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PDF on my website/fill-in?

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DocSavage:
I have a client who wants to post a PDF form, allow users to fill it in online, then send it to the website owner.
Anybody know a low-cost, simple way I can emplement this?

Carol Haynes:
This is in the Acrobat Pro 9 help file:

Add a submit button

When you distribute a form, Acrobat automatically checks the form. If it doesn’t find a submit button, it adds a Submit Form button to the document message bar. Users can click the Submit Form button to send completed forms back to you. If you don’t plan to use the Submit Form button created by Acrobat, you can add a custom submit button to your form.

   1. Using the Button tool, create a button. Double-click the button and set options in the General and Options tabs.
   2. In the Options tab, choose an option in the Layout menu for the button label, icon image, or both. Do one or both of the following:
          *

            Type text in the Label box to identify the button as a submit button.
          *

            Click Choose Icon and either type the path to an image file or click Browse and locate the image file you want to use.
   3. In the Actions tab, choose Submit A Form on the Select Action menu, and then click Add.
   4. In the Enter A URL For This Link box, do one of the following:
          *

            To collect form data on a server, type the location. For example, http://www.[domain]/[folder]/[subfolder]/ for an Internet address or \\[server]\[folder]\[subfolder]\ for a location on a local network.
          *

            To collect form data as attachments to email, type mailto: followed by the email address. For example, mailto:[email protected]
   5. Select options for Export Format, Field Selection, and Date Options, and click OK.

Note: If the data returns in FDF or XFDF format, the server URL must end with the #FDF suffix—for example, http://myserver/cgi-bin/myscript#FDF.
Submit Form Selections options

The following options are available in the Submit Forms Selections dialog box:

FDF
    Returns the user input without sending back the underlying PDF file. You can select options to include Field Data, Comments, and Incremental Changes To The PDF.
    Note: Selecting the option for incremental changes is useful for receiving digital signatures in a way that is easily read and reconstructed by a server.

HTML
    Returns the form in hypertext markup language.

XFDF
    Returns the user input as an XML file. You can include Comments with the field data or just the field data.

PDF
    Returns the entire PDF file with the user input.

Field Selection
    Specifies what fields are returned. To receive only some of the completed field data, select Only These, click Select Fields, and select which fields to include or exclude in the Field Selection dialog box.

    For example, you might use this to exclude some calculated or duplicate fields that appear in the form for the user’s benefit but which do not add new information.

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DocSavage:
Carol,
Thanks for the quick reply. I may end up spending the $400 for Adobe, but I was hoping someone might know of a less expensive option.

cchian:
You could try CutePDF Pro, it seems to be able to do what you need and is very inexpensive.  http://www.cutepdf.com

Carol Haynes:
Carol,
Thanks for the quick reply. I may end up spending the $400 for Adobe, but I was hoping someone might know of a less expensive option.
-DocSavage (May 17, 2009, 03:55 PM)
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If the client wants to create web forms perhaps you should charge them for the software since they will need to have it to generate the forms - whatever you buy.

Why do they need to use PDF forms when it would be very easy to create a webform? If they need to print the forms in a particular way then with the right webform script they could download all completed forms as a spreadsheet and mailmerge them into a formatted Word document.

One such script is http://www.appnitro.com/ which only costs $29 and makes it extremely simple to generate complex forms by a simple drag and drop web based interface. I have used very successfully and spreadsheet download of multiple forms works great (you can select the forms you want to download in a CSV file or download them all).

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