Join Brian Wood for an in-depth discussion in this video Examining a completed form, part of Acrobat 9 Pro: Creating Forms.
Acrobat forms can be very, very exciting. There's a lot of great things we can do with these and there's a lot of different ways we can create them. A form in Acrobat typically starts its life from another program meaning you start InDesign, Word, Illustrator, it does not matter. You create a design that takes the form, you take the form into Acrobat, then you start to add the interactivity. By interactivity, I mean you add the popup menus, you add the text fields, the quantity fields, also sorts of things you need to make it so that your user can enter the data and get it back to you.
I have got form final.pdf opened right here just to give you an idea of some of the types of fields we can create and this isn't actually all of them but there are a good deal out here. You can go out and interact, and one of the things I want you to notice is when you open a form, forms can be opened in reader or full version of Acrobat. A lot of times, in the newer versions of Acrobat, you will notice a purple bar at the very top or some kind of bar that tells you "fill out the form." It's letting you know that there are interactive fields on this page. Now by default, typically, the fields are going to be highlighted.
If you click the Highlight Field's button here, what that does if you click it several time, it turns them on and turns them off. So, make sure that they are on, you will see like a blue highlight out here. Those are all the fields that you can interact with. It's a great thing that Acrobat does this as well as Reader does this simply because if you have a long document, like let's say a contract, and the only fillable form is a signature or a date or something like that and it's at the very end on page 50, you don't want to have to take your cursor and move around and see where you see a form. So, highlighting fields could be very effective.
You will also notice that some of the fields out here what look like fields are not highlighted. Acrobat can have fields that are interactive, fields that are hidden, fields that are required, fields that are locked where you cannot interact with them. There's a lot of different types of fields we can create. Now, there are several different types of forms we can create as well. Acrobat Standard, Pro and Pro Extended allows you to create what's called an AcroForm. An AcroForm is taking a design typically from somewhere else and then just adding interactivity like we see here.
You also have LiveCycle forms or LiveCycle Designer forms. LiveCycle Designer is a program that comes on the Windows platform only on Pro and Pro Extended and it's an XML-based form , which allows you to create a form somewhat similarly to Acrobat but can be a little bit easier at times because they have a series of fields that you can just drag on the page. We've got a lot more features as far as trying to connect with database, sending that data off as XML, all sorts of different things we can do. So, Acrobat creates very effective but sometimes a little bit simpler forms, whereas LiveCycle Designer tends to create a little bit more complex forms in some cases.
Now, when you create a form, you can distribute it in a lot of different ways. So, as we go out here and we start, if you want to just start trying to fill some things out here, you will notice you can do that. When we interact with forms, we can have it where we email this to somebody and they simply print it out, they fill it up by hand and they fax it back to us. And that's the simplest way to do it. Another way we can do it is we can have the interactive forms out here in the interactive fields. You can email this to somebody or give it to somebody, could be on a website as well or weblink. When they open it, they go out and they start filling out the fields.
They can then print it and fax it back. The other way you can do it. You can have somebody fill this out and you can have a Submit button. So Submit button in its simplest form allows you to email the data back to someone. If you take a look there, it's sent the data to email@example.com. So, if you were to click this, what it would do is open up your email software, it would ask you in certain versions of Acrobat do you have Hotmail or Gmail or something like that or do you have Outlook if you can't find an e-mail application. It then creates an e-mail, emails the PDF back or however you told it to submit the data back and we will talk about that later, and then you get the actual data back.
The final way that we can do this is to click Submit and allow it to submit via server. You can have an Acrobat form or a LiveCycle form created LiveCycle Designer, you can post it on a website or email to someone, making click Submit and it can be treated like an HTML form where it goes through your server or you can send it to a database. There's a lot of things you can do with increasing complexity. So, I want to just show you this. I have got a web form. I am going to go out to the browser here. I am in Internet Explorer right now. I have got a web form here.
If you look, it's just a simple webpage. This is my company. You are going to see click to fill out our form. I click that and what I have done is I have actually posted that PDF up on a web server. So this is live in a website, you will see this. There's a form right there. As somebody goes and fills this thing out and what's really cool now is that in later versions of Safari with Acrobat 9 on the Mac side, you can now open a PDF in Safari. If somebody does click on that link and their browser doesn't support opening the PDF, what it will do is it will open in Reader or full version of Acrobat on their hard drive and they can still interact or fill out the form and then submit it.
You will notice there's a Submit button here. What I have done is I have actually sent this to our CGI bin , which is basically a little script waiting. This is how our HTML or simple HTML forms work. When I click Submit, it will submit the data. I didn't make anything necessary here or required I should say. And what it does it interacts with my server, sends the data back and it says "thank you for filling out the form." So, this is a little bit further down the road here but you can get Acrobat forms to be filled out on a website and have it used in your site the way you actually would with HTML forms.
Now, just to show you what I would receive on the other end, this is probably the simplest thing we can do here. But I will open up Outlook, I will give you an idea of what I have got back in return here. It may ask me a few questions about my archiving but that's fun. So this is what I would receive in return. Your feedback form is submitted on a certain date and here are the form field names and we will talk about that in the next few videos here as well as what they typed in or what they chose. So, this is the simplest way to be able to get this data back using what's called a CGI bin and we will discuss that in a later video.
Let me go back over to Acrobat here, form final.pdf of how you can work with forms, what forms are, the different ways to distribute them. I never talked about this but Acrobat has a way to distribute built-in and we will see that in later video just to give you an idea of what you can do with forms.