The Pingen web-app is divided into an App-Container and an Account-Container. You can easily toggle between the two containers using the controls in the upper left-hand corner of the app:
You’ll handle everything concerning your mail settings in the App-Container's Settings menu. It enables you to configure your document preferences, create your own stationery, signatures and placeholders, upload attachments and even design your own envelopes.
With the Account-Container, you’ll handle all settings associated with your user account. Here, you can update your payment and plan settings, and customize your notification type and frequency. If you’re using Pingen’s Business or Enterprise plans, you can also add additional users to your account and define individual user roles in this container.
You can access and define your default document settings in the App-Container's Default Settings menu via Settings -> Documents -> Default Settings. You can indicate whether letters should be sent using left- or right-windowed envelopes. Additionally, you can specify how long Pingen should archive sent documents.
Recognition and Validation is one of the most important settings you’ll configure. Since Pingen prints and sends letters in different countries, it’s imperative that you include the designated country in the address. However, if you want to avoid listing the country for domestic letters, you can easily configure this using the App-Container's Recognition & Validation menu via Settings -> Documents -> Recognition & Validation. Here, you can specify that letters without a country listed in the address should automatically be sent to a specific country. This eliminates the need to manually include the country when dispatching your mail.
In the App-Container, you can create your own envelope designs using the Envelopes menu via Settings -> Envelopes -> Designs. When you send a letter, you can select the custom envelope in the dispatch dialog or set it as a default envelope using the Define Default option. At this time, custom envelopes are not available for letters to Germany, Austria, India or the Netherlands.
To configure automatic delivery of PDF documents via Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive or Email, access the Integration menu in the App-Container via Integration.
You can select your Pingen usage plan using the Account-Container's Plan menu via Plan.
In the Account-Container, you can also handle your payment preferences and account credits using the payments menu via Credit -> Add credit. Payments and credits can be processed with credit cards, PayPal transfers, vouchers or with invoices.
In the Account-Container, you can configure Email and SMS notifications for various events using the Notifications menu via Notifications.
The Documents feature was designed to send PDF documents that were created using a third-party application (like MS Word, Google Docs or an ERP software). With the Documents feature, you can upload existing documents as PDFs, update them with additional pages or information, and send them using the various communication channels. In general, we recommend using the Documents feature for all Pingen dispatches.
With the Letter feature, you can create letters directly within the Pingen app using the built-in editor. Pingen also offers a comprehensive contact management solution for the Letter feature, to which you can import external contacts using a CSV file via the Import menu via Data -> Import.
You can create your own letter templates as well as define placeholder variables for the letter function using the Placeholder menu via Settings -> Letters -> Layouts or Settings -> Letters -> Placeholders.
You can import contacts into Pingen’s contact management system as a table using the Import menu via Data -> Import in the App-Container. You can either drag & drop them or import them as a CSV file. When importing contacts, it’s imperative that your table is set up exactly as follows:
You can launch the letter editor in the App-Container using the Letters menu via Letters -> New:
First, specify a recipient in the RECIPIENT tab, by either selecting a contact from your Pingen-Contacts or by manually entering the required information. Please ensure the address also contains the destination country (unless you’ve already configured your default settings to automatically send letters with no destination country to a specific country). After updating the RECIPIENT tab, enter the title as well as the body of the letter in the CONTENT tab. You can further customize the letter by changing the layout, adding a signature, or using placeholder variables in the remaining tabs. When you click the Letter, a preview is automatically generated. Once you saved the letter via Save, you can open the dispatch menu and send the letter by clicking Send. You can later check the sent letter’s progress in the Sendcenter.
Currently, Pingen exclusively supports PDF or PDF/A documents.
There are 4 different ways to submit a PDF document to Pingen:
PDFs can be uploaded in the App-Container using our Document Upload function via Documents -> To be sent -> Upload. You can upload several PDFs at the same time. However, for larger quantities, we recommend creating a ZIP file of the PDFs and then uploading the ZIP file to Pingen. When uploading multiple documents, it’s important that they all have the address listed on the same side. After the PDF(s) or ZIP(s) have been selected, you’ll be prompted to make selections in the upload dialog box. Specify whether the documents should be uploaded only or if they should be sent directly. Additionally, you need to specify if the address is positioned on the left or right side.
In the App-Container, connect your Pingen account to a Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive account using our Integration menu via Integration -> External Drives. Once a connection is established, Pingen automatically creates a new folder in the Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive account called pingen. Pingen will then check your account once per hour to collect any PDF(s) or ZIP(s) stored in this folder and import them to your Pingen account.
You can configure automatic email delivery in the App-Container using the Integration menu via Integration -> E-Mail. After successful setup, you can send one or more PDF(s) or ZIP(s) to firstname.lastname@example.org from your email address. Upon receipt by Pingen, you’ll receive an email to confirm the delivery by post.
Using the API, you can connect Pingen to a variety of existing software products or integrate it into your own software solutions. The API token can either be displayed or regenerated via the View API Key button of the Overview in the App-Container or via Users -> My user -> Show API token in the Account-Container. Using the API token you can then connect to your Pingen account from the respective software.
In the App-Container, PDFs transferred to Pingen can be sent using the Documents menu via Documents -> To be sent. You can send documents by Post or E-Registered Letter. When you click on a document, the detail view automatically opens. Here, you can open the dispatch dialog by clicking Send:
If you select the Postmail channel, you’ll need to sort through a few different options such as send speeds, printing styles or envelope types. The available options are dependent on the destination country.
When sending an E-Registered Letter, the recipient receives an e-mail containing a protected link to the document along with an access code via SMS. The recipient can then access the document using the link and code received from Pingen. If the E-Registered Letter channel is selected, the E-Mail Address and the Mobile Number of the recipient must be entered on the right-hand side of the dispatch dialog. At the bottom left-hand side of the dispatch dialog, you’ll find the send date as well as the shipping price. Clicking on Details reveals the detailed cost breakdown. Clicking Send triggers the dispatching.
Documents must comply with different requirements depending on the dispatching channel. Especially when sending by post, the document must adhere to requirements concerning the address position, the handling of the restricted areas, and the indication of the recipient country in the address. Once a document is submitted to Pingen, you can view the valid dispatching channels in the App-Container via Documents. Look for the listed channel(s) in the VALID FOR column of the To be sent tab:
To identify the specific reason a document cannot be sent via post, you must open the detail view by clicking on the Document:
By clicking on Details, you can see why the document cannot be sent:
You can also display Pingen’s validation mask using the Validate menu via Solve problems -> Validate. The validation mask will visualize any problems with the address position, the restricted areas or the positioning of ISR, ISR+, red ES or SEPA payslips:
Since Pingen can print and send your document in different countries, a Country Name (either in German or in English) is mandatory in the address. However, if you don’t want to specify the country for domestic letters, you can overrule this requirement in the Settings menu via Settings -> Documents -> When country is missing. There, you can indicate that letters without a country in the address should automatically be sent to a specific country. Alternatively, the country name can also be written in the address using white text. This way, Pingen will still be able to read the country name, but it won’t be visible to the recipient.
Pingen performs rudimentary analysis of the address data to determine if the data is in fact an address. A failed address validation is usually caused by incorrect address positioning. Furthermore, the address must be embedded as text (rather than an image) in the PDF so that our systems can process it. Addresses that are embedded as images in the PDF (likely resulting from a scan) cause the address validation to fail.
Pingen sends letters exclusively using windowed envelopes. Therefore, the document’s address must fit fully inside the blue address area to be considered valid for the postal channel. If the address in the original document cannot be moved, an additional cover sheet can be created using the Solve Problems menu via Solve problems -> Cover page. The additional address will automatically be placed in the correct position.
Currently, it isn’t possible to print using page margins smaller than 5mm. Therefore, Pingen uses a Restricted Areaof 5mm around each edge of a document. Additionally, a matrix code, which is used for the quality- and machine-control, is created at the bottom left-hand corner of the printout. Above the address box, there is an additional restricted area that is used to attach the postage as well as the return information. For a document to be sent, all restricted areas must be kept clear. Using our override solution via Solve problems -> Override forbidden areas, the restricted areas can be overridden with white space to make documents compliant.
You can design personal envelopes using Pingen’s editor in the App-Container via Settings -> Envelopes -> Designs -> New.
On one side, you can configure your custom envelope as your default envelope in the App-Container via Settings -> Envelopes -> Designs using Define Default. This way, your custom envelope will be used automatically if you send letters from third-party applications (provided the letter is sent to a country where printed envelopes are available).
On the other side, you can also select your custom envelope using the Envelope dropdown menu the in the Dispatch Dialog when manually dispatching letters:
In the App-Container, customize your settings via Settings -> Documents -> When country is missing to indicate that letters without a country name in their address should automatically be sent to a specific country. Using this option, the country name will no longer be needed for letters to domestic addresses. Alternately, the country name can be written in the address using white text. This way, Pingen will still recognize the country without it being visible to the recipient.
Pingen processes letters from Monday - Friday (excluding public holidays). To be printed and posted on the same day, postal letters must be sent via Pingen before noon 12:00pm CE(S)T* (for letter to Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands) or before morning 10:00am CE(S)T* (for letters all other countries).
*During summer (last Sunday of March to last Sunday of October) the times are in CEST, in winter respectively the remaining months in CET.
We recommend that you create a serial letter in MS Word (or comparable software) and then upload it to Pingen as a PDF document. In most cases, there are two paths for serial letters:
Save the serial letter in MS Word (or a similar word processor) as an Endless PDF (i.e. a letter with 2 pages to 100 recipients would result in a PDF with 200 pages) and then upload it to Pingen in the App-Container via Documents -> Upload with the setting Split PDF every 2 pages:
Pingen will automatically process the Endless PDF and split it into individual letters (i.e. in our example, the 200-page PDF will automatically split into 100 documents that can then be sent from Pingen).
Create the serial letter in MS Word (or a similar word processor) and save it as individual PDFs. Thus, a serial letter of varying length to 100 recipients would be stored as 100 individual PDFs. These 100 PDFs should then be merged in a ZIP archive and uploaded to Pingen as a ZIP file. Pingen will then automatically process the ZIP file and prepare the 100 individual documents for dispatching.
You can add additional pages or attachments in Pingen by using the Add Pages function. In the App-Container, click on Documents , select the document(s) and choose Add Pages via Selected -> Add pages:
Here, you can upload PDF attachments from your local computer or from the Pingen file storage system where the documents have already been uploaded via Settings -> File Storage -> Attachments in the App-Container. When using attachments, please be advised that they must be sized using the A4 paper format. Adding attachments in other sizes (such as A5) or as pre-produced inserts (such as flyers) is not supported by Pingen.
The Swiss Post offers a B-Post bulk mail rate called B2-Post. Compared to the regular B-Post rate, the B2-Post rate offers an additional price discount, however delivery of the letters may take up to 6 working days (compared to 2-3 working days for regular B-Post). Additionally the B2-Post rate is only available for mailings of at least 350 letters. Pingen uses letter pooling, so you can use the B2-Post for any letter to Switzerland. However Pingen can only print and send the letters, once the threshold of 350 B2-Post letters has been reached (from all customers of Pingen).
After the dispatch, you can view the status of the letter in the Sendcenter of the App-Container. Simply click the letter’s Status link:
The Status link details when the dispatch was made in Pingen, when Pingen forwarded the document to the printing company, and when the printing company posted the letter. For letters to Switzerland, you even see the track & trace information from the Swiss Post.
Unfortunately, Pingen does not receive any notifications once letters have been delivered. Letters that are undeliverable are marked with the status Not deliverable in the Sendcenter once we’ve received an undeliverable notice from the postal service.
The exceptions are letters sent to Switzerland using the A-Post Plus or Registered Mail service. Once these letters have been delivered, the status changes from Sent to Received in the Sendcenter. Additionally, you can see the delivery time as well as the recipient’s signature (for Registered Mail) in the status details of these deliveries.
In the Account-Container's Delivered Mail function Notifications -> Events -> Delivered mail, you can also set up notifications to receive automatic emails or SMS texts once the letter has been delivered.
You can cancel a letter dispatched through the post channel if Pingen hasn’t forwarded the document to the printing facility. To cancel a dispatch, open the Sendcenter in the App-Container. Click the cogwheel next to the document and select the Cancel option:
The status of the document changes to Cancelled if the dispatch cancellation process was successful.
In the App-Container you can retrieve a confirmation, along with all the details of the dispatch, in the Sendcenter via Cog wheel -> Sendconfirmation:
Letters that are not successfully delivered are marked as undeliverable, either by the Post or by Pingen, and then destroyed without being opened. The letters are automatically marked as Not deliverable in the Sendcenter of the App-Container:
In the Account-Container via Notifications -> Events -> Undeliverable mail you can also set up notifications that automatically notify you via email or SMS once letter could not be delivered.
Pingen currently supports ISR, ISR+ and red IS payment slips (for letters to Switzerland) and SEPA payment slips (for letters to Germany or Austria).
For ISR, ISR+ and red IS, Pingen automatically detects the payment slip based on the code line. Thus, it’s important that the code line (as well as all other details of the payment slip) have been created according to the specifications from PostFinance. You can access the detailed guidelines via the following Link.
SEPA payment slips are not yet automatically detected by Pingen. To send letters with SEPA payment slips you need to open the detail view of the document in the Documents section of the App-Container. Once you click Edit in the detail view, you can select SEPA from the Page drop down menu:
If you switch to the detailed view of a document in the App-Container via Documents, you can view which payment slips have been detected on the right-hand side under PAPER- & PRINTTYPE:
Additionally, you can view the payment slip validation and print preview in the Validate menu via Advanced -> Validate or via Solve problems -> Validate:
The API token can either be displayed or regenerated via the View API Key button of the Overview in the App-Container or via Users -> My user -> Show API token in the Account-Container:
In the Business or Enterprise plan, you can create additional users in the Account-Container via Users -> All users -> New. You can configure individual permissions via Username -> Permissions once the user has been activated. If the account has several users, you can create different role profiles and assign them to individual users in the Account-Container via Users -> Roles -> New.
You can set up automatic Email or SMS notifications for various events in the Account-Container via Notifications -> Events. Additional Email addresses or mobile phone numbers can be added in the Recipients tab:
You can change the password in the Account-Container via Users -> My user -> Change password.
You purchase account credit in the Account-Container using the Top Up Credit menu via Credit -> Add credit -> Top up credit:
Credit can be purchased using credit cards (Visa or Mastercard), PayPal or via invoice. When purchasing credit via invoice, it's important to note that the funds are only credited to the account once the payment has been received (which can take several days).
Pingen does not charge VAT except for payments in CHF. For services paid in CHF, the VAT is charged at the time of consumption (no VAT will be charged when CHF are transferred to the Pingen account). At the beginning of each month, a PDF receipt is automatically sent via Email for the previous month’s purchases. In this receipt, the VAT is shown for any purchases with CHF.
For previous months, you can also manually download the receipt in the Account-Container. Access the Cost History function via Credit -> Billing history then click the magnifying glass, and use the Download slip feature:
Pingen only offers the monthly invoice payment to select companies. You can request Payment via monthly invoice by messaging Support. However, a monthly dispatch volume of several thousand letters is required.
In the Account-Container, you can convert your existing funds to CHF, EUR, USD or INR via Credit -> Add credit -> Currency exchange.
Once you stop using Pingen, you can request to transfer your unused funds to your bank account by messaging Support. It’s important to provide all information required for a bank transfer (IBAN, name and address of the beneficiary, BIC / SWIFT code of the bank) in the message. Please be aware that a bank transfer may take several days.
With the following tricks, the print quality can usually increases:
Save the colors using the RGB color scheme (rather than CYMK, which is usually common in digital printing).
Deviations can occur during pre-print processing, especially in the case of complex documents that contain several layers of information. To prevent any deviations, it’s recommended that you reduce the documents to one layer before submitting them to Pingen. A trick that often helps is saving the document using a PDF printer driver (such as Bullzip PDF).
To provide dynamically printed envelopes, Pingen uses special Inkjet technology. Unfortunately, this technology does not provide the same print quality that we use to print the letters. However, you can use the following options to improve the envelope’s print quality:
Use a minimum resolution of 300 DPI for any images and, if possible, save them as Sharp Pixel-Graphic type.
Save the colors using the RGB color scheme.
Ensure the image only consists of 1 layer (modern graphic suites often save images as a collection of several layers to enhance editing options).
The API token can either be displayed or regenerated via the View API Key button of the Overview in the App-Container or via Users -> My user -> Show API token in the Account-Container:
Pingen also provides a Staging-Environment to test API implementations. The staging environment is a 1:1 copy of the production environment. However it is not connected to any print facility, so no letter will actually be printed and sent. To access the staging environment, you have to use the following URLs:
To access the staging environment, you must register through the Register now link on the right hand side when you open the staging app. After the registration you can then log in to the Staging App and manage your account.
When using the API, Pingen recommends using the Documents endpoint, which can be used to send PDF documents. Using this method, there are no restrictions (apart from the restricted areas and address positioning), and you can design the document according to your individual requirements.
If the Pingen API is used with the Documents endpoint, your document must be created as a PDF or PDF/A. Afterward, you can send this PDF to Pingen via the Upload paramenter of the document endpoint and, if desired, dispatch it directly. If you send a PDF to Pingen, the response from the API call contains the Document ID as well as any error codes. The document ID can be used to access or send the uploaded PDF. If a document was sent, the Response from the API Call contains the Send ID. The Send ID can be used to monitor the dispatch progress, retrieve track & trace information or, if necessary, cancel the dispatch.
If a document cannot be sent, the problem is reported in the response of the API call. Additionally, you can view the validation mask in the App-Container. Under Documents, click the detail view, select the corresponding document, and open the Validate menu via Solve problems -> Validate:
If the document already meets the postal mailing requirements, you can access the validation mask in the detail view via Advanced -> Validate.
Although the Pingen systems are redundant, we cannot rule out the possibility of API call failure. For this reason, we recommend setting up a queue on the developer side. The documents should not be removed from this queue until the transfer has been confirmed by the Pingen API. This prevents the loss of documents when there’s an issue during the transmission to the API.
You can use WebHooks to receive automatic notifications, when a document or a letter could not be delivered by the Post. A WebHook will trigger a HTTP Post request with information about the undelivered letter as JSON data to a specific URL. This has the benefit, that you do not need to querry the API for potential status changes of sent letters.
To add a WebHook, open the Account-Container go to the Notifications section, change into the Recipients tab and click New:
Afterwards change to the Events tab, click on the Undeliverable mail event, click Edit and activate the WebHook as (additional) recipient:
Use the Test notification button to test the WebHook and receive a sample of the JSON data.