The following post was originally published in the Adobe LiveCycle blog.
We get many questions about Reader extensions. That’s not surprising really because there are numerous ways to use reader extensions in an enterprise capacity, as well as in a workgroup or consumer type of way. We also get many questions about the aspects of licensing reader extensions based on the fact that Reader extended forms can be created from our Acrobat family of products as well as our LiveCycle family of products. The licensing programs for Acrobat and LiveCycle are designed to serve different uses and organizational needs. They scale from desktop use to enterprise levels.
Before we go too much further though, let me explain what a Reader extended document is.
The Reader extensions capability digitally signs a PDF form or document to enable certain features in the free Reader product on a per-file basis. These are features otherwise found in the full Acrobat product. Extending features in a PDF document allows the content creator to offer more advanced capabilities to end users with free Reader without requiring them to purchase the full Acrobat product. Examples of the features which are enabled by Reader extensions include commenting, digital signatures, and saving forms and data offline. We usually see customers take advantage of this technology to capture data in a form using Reader extensions based on the ability for someone to fill out a form inside of the free Reader product, save it to their desktop, and then email it to the person needing this information.
LiveCycle and Reader Extended Forms:
Here’s an example of a Reader extended form: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040.pdf. This example was created using LiveCycle Enterprise Suite. LiveCycle is a server based product for automating form and document processing in enterprise organizations. The use of reader extensions in LiveCycle is targeted for large distribution use cases. Other services available in LiveCycle can be used to generate PDF documents and forms and automate their processing in conjunction with other enterprise systems. LiveCycle’s Reader extensions capabilities are licensed on a per-document (or form) or a per-recipient basis. Its usage can scale to extract information from an unlimited number of documents or an unlimited number of recipients. A LiveCycle customer can purchase more document or recipient licenses as their business needs require. For example, a state that wants to develop a single tax form to collect information from its 2 million citizens might purchase a per-document license for their form. However, a government department of 6,000 planning to develop several human resources forms might be better served with per-recipient licenses.
Acrobat and Reader Extended Forms:
As I mentioned earlier, you can also create a reader extended form by using Acrobat. Acrobat is a desktop product for producing and working with PDF documents on an individual basis. The reader extension capabilities in Acrobat are intended for small scale distributions. Acrobat provides capabilities to extract data into spreadsheets for further processing.