We need to automate some forms flow in our institution.

We have some paper based forms, we would like to be able to publish online as pdfs. These forms will be downloaded by students, filled and then submitted as scanned images.

These documents should be kept in the system with the student Id and forwarded for the assigned staff to review in the system. After approval from the concerned person, it might be saved in the system for later retrieval or forwarded for a second approval.

Any free/open source systems available to accomplish this task?

The system could be hosted on Windows or Linux and have a Web UI.

EDIT: I found ProcessMaker : http://www.processmaker.com but I am not sure if it can achieve my requirements. Any body has any experience with this?

  • "filled": With a paper and pen, after printing? Or a kind of electronically editable PDF?
    – Nicolas Raoul
    Commented Feb 15, 2016 at 3:37
  • Anyway; I dont want an OCR functionality. It can be either editable PDF or Filled with Pen after printed and then, the form will be uploaded as a JPEG or PDF. I am mostly concerned with the approval process. The approval process is also very simple. It Just needs to be Confirm or Rejected Commented Feb 15, 2016 at 4:17
  • Should the system create the forms, or will you do that manually? Should the system have a web interface for students to download/upload forms? Is it the same form for every student, or forms are pre-filled with the student ID?
    – Nicolas Raoul
    Commented Feb 15, 2016 at 5:34
  • The forms can be created manually, The system should have atleast the ability to upload the completed form and take the student Id as input. The forms can be hosted somewhere else, or within the system. The forms will be same for every student. But there will be many forms, the student will only be submitting the form he should submit. Each form will have its own workflow; i.e. Form A will be approved by Person A and Form B By Person B and then by Person C. Commented Feb 15, 2016 at 5:55

1 Answer 1


Alfresco is good at this. It is free and open source.

First, connect Alfresco to your user database, for instance LDAP, so that students can access it.

Second, put the PDFs in an Alfresco folder (or hierarchy of folders), with the correct rights, so that the PDFs are only visible by the targeted persons. You can use groups if that facilitates this step.

Third, create a folder called "Submissions" for people to upload their filled PDF/JPG files in. Configure an Alfresco rule that immediately moves incoming documents to "Submissions_private" which you will configure to be visible only by admins and reviewers.

Fourth, create an Alfresco workflow for every different workflow you have. Example:

Alfresco Workflow timer email reminder

You can configure much more complex workflows with as many steps as you want, and define what approval means: approved by one person, approved by all reviewers, approved by more than X% of the reviewers, etc.

In your case you could configure the result of the workflow this way: If approved, move the received file from "Submissions_private" to "Approved", and to "Rejected" if rejected.

When your workflows are ready, call them from the Alfresco rule of step 3.

From a student's point of view:

Alfresco folders workflow

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