PDF forms for the web

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by digitaldean, Aug 7, 2006.

  1. digitaldean macrumors member

    Feb 13, 2006
    Have a PDF employment app. form that was created in Acrobat 6 that my client wants users to fill out and then submit back as an email attachment.

    I have tried but haven't been able to get it to work. When I try downloading the PDF in Adobe Reader, I get an error message stating that I can't save the info I fill into the file.

    From what I've read on Adobe's site, I need to have Adobe LiveCycle. Anyone have any experience with this? Would I have to have this installed on my client's web server?

    Or, is there any easier and less costly solution? Any and all help on this is appreciated.
  2. purdueboiler87 macrumors member

    Aug 5, 2005
    Clearwater, FL
    To be able to save the data with the form, or to email the form in, you would either need to open the form with Acrobat (not reader) or "reader enable" the form with Adobe Reader Extensions Server.
  3. ChicoWeb macrumors 65816


    Aug 16, 2004
    Or have them apply online. Seems like extra paperwork to me.
  4. digitaldean thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 13, 2006


    Yes, I agree. But they seemed bound and determined to use a PDF.

    Their response to me is "so users can save the application form."

    Just don't get it.
  5. digitaldean thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 13, 2006
    Pardon my lack of knowledge on this. . . :confused:

    Would they have to use Windows Acrobat and use Adobe Live Cycle Designer or would they have to have specific extensions loaded on their web server?
  6. j26 macrumors 65832


    Mar 30, 2005
  7. RacerX macrumors 65832

    Aug 2, 2004
    Acrobat can do what you want... just not the way you want to do it.

    You create a submit button in the form that will take the info in the form fields and attach it to an e-mail as an Acrobat Form Data Format (FDF). You can then reunite that data with the same form document on your system in Acrobat.

    From there you can do a Save As to keep that data and the form document together.

    This isn't the type of thing that Adobe has a small "how to" on their site about... they publish training books on just the form feature of Acrobat. And so do third party publishers. I have four books on Acrobat, three are general references and the fourth only covers Acrobat forms.

    If you are sending out a PDF form, you'll need a reference. There is a lot of stuff that you have to program into forms via scripts, and without a guide, Acrobat's form features are very hard to navigate.
  8. digitaldean thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 13, 2006

    Thanks! Looks like I have some brushing up to do!

    If you can recommend any particular source I'd appreciate it. I have a lot of experience with PDFs from the prepress perspective, just am green with the forms aspect of it.
  9. RacerX macrumors 65832

    Aug 2, 2004
    Creating Adobe Acrobat forms by John Deubert (ebay auction)
    Creating Adobe Acrobat forms by Ted Padova (ebay auction)
    Extending Acrobat Forms with JavaScript by John Deubert (ebay auction)​
    I currently have the first book, and will most likely get the third pretty soon (as I get more familiar with the form tools). I haven't actually seen what is in the second one. Oddly enough I can't seem to find any of Adobe's training books on forms right now.

    Another good reference is Adobe Acrobat 6 Tutorials, which has a series of videos on making forms.

    Hope that helps a little.

    I know the feeling, I was coming from the same background when I happen across a video demo of what Acrobat could do... after that I decided to make sure I was getting the most I could out of the PDF format.

    I still use Acrobat 5.0.10 (in Mac OS X) and Acrobat 5.0.5 (in Mac OS 8.6) with some parts from Acrobat 4 (Adobe removed Capture and I think Catalog from Acrobat 5, but they can be put into and used in Acrobat 5). Because Distiller 5 doesn't run native in Mac OS X, I use Stone Design's PStill for distilling PDFs (which is nice as all upgrades of Stone Design products are free for life).

    As I recall, Adobe removed a number of items from Acrobat 5 when making Acrobat 6 Standard... which made it a downgrade rather than an upgrade for me, so I haven't worked with Acrobat 6 too much (other than helping clients). I believe Acrobat 6 Professional still has all the features of Acrobat 5 (except for the ones that I transplanted from Acrobat 4), including the full form creation tools.

    I may upgrade to Acrobat 6 Professional if I find the upgrade at a reasonable price on ebay. But after watching Adobe slowly remove features from Acrobat from version 3 to version 6, I just can't see giving Adobe more money for less functionality anymore. :eek:
  10. purdueboiler87 macrumors member

    Aug 5, 2005
    Clearwater, FL
    Reader Extensions server is usually installed on the web server. For what you are wanting to do, you would "reader enable" the form (it has a wizard like interface) and then you could put it on whatever web server you wanted. The pdf does not need to communicate with the reader extensions server after it has been reader enabled.

    For the form designer software, I would use Adobe Designer which ships with Acrobat Professional. Pretty intuitive.

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