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In Acrobat X Essential Training, author Anne-Marie Concepción demonstrates how to create, modify, review, and share PDFs in Adobe Acrobat X Standard or Pro. Starting with a tour of the new panels-based interface, the course covers the basics of the software, such as creating and customizing PDFs, searching, editing text and graphics, and extracting PDF content to use in other programs. Also included are tutorials on creating forms, inserting interactivity and rich media, using the prepress tools, combining PDFs with other types of files to create customized portfolios, and ensuring document security. Exercise files accompany the course.
So we've finished creating our form in Adobe Acrobat. If I wanted to, I could just send off this PDF via e-mail to people that I wanted to fill out, and have them fill it out and send it back to me, But there is an easier way to do that in Acrobat, and that is by distributing the form. Let's take a look at how that's done. In these Forms pane, under the Tools section, as long as you are done editing your form, you can click Distribute. You're given three choices of how to collect responses from your recipients.
You could automatically download and organize responses with acrobat.com-- that's the free online service that sort of ties into Adobe Acrobat. You can have it manually collect responses in your e-mail inbox, or you could automatically collect responses on your own internal server. We're going to use the acrobat.com, because it's kind of like the middle road that offers a nice bit of automation without a whole lot of set up required. Really, the only thing that's required in that case is that you and your respondents have an acrobat.com account, which is free.
If they don't have an acrobat.com account, when they get the e-mail from you saying, "It's available for you to fill out," they'll be prompted with a very simple wizard-like thing to create an acrobat.com account. All they need is their e-mail address and a password, and then they don't even have to confirm. From then on, they can just go ahead and download the PDF. Okay, acrobat.com lets you distribute the form. Respondents can use Adobe Acrobat or Reader to fill in the form, and the responses are encrypted. So if you're asking for something, say like a credit card number, they don't have to worry about that.
Acrobat stores all the responses on your hard drive and notifies you via the tracker about which recipients have responded, and when they've responded. It's very cool. Let's go ahead and follow this wizard for distributing the acrobat.com. It's authenticating my Adobe ID, which I had already added to preferences. In the video on important preferences to set up earlier in this title, I mentioned if you go to online services and preferences, you can enter in your acrobat.com ID because it's used in various places throughout the program.
So I've already done that. If I hadn't done that, it would have brought me into a wizard that let me set up my acrobat.com account on the fly. Now what I need to do is add the e-mail addresses of people that I want to send this to. You could enter them by hand, you could copy and paste them, or if you click the To field, that will give you access to your Address Book in Outlook. Now you can see that it's got a canned message and subject, but you can always swipe over this and type in something else if you would prefer. But you can see that is basically just inviting people to complete the form, that they can use Acrobat or Reader, and then they'll have a Submit button in that form--even though we didn't create that.
It's part of the reason why you'd want to use this method. It's really great. And then they'll have a link to the place where they can download the PDF. The Access Level is where Acrobat can restrict who is able to download that PDF from acrobat.com, either anybody who knows the URL--like one of the recipients could pass on the URL to somebody-- or just these specific recipients. You can also have it collect the recipient's name and e-mail addresses, which will help us with tracking. So let's just go ahead and click Send.
A little progress bar tells us that it's prepping the file for distribution. It's adding the extended features in Reader, so if somebody replies with Reader that they're able to fill in and save their responses and send their responses. And then what happens is the tracker automatically opens. Now the tracker--opened from right here, this little link, but open on its own-- it is kind of like a little mini application that's built in to Adobe Acrobat, and it has two functions: one, it tracks forms that you distributed, and two, it tracks shared reviews, which I'll be talking about in a different chapter.
So on the left, it's showing us some information about what we've just sent, and on the right detailed about the selected form. Now I have the video just about using this tracker later. So when I can spend a whole lot of time here, but let's just see what happens with our recipients. So I'm going to close out of here and quit out of Acrobat. I'm going to jump to Gmail, where I've already logged on as Joe Schmoe. I'm Joe, and Joe has received the e-mail invitation. So let's see what that looks like.
Please complete this PDF with the information, and here is, in case they don't have Reader, they can click here. They can download the PDF right here or if they want to use a different browser, they can copy and paste this URL. So I'm going to copy this URL, and then I'm going to log on to my own acrobat.com account as Joe Schmoe--only because we're using everything in the same account, and I don't want to accidentally log on to Olivia's acrobat.com account.
I'm logged on to acrobat.com as Joe, and now I'll just go ahead and paste in the URL that I copied from that e-mail. If he's on his own computer, he could have just as easily just clicked the link in the e-mail to get to this point. I'm in Joe's e-mail box on Gmail, where there is the invitation that Olivia just sent him to complete this form. So he clicks the form, which brings him to acrobat.com, and it says, "This file is a PDF form. Please download." Pick the location.
I'll put it on my desktop. Oilfest-invite-form_distributed.pdf. Actually, I think I'll make a folder on my desktop called Joes and put inside Joes folder, just to keep things straight, since I'm dealing with two different personas on the same account. Download complete, and it's done. Now let's go to Reader, and it will say that Joe only has Reader, and this will work, by the way, with Reader 9 or 10.
Then I go to File > Open and get to Joes folder on my desktop, where I open up the PDF that Olivia sent. So it opens up it as a form, and it says that I can save data typed into this form because distributing it this way automatically extended Reader rights. So normally, Reader users can't save form data, but here they can. Then there's a button to submit the form. So I'll go ahead and insert this information, so my last name is Schmoe, my first name, I'll say Joseph, and my title is Marketing Manager and the Marketing Department. My extension is 123, my e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org, and here's where the automatic size of the fields comes into play; it automatically shrinks to fit.
I am bringing one guest. I am interested in learning how to brine and how to grade olive oil, and I'll take a Large T-shirt, and that's it. So I will submit the form. It says okay, it's going to send it to Olivia, so it remembers who sent it to me, and here's a subject with an attachment. Here is my e-mail address, my name, and then I'll click Send. Now what Reader has done is it has sent this information actually to Adobe Acrobat. So it didn't actually create an e-mail and attach it to my built-in e-mail account.
If I want to, I can save this as Joe, in case I need to keep a record of it, or I can just cancel without saving which I'm going to do, because I really don't care. Now I'll go back to Acrobat, and as Olivia, I can check to see how many people have replied to my form yet by going to the tracker. And I have a video just based completely on the tracker to talk about more details about how this works. But here is the Oilfest invitation that I sent out, and it shows that I've sent it out to two people, and I can see if anybody has responded yet by clicking View Responses, and it has imported Joe's information.
I will just click Get Started. What it replies with is this thing that's kind of like a portfolio, actually, if you watched the video on portfolio. So there's Layout, Files and Edit. It actually collects all of the responses as PDFs into this one portfolio. So I could open them up individually if I wanted to, but notice that I also can view all of the responses here. I can do things like if I want to check to see if anybody else has responded, click the Update. If I want to filter the responses by, say only people in the marketing department to see who has replied, I can even export all this information to a CSV file and open it up in Excel. It's so cool.
When I'm all done, I can archive all the responses, and if some people for some reason did not want to fill out an acrobat.com account and they just sent me back the actual form, I could manually import those responses into this portfolio. I'm going to close the response file-- and no, I don't need to save any changes-- and look at my tracker again. And you can see that after I imported Joe's response, it told us yes, he responded, and when he responded.
So there are lots of different ways that after you create a form you can distribute it that go beyond just individually attaching a form to an e-mail and sending it to somebody. You should take advantage of all the distribution methods that Acrobat offers.
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