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Distributing and collecting forms


Acrobat X Essential Training

with Anne-Marie Concepción

Video: Distributing and collecting forms

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.
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  1. 1m 53s
    1. Welcome
      1m 33s
    2. Using the exercise files
  2. 55m 0s
    1. Opening documents and moving them around
      6m 3s
    2. Working with the toolbars
      5m 59s
    3. Working with the panels
      3m 43s
    4. Customizing the toolbar with Quick Tools
      4m 40s
    5. Using the Pages panel to navigate
      3m 57s
    6. Selecting and copying text and graphics
      3m 24s
    7. Rotating pages
      4m 49s
    8. Changing the viewing options
      6m 12s
    9. Reviewing preferences
      7m 6s
    10. Finding words and phrases
      2m 35s
    11. Searching a PDF and working with the Search panel
      4m 21s
    12. Sharing PDFs by email and with Adobe SendNow
      2m 11s
  3. 33m 18s
    1. Creating PDFs from Microsoft Office applications
      9m 46s
    2. Creating PDFs from Creative Suite applications
      8m 57s
    3. Creating PDFs from within Acrobat Pro
      4m 27s
    4. Creating PDFs from a web site
      8m 22s
    5. Creating PDFs from the clipboard
      1m 46s
  4. 30m 58s
    1. Editing text
      8m 51s
    2. Adding text
      4m 40s
    3. Editing images and graphics
      3m 39s
    4. Changing the page number display
      3m 48s
    5. Digitally signing PDFs
      6m 26s
    6. Cropping pages and documents
      3m 34s
  5. 1h 6m
    1. Adding watermarks
      6m 17s
    2. Adding page backgrounds
      5m 41s
    3. Adding page numbers
      5m 56s
    4. Adding headers and footers
      9m 7s
    5. Adding bookmarks
      11m 30s
    6. Attaching files to a PDF
      7m 11s
    7. Adding metadata
      3m 45s
    8. Optimizing a PDF for file size and compatibility
      10m 12s
    9. Creating initial view settings
      7m 16s
  6. 37m 59s
    1. Adding hyperlinks to URLs
      7m 33s
    2. Creating links with the Link tool
      6m 9s
    3. Working with interactive actions
      6m 56s
    4. Creating and adding buttons
      6m 28s
    5. Adding video, sound, and SWF files
      7m 29s
    6. Adding page transitions
      3m 24s
  7. 27m 12s
    1. Extracting pages
      3m 53s
    2. Splitting a PDF into multiple files
      4m 13s
    3. Inserting pages from files and other sources
      5m 42s
    4. Moving, copying, and replacing pages
      8m 17s
    5. Combining PDFs
      5m 7s
  8. 27m 9s
    1. Exporting text
      8m 33s
    2. Exporting images
      6m 33s
    3. Exporting PDFs to Microsoft Word
      7m 21s
    4. Exporting PDFs to Microsoft Excel
      4m 42s
  9. 26m 27s
    1. Working with portfolios
      6m 57s
    2. Creating portfolios
      6m 26s
    3. Customizing portfolios
      7m 23s
    4. Optimizing backward compatibility
      5m 41s
  10. 32m 9s
    1. Creating an interactive form
      6m 42s
    2. Working with form fields
      6m 41s
    3. Editing field properties
      5m 34s
    4. Distributing and collecting forms
      9m 43s
    5. Enabling Reader to save form data
      3m 29s
  11. 34m 26s
    1. Adding sticky notes and other annotations
      9m 2s
    2. Using the drawing markup tools
      6m 10s
    3. Viewing, filtering, and replying to comments
      5m 24s
    4. Printing, summarizing, and exporting comments
      6m 35s
    5. Exporting comments to Word for Windows
      3m 28s
    6. Enabling extended commenting in Acrobat Reader
      3m 47s
  12. 25m 29s
    1. Understanding the different review processes
      2m 7s
    2. Using the email review process
      4m 33s
    3. Conducting a shared review with
      6m 54s
    4. Using the Review Tracker
      4m 32s
    5. Using the Collaborate Live review process
      7m 23s
  13. 31m 2s
    1. Reviewing the print production tools
      5m 18s
    2. Previewing color separations
      3m 51s
    3. Using the Object Inspector to learn details
      3m 13s
    4. Working with the Preflight dialog box
      5m 34s
    5. Fixing hairlines
      3m 57s
    6. Converting colors
      2m 27s
    7. Saving as a standards-compliant PDF
      6m 42s
  14. 19m 16s
    1. Scanning a paper document to PDF
      4m 44s
    2. Setting up optimization options
      6m 48s
    3. Recognizing text in a scanned PDF
      4m 43s
    4. Reviewing and correcting OCR suspects
      3m 1s
  15. 17m 18s
    1. Using the built-in Actions for automation
      5m 32s
    2. Editing Actions
      4m 7s
    3. Creating new Actions
      4m 51s
    4. Sharing Actions with others
      2m 48s
  16. 35m 26s
    1. Choosing a security method
      5m 27s
    2. Password-protecting a PDF
      7m 27s
    3. Securing a PDF with a certificate
      5m 6s
    4. Creating a digital id
      5m 43s
    5. Removing sensitive content with the Redaction feature
      6m 52s
    6. Revealing and clearing hidden information
      4m 51s
  17. 33m 45s
    1. Opening and navigating PDFs in Reader
      7m 30s
    2. Adding comments
      3m 14s
    3. Viewing extended features
      6m 53s
    4. Digitally signing a PDF
      6m 15s
    5. Sharing PDFs
      2m 29s
    6. Using
      7m 24s
  18. 3m 54s
    1. Final thoughts
      3m 54s

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Watch the Online Video Course Acrobat X Essential Training
8h 59m Beginner Nov 19, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Creating PDFs from web pages, Office files, and Creative Suite files
  • Signing PDFs with a digital signature
  • Creating interactive forms
  • Annotating PDFs with comments
  • Collaborating with others using PDF reviews
  • Making scanned documents searchable with OCR
  • Preparing documents for print with print production tools
  • Automating routine tasks with Actions
  • Securing PDFs with encryption and password-protection
  • Removing sensitive content with the Redaction feature
  • Sharing PDFs
  • Using the new features in Reader X and
Anne-Marie Concepción

Distributing and collecting forms

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 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, 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 account, which is free.

If they don't have an 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 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, 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 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 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 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, 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 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 account.

I'm logged on to 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, 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, 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 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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