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April 24, 2014

The Best of Both Worlds: When it makes sense to use FormsCentral instead of Acrobat

Being a super-famous international Acrobat mega-star* has its perks. For instance, I get to decide where I want to spend my summer this year: my chalet in the south of France, or my bungalow in St. Lucia?** Wherever I choose to go, I know I’ll be happy.

You might find yourself in a similar decision-making position if you’ve been using Acrobat to work with PDF forms; what about FormsCentral, you might say to yourself? Sure, you can use Acrobat for all your PDF needs (forms included!), but FormsCentral has a few perks of its own when it comes to working with forms. Let me explain what I mean.

First of all, you can use FormsCentral to create PDF and web forms. Publish as an HTML form and people can fill it out in a browser on their laptops, smartphones, or tablets; you can also download the PDF form to broaden your distribution options and let form recipients work offline – something I do when I’m on my little island. You don’t have to choose one format or the other.

Moreover, you can create these forms quickly, easily, and beautifully. When I say it’s “easy”, here’s what I mean: Choose one of the dozens of form and survey templates. Tweak the language, add or remove a question here and there, maybe toss in your logo or change some colors… and you’re ready to go. FormsCentral lets you collect information – on the web or with a PDF form – and look darn good while you’re at it. Let’s check in with ourselves for a second: so far, all you’ve done is logged into FormsCentral and decided which template you liked best – and you’re already close to done. St. Lucia, here we come!

If you’re using FormsCentral to put a form on the web, you’ve also got a few extra options to work with: you can collect payments securely through PayPal, show or hide form fields based on answers to previous questions, or change the language the form communications go out in. You also get to write messages for people to see at different stages: when they submit the completed form, when they get an email confirmation after submitting the form, and when they need extra information while they’re actually filling out the form. You get to talk to your form respondents at every stage of the game. One of the real joys of using FormsCentral, though, is what you see when the data starts rolling in. Real-time responses. Organized automatically in a data table. That you can filter and sort through. I mean… “easy” doesn’t even begin to describe it. Since the data is collected in real time and automatically stored in FormsCentral, you don’t have to lift a finger to collate or organize it. You also get to take advantage of the auto-generated summary reports, which are easy to drop into presentations or reports (again, with no actual work required of you). Sure, life can seem tough when you have to call your staff in Marseilles to let them know you won’t be joining them for baccarat this summer; but when you start using FormsCentral to manage your form creation and distribution, it sure does get a lot easier for you.

*By which I mean, “Sometimes my mom calls me when she needs help with the printer.”

**Obviously, this is not my life. But hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?

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COMMENTS

  • By George Johnson - 8:26 AM on April 29, 2014  

    An important aspect of FormsCentral is it can work with PDF forms made entirely with Acrobat and imported into FormsCentral. This allows you to create more complicated forms than the FormsCentral app allows and quickly have the form ready to collect data in a secure and reliable way with FormsCentral. This is much more reliable than submitting by email, is secure (unlike email), works with mobile devices when using Adobe Reader, and you’re not restricted to using just 500 responses as you are if you Reader-enable a form with Acrobat. And it’s reasonably priced. Finally, you can download any response as a filled-in PDF form. Not just the best of both worlds, it’s a better world.

    • By Rebecca Staley - 8:37 AM on April 29, 2014  

      Hi George,

      Thanks for the comment – it’s so cool to hear that you’re importing your PDF forms to FormsCentral and really taking advantage of all the things this service has to offer. Happy form-ing!

      Rebecca

  • By Karen Walsh - 9:20 AM on April 29, 2014  

    I create scripted order forms for customers to use to order uniforms on the occasion when we don’t have the time to create a custom web site for that customer. I create the form in InDesign, export a pdf, script the pdf in Acrobat Pro and save it as a Reader-enabled file. If I import that pdf to FormsCentral, will a web form also be created or does that only apply to forms actually “created” on FormsCentral?

    • By Adobe Acrobat - 9:58 AM on May 1, 2014  

      Importing a PDF form into FormsCentral won’t make a web form. FormsCentral will just be used to collect the data for the distributed PDF form. Let us know if you have any other questions.

      Katie

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