Adobe have two products for dealing with PDF files:
- Adobe Acrobat – mainly for creating new PDF files, in many different ways.
- Adobe Reader – mainly for reading existing PDF files. Can also be used to fill in forms. Reader is free.
There are some additional limitations in Reader. In particular, when you fill in a form, there are several things that you can ONLY do if the form is opened in Acrobat, and will not work in Reader. These include:
- Saving a copy of the form with the form data embedded in it. (This is considered to be creating a “new” form, which can only be done in Acrobat.)
- Submitting the form as PDF. (Again, this is considered to be creating a new PDF.) Submitting as XML is always possible in both Reader and Acrobat.
- Digitally signing the form. (Again, this is considered to be creating a new version of the form.)
- Adding comments or annotations. (Ditto.)
- Invoking web services directly from the form.
So what do you do if you’ve created a PDF Form, and you want to publish it on your web site, and want your users to be able to do any of the above?
Enter Reader Extensions! Tadaaah!
Reader Extensions allows you to apply a special “tag” to a PDF document. When that document is opened in Reader, all the features listed above will miraculously be available (just for that one document).
There are two ways to apply Reader Extensions to your document:
- Purchase a Reader Extensions certificate for your document from Adobe (<plug>through one of Adobe’s authorized partners, such as Avoka </plug>) You will need to install Adobe LiveCycle on one of your servers to actually apply the certificate to your document – but once the certificate has been applied, you don’t need to use the server any more. (Although you do get LiveCycle Foundation with Reader Extensions – so you have a server with a whole lot of really useful features.)
- Use the limited-use, cut-down version of Reader Extensions available in Acrobat. This only enables a subset of the capabilites above, and is limited to a maximum of 500 recipients. In Acrobat, use Forms/Distribute Form…
For more information about Reader Extensions, see:
If you’re interesting in more information, or purchasing Reader Extensions, please email sales-at-avoka.com