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About PackItForms



PackItForms is a system that enables the communications of complex, forms-based information used by our served agencies over a low speed radio data link. PackItForms can be integrated with different message management systems, such as the Outpost Packet Message Manager, refered to hereafter as "Outpost". It can also be customized with specific forms and behaviors to meet the needs of individual agencies. For Santa Clara County ARES/RACES, we use PackItForms integrated with Outpost and customized with SCCo-specific forms. For simplicity, we refer to the combined system as "PackItForms".

Note: PackItForms is new, as of SCCo Packet Installer version 145C.


PackItForms currently requires Windows XP or later. But, that may change in the future as browser technology continues to advance.

As always, users are strongly encouraged to use only currently supported versions of the operating system. For information about recommended hardware and operating systems, see: Computer Considerations for Data Stations.

Installation Location

PackItForms can be integrated with Outpost or other applications, and can be customized with different forms and behaviors for different agencies. Multiple instances may be present on the same machine to accomodate different customizations. For example, a city may have both the county and their own city forms installed. Each instance of PackItForms is typically installed in:


Our SCCo integrated packet installer installs a version of PackItForms which includes an integration with Outpost and Santa Clara County custom forms. The install directory for this combination is:



User Guide: The user guide can be found at: {PackItFormsInstallDir}\UserGuide.html

Version Info: The currently installed version number can be found at: {PackItFormsInstallDir}\version.txt


PackItForms is intended to operate as an "add-on" to Outpost. But it can also be operated as a stand-alone application when Outpost is not available. For more detail about how to use these and other features, consult the PackItForms user guide (see above) and/or the Outpost User Guide.

Outpost Add-On

PackItForms uses the Outpost Add-on API to integrate forms processing into the normal Outpost message handling workflow. Some key integration capabilities include:

Outpost Forms Menu

In the "public" version of the SCCo Integrated Packet Installer, several PackItForms message types are integrated into the Outpost "Forms" menu, including: XSC ICS 213 Message, XSC EOC 213RR Resource Request, XSC OA Municipal Status, XSC OA Shelter Status, and XSC Allied Health Facility Status. ("XSC" is the Cal Fire abbreviation used for Santa Clara County.)

The "private" version of the installer is available to hospital operators and RACES leadership and includes additional message types for hospitals and RACES mutual aid.

Add-On Identifier

The identifier "SCCoPIFO" appears at the beginning of messages to indicate that it is an "SCCo PackItForms for Outpost" message. This identifier tells Outpost which add-on created the message. Outpost uses the API to communicate with the PackItForms add-on for message display and processing. For more information about message type IDs, see the Outpost API documentation.

Edit/Update Capability

Once submitted to Outpost, PackItForms messages can be re-opened, edited, and re-submitted to Outpost until the message is eventually sent.

Outpost Actions Menu

Outpost uses the "SCCoPIFO" identifier and the API to automatically open a PackItForms message as a form in a web browser. But how the message is opened can also be controlled manually, via the Outpost Actions menu:

  • Actions > Open enhanced message in client
    • Forces a message to open in its client program (for example, PackItForms)
  • Actions > Open enhanced message as text
    • Forces a message to open as a standard Outpost text message
    • This can be helpful if a message is currupted and does not open properly in it's native client application. The user can view (and print) the text message to see the data for each field.


PackItForms can be operated stand-alone by running: {PackItFormsInstallDir}\browse.cmd

This opens a browser window that lets the user create a new form or use a received PackItForms message to display it as a form.


PackItForms was developed by John Kristian, W6JMK, Peter Amidon, KJ6PUN, and Keith Amidon, KJ6PUO. The integration with Outpost was developed in coordination with Jim Oberhofer, KN6PE, who is the author of Outpost and developed the Outpost API.


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This page was last updated 15-Aug-2019