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External post FTP and Filename transfer method
External post FTP and Filename transfer method
Ha Ngan Nguyen avatar
Written by Ha Ngan Nguyen
Updated over a week ago

We are giving more flexibility when receiving files back from external post vendors via FTP and! The files will be accepted based on filenames only!

Logic definitions

Within the FTP or external post-production Vendor Information settings, you can see the selection for Transfer Method.

  • Legacy mode (Metadata): We currently use this method when sending out files to the vendors and the Physical File ID in the metadata is how we recognize the files when receiving them back. You can learn more about this here.

  • Filename mode: This is the new feature where we will scan for the correct filenames when receiving them back. Once you select this mode and save the settings, you cannot switch back to Legacy mode. When Filename mode is selected, you will see further settings below.

When returning files to Creative Force, the vendor must either send them with the correct:

  • Filename only: the filename must be correct as per style guide setup.

  • Filename plus Folder path: both the filename and the folder path must be the same as the folder path in the style guide setup when files are returned to the Downloads folder.

If the vendor is running on Legacy mode, you can switch it to be Filename mode and click 'Save'. You will see a pop-up asking for your confirmation on the action. Please note that once you changed the vendor to be on Filename mode, you cannot switch back to Legacy mode.


Products that are currently In Progress or Rejected at the External Post before changing the transfer method will continue following the Legacy mode to be returned to CF.

Expected Return Files List

We recommend enabling the Expected Return Files List as this file includes all of the information that the vendor must follow to return the files successfully. When enabling this option, you can also select to Include Preset Specifications.

Include preset specifications: When enabled, all preset specifications such as file extension, DPI, color profile…etc will be sent to the vendor. Only applies to fan-out steps. This information can be found in the Expect_returned_files.txt that I will go into details later.

Here, you can set up two things regarding the Expected_returned_files file:

  • File format: either a TXT or a JSON file

  • File name: this is separated by Ecomm and Editorial production. You can select the token and CF will extract that value to name the file

How it works

Sending to vendor

When files are sent to the vendor, along with the image files, Creative Force will also send:

  • Transfer_completed.log: The Log-file contains a list of all sent files including their directories on the FTP-Server. This file should not be returned when returning completed files

  • Expect_returned_files.txt: This file contains all of the information the vendor needs to know when returning files back to Creative Force.

    • The number of files they must return

    • The name of each file returned and their corresponding source files

    • The folder where the vendor must upload the files back

    • The preset specification of each image (if this is enabled). If file extension is N/A, the vendor can send any file format back

    • Other references

With the above example, the File Return method is Filename Only, therefore, the return folder location is /Hann Fresh acc/Upload from FTP/UAT as this is the Download folder set in the vendor settings. You can easily recognize this method as the folder path will start with a slash /. This means that the vendor can just send the files to the target folder UAT.

If you selected the Filename plus Folder Path method, you will see the folder starts from the root folder. The return folder location in this example is All files/Hanh UAT/EU/Box 1. Then when returning the files, the vendor must send back the whole folder All files/Hanh UAT/EU/Box 1/Product_011122_9_Flat2_main.jpg.

Receiving from vendor

After files are uploaded by the vendor to the FTP, Creative Force will automatically scan the folder, as opposed to, where it will send a webhook to CF to notify the scan service.

The vendor can check if the files are received after uploading. If the files are mapped correctly, they will be moved to the Archived folder. If files are not mapped correctly, they will be moved to the _CF-Invalid-files folder within the Archived.

Note: This only applies when you have the clean-up settings as Archived.

Main and Variant same naming tokens and file extensions

There might be a scenario where you need the main images and the variants to have the same name and same file extensions. In the case where there is only one source file but you require different versions to be sent back, CF will use a fallback service to be able to map the files back and the information will be shown in the Expect_returned_files.txt file.

  • If the current external post step is not a fan-out step, CF will use naming tokens + Asset ID in the filename.


  • If the step is a non fan-out step, when receiving files back, CF will not check the file extension. As long as the filename is correct, all will be received.

  • If the current external post step is a fan-out step, CF will use naming tokens + the preset variant code in the filename.

After External Post step is done, the filename will be renamed according to the setup in the Style guide.

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