. b. Serial: Serial Number on your license certificate. c. Password: Password on your license certificate. d. Type: Type of data used (such as: Address, or Bank) i. If you are using AFD BankFinder, then this will need to be set as Bank. ii. If you are using AFD Postcode, AFD Postcode Plus, AFD Names and Numbers, then this will need to be set as Address.

Using AFD Robot Evolution

Address Entry

To use Robot, type a postcode into your application. Robot will detect the postcode and a dialog box will pop up displaying a list of matched addresses:

To insert an address into your application, you can either click the “Insert” button or double click the desired address.

Robot will detect your application’s fields and insert the address. See “Customising How Robot Inserts” below if you wish to adjust how Robot inserts the address.

If the address you were looking for was not found (for example, the postcode entered was incorrect) then the “Find” box at the top can be used to enter a different postcode or you can perform a FastFind search, for example “Commercial Street, Birmingham”.

If you have looked up a Postcode previously, you can click the arrow on the right of the find box, to see your lookup history.

If you do not wish to insert the address, press the ‘X’ at the top right of the form or press the “Esc” key on your keyboard to close the Robot address window.

To avoid having to select the desired address from the list, you can enter a property number before the postcode into your application. For example, “274, B11 1AA” will automatically insert the matched address into your application without showing the dialog.

Bank Account / Card Number Validation

You can type a sort code and account number, or a debit/credit card number into an input field in an application and Robot will detect if that number is valid and inform you of the result. This helps cut down on errors, as you can follow-up incorrect numbers at the point of entry. Bank Account and Card number validation will also work in Classic Mode applications.

You will be required to set a hot key to use this functionality. By default, pressing the Windows Key + V will validate a Card Number, but this can be amended if required.

Note that correct validation of a number does not guarantee that the account or card actually exists or has sufficient funds to clear a transaction, it verifies that the number is in the correct format.

Email Validation

You can type an email address into your application and Robot will detect if it is valid or not. You will need to set a hot key to use this functionality. Please refer to the Hot Key Support for Reverse Searching section of this manual. This helps cut down on errors, as you can then follow-up an incorrect email address at the point of entry. Take note that Email Validation will also work in Classic Mode applications.

Please note that correct validation of an email address does not guarantee the email address is live, simply that the format and domain is valid. It is not possible to determine scenarios such as the mailbox being full or if anyone is actually reading or replying to email at that address.

Hot Key Support for Reverse Searching

Robot also supports the use of Hot Keys for address searching. Pressing the Hot Key carries out a FastFind from your application, allowing you to enter a FastFind string where the postcode is not known, e.g. “Commercial Street, Birmingham”.

If you are using an address based product (such as Postcode, Postcode Plus or Names & Numbers) then by default, pressing Windows Key + A will activate the Robot FastFind search.

You can configure other Hot Keys or change this combination to any other combination. The AFD Robot Hot Keys can be configured in the “Global Settings” options screen.

Note that the Hot Keys will apply to all applications. 

Customising How Robot Inserts

To customise how Robot inserts, click the “Options” button after entering a postcode in your application or you can simply right click the Robot system tray icon and modify your current application’s settings.

Robot Options

The Robot Options screen displays a list of available Robot fields. When this box is visible, available fields in your application will be highlighted blue. Assign the Robot field to the appropriate field in your application by dragging and dropping the Robot fields into the relevant fields in your application.

Other options provided are as follows:

  • Insert address without prompting if single result

    Selecting this option will instruct Robot to automatically insert (without prompting) when it returns a single result.

  • Enable Robot for this application

    These options allow you to enable/disable Robot for any application and to determine if addresses, account/card numbers and email validation are enabled.

  • Include Organisation with address fields

    If using the special “Address” fields, you can choose to exclude the organisation by unchecking this option.

  • Uppercase Town

    This is preferred by Royal Mail for correct labelling of envelopes.

  • Grid Approximation

    If you need to insert approximate grids into your application, then tick this option. A message box will appear to warn you that the search will be redone to include the grids.

Double-clicking on one of the blue text boxes in your application provides these options:

  • Upper Case

    To set the field in upper-case if desired

  • Multiple Lines

    If you wish to split multiple line addresses then you need to say how many lines you want to split by.

    Insert multiple fields into a multi-line box or text area (“Fields Mode” only. See Figure 4)

  • Prefix and Postfix

    Prefix and Postfix commands in “Classic Mode” to move between fields or lines.

  • Postfix Blank Field

    This is useful if one of the fields is blank, it can insert a postfix in its place. You may want it to keep the blank space (note that Remove Blank Lines will work against this option).

  • Use Coordinates

    This works in conjunction with the option to “Detect on Coordinates” from within Advanced Settings.

  • Remove

    You can also remove the field altogether if you do not wish it to be inserted.  

    Need Assistance

The “Need Assistance?” button will provide the option to send a request to AFD Support for help setting up your application. There is also an option to use TeamViewer, if you chose to install it during the installation process.

Advanced Settings

  • Detect on Coordinates

    If set, the application file will be detected when the current field coordinates match the application file field coordinates and the application file detection method is coordinate. The application field must be set up for 'use coordinates'.

  • Detect on Title Bar

    By default, Robot recognises an application based on its contents. In cases where the content changes, this option uses the application name picked up from the Title bar instead.

  • ….and Frame

    This option can be used if your application includes a tab with different frames. Robot will then detect the application name and the frame that it is using. Contact AFD Support for assistance.

  • Maximum Number of Edit Controls

    If your application contains multiple text boxes within a frame, use this to tell Robot how many text boxes will be used. Default is set to 0.

  • Default to Keystroke Simulation

    A minority of applications may not display the address unless physically entered using the computer keyboard. This mode forces Robot to simulate physical keyboard entry, which may help in these rare cases.

  • If a pop-up appears whilst inserting

    Robot will dismiss pop-ups by default to prevent interference with insertion. This option can also be changed to abort the Robot insert, or ignore the pop-up and continue.

  • Detect More Controls

    If some of the fields in your application aren’t recognised at first, this option will force Robot to perform a more thorough scan of the fields.

  • Use Fields / Classic Mode

    Robot will automatically use the mode that it can detect. Fields mode is used where your application has different text boxes; Classic mode is used for entry into a multi-line text area, such as Notepad.

Global Settings

In “Global Settings”, you can Add, Modify or Remove hotkeys. Double click the hotkey that you would like to remove. Once you lock the settings, Robot will ask you to restart Robot. Once you have restarted Robot, then the user will be limited to only the use of Robot, and will not be able to change fields, etc.  

Administrators Guide

Roll Out

Other methods of roll-out

To discuss your individual circumstances and best methods of roll-out that fits within your own setup and working practices, please contact our support team for assistance.

Robot with AFD Installed Desktop product

Please speak with a member of Technical Support if you would like to use Robot with any of our installed desktop products. The compatible products are: Names & Numbers, Postcode Plus, Postcode, Plotter and BankFinder.

Robot Configuration

By running Robot.exe with the command-line parameter “-config”, you can access global configuration settings for Robot.

  • You can modify Evolution settings if required
  • You can remove any applications that have been excluded from use by Robot
  • You can configure Robot Hotkey’s
  • Lock Robot Settings – This option prevents users from saving changes to Robot configuration – useful when you have Robot setup to work the way you want it to with applications. Run robot.exe with the above parameter, and then untick “Lock Robot Settings” to unlock the settings again.  

Glossary

Classic Mode (Non-Form Based Applications)

An application that does not have fields, but uses a large text area (similar to Notepad) is known as a classic application. AFD Robot will not be able to detect any fields so will treat the application as a Classic Application; and will insert the address into a block starting from the left margin and where the cursor is.

Fields Mode (Form Based Applications)

An application that has fields is known as a Form Based Application. AFD Robot will automatically detect these fields if using “Fields Mode”.

Hot Keys

A hot key is a series of one or several keys that invoke software or an operating system operation.

TeamViewer

A proprietary computer software package for remote control, desktop sharing, online meetings, web conferencing and file transfer between computers.