Posted in Ideas & Reminders, Web 2.0 Tools

Adobe Acrobat – Form Distribute

I have not played with Adobe Acrobat in quite a few years.  At one point, I had figured out how to create form fields that could be submitted to an online database from a fillable PDF document.

I had the opportunity in the last day to return briefly to Adobe Acrobat and find that the app has developed well in certain areas.

The need was to distribute a lengthy document (a planning guide) and have various readers comment on up to 9 “goal” areas.  The original thought was to have a WordPress site and allow for comments.  I even went the route of activating a form plugin with the idea that viewers of the document could send (via email from the online form) their comments.  *I finally abandoned that route because the layout of the original document was lost when moving it from Word to HTML, and to make it look “pretty” online, there would be a time consuming process to port the data over into Table columns and rows.  The comment form was also sprawling.  Given time (which I didn’t have), yes, I think I could have made the form layout more aesthetically pleasing.  But, there was also the problem that aggregating the comments would become a time consuming manual process.

So, early on, I realized that the task was calling for a fillable PDF document.

Adobe Acrobat XI easily found all the potential form fields.  It found about 4 others that were easily deleted.  I did have to delete about 10 fields that were best represented as a “checkbox” and not a “text” field.

I didn’t know how to set the PDF so that anyone, whether they had the full version of Adobe Acrobat, or just Acrobat Reader, so that they could fill in the responses and save the PDF.  That was later found under Forms –> Distribute.  This allows you to choose to save the PDF, and send it via email to a specific address.

I also found that you could Choose Tools > Forms > More Form Options > Manage Form Data > Merge Data Files Into Spreadsheet, to aggregate all the data from those returned (filled in) PDFs and export as a .csv file.  Then pull that file into Excel.

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