Friday, July 25, 2008

Create an Interactive PDF Form


Adobe Acrobat Professional allows you to create PDFs that you can send to people by email, having them fill out the form, and then submit it back to you by email. This occurs in a fairly automated way, and allows you to keep track of the results with a spreadsheet sort of method. The instructions below are outlined for use with Adobe Acrobat Professional 8 in combination with a Microsoft Word document which is being used to generate the original form. Another option you will see is to use one of Adobes prebuilt templates

Create Interactive PDF Form

  1. Open Acrobat Pro 8
  2. Under the Form menu, select Create New From
  3. Select Start with an electronic document
  4. Press Continue
  5. If it shows you a Creating and Distributing FYI, press Continue
  6. Press Browse…
  7. Change the Files of Type to Microsoft Office Word
  8. Locate your file, press Open
  9. Press Next
  10. Wait for it to Import the document
  11. Press Next
  12. Select Run Auto Field Detection
  13. Press Next
  14. Press Done
  15. Add the appropriate email address
  16. Select to add a print button if you want one
  17. Press Finish

Edit/Fine-Tune PDF

  1. Select Preview PDF tab
  2. Test fields but typing in them, notice the fields might be two high on the line.
  3. Go back to Design View tab
  4. Select one field at a time and nudge them down with your arrow keys
  5. Right-click on form fields, select Rename Object, check to see if you like the names it picked.
  6. Save the PDF when you’re done

Distribute PDF

IMPORTANT: Always test on yourself and someone else

  1. From Adobe LiveCycle Designer, select File menu, then Distribute Form
  2. Select Send now via email
  3. Press Ok
  4. Enter the Return email address (your email address for now)
  5. Press Next
  6. Accept the default location for Collect Data in this File
  7. Press Next
  8. Enter your email address, press enter, and enter another person’s email address that will help you out with testing
  9. Press Next
  10. Add anything you want for a subject and body of the message
  11. Press Done
  12. Press Ok

Test PDF

  1. Check your email and have your helper check their email
  2. Open the attached PDF
  3. Fill it out
  4. Press the Submit by Email button
  5. Press Ok for the appropriate type of email client
  6. Press Ok again
  7. Close PDF, don’t save

Retrieve Data

  1. Check your email for the Returned Form
  2. Open the attached PDF
  3. Click OK on the Add Complete Form to Data Set (ensure it’s going to the place specified in step 29)
  4. Repeat these 3 steps for each returned form
  5. You’ll see the results in the upper panel above the PDF
  6. Save the Data Set PDF

When you're done testing, you can return to the Adobe LiveCycle Designer, and enter the appropriate list of email address in Step 31.

This original post published by University of Idaho in Create an interactive pdf form.

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