Forms and Nice results

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Using Acrobat 8 to convert ordinary PDFs to forms

I'm regularly asked about creating forms using Acrobat 8. Now, I may have coivered this before, but I thought it might be worth a reminder...

Create your form

So, you can design a form in your favourite layout program (or any program, Word for example), turn it into a PDF, open it in Acrobat 8, and choose Forms > Run Form Field Recognition.

Acrobat looks through the document and searches for anything that looks like a form field (such as "Name: ___________") and adds the interactive form field logic on top of the underscore part. The form field name is derived from the text preceding the underscore ("Name" in this case) and is sized appropriately.

The form field is now ready to accept data as is. You can use the Form editing tools to do things like change its appearance, add actions, and so on.

Choosing the Run Form Field Recognition command not only creates the fields (in a couple of seconds), but it displays a "Recognition Report" that lists all the fields it detected -- each one linked to the actual field for easy selection -- and includes "Hints for Repair" that explains why some of your fields may not have been detected.

I would say that overall, this works for around 75-80 percent of fields on a form, but it varies. I've had forms that were 100% recognised and some that were only 50% recognised.

Share your form

Once completed, simply "Save As" the form and you can send it to your intended recipient. Don't forget, if your target audience uses the free Adobe Reader, you should also use the "Distribute Form" option..... This will allow Free Reader users to add digital signatures to the form and also perform a "Save As" directly from the Reader....

I'm pleased this feature is generating interest as I think it's a great way for people to gradually move from paper based forms work towards eForms without a massive upfront cost in terms of labour and software expense.

Oh yes, and as people have been reporting all over the place..

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Software maker Adobe Systems Inc. beat Wall Street's expectations in the first quarter with profits that rose 52 percent on continued demand for its design and Acrobat products. For the three months ended Feb. 29, Adobe posted a profit of $219.4 million, or 38 cents per share, according to an earnings report after the close of trading Tuesday.

A pretty good start to the year, the best part for me being the continued strength on the Acrobat business, yes, I'm a bit biased.

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