When you put a Submit button on a form, you can select either XML or PDF format (as well as some others that we’ll ignore for now.)
- XML format contains only the data from your form, in XML format.
- PDF format contains a copy of the form being filled in, as a PDF file.
Submitting as XML always works. However, submitting as PDF may or may not work. Here’s what happens:
- If you open the form in Acrobat, it will submit correctly as PDF.
- If you open the form in Reader, it will silently fail when you try to submit. (There will be no warning or error messages – it just doesn’t appear to work. This will not impress your customers 🙂 )
The reason for this is that only Acrobat can create a “new” PDF file; Reader is only for reading existing files. Since you’ve typed new information into the fields on your form, submitting as PDF would effectively create a “new” PDF file and is not allowed in Reader.
You have a number of options for resolving this problem:
- Ensure that everyone filling the form has Acrobat rather than Reader. (Difficult to do if this is a public form.)
- Buy an Adobe product called LiveCycle Reader Extensions for your form – this will allow you to “extend” the capabilities of Reader to allow it to send the completed form as PDF.
- If there are fewer than 500 recipients of your form, there is a limited version of Reader Extensions built into Acrobat. You simply need to convert the form after saving it. Open it in Acrobat, use Forms/Distribute… and select Save for later.
- Change from PDF submission to XML. You will either need to:
- Teach the recipient of the XML how to import the XML data back into a blank copy of the form. Open the original blank form in Acrobat, select Forms/Manage Form Data…/Import Data…
- Use Adobe LiveCycle on the server (LiveCycle Forms or LiveCycle Output is the product you’ll need) to merge the XML data back into the original blank PDF template.
For more details on Reader Extensions, check this out:
If you’d like any further information about Reader Extensions or anything else in this blog post, please contact info-at-avoka.com