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EM-99
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Can PDF's be filled in online and emailed to website owner?

Jul 27, 2012 5:54 PM

Tags: #pdf #forms #acrobat-forms #online_forms

Hi, I have a client who wants pdf's on their website to be filled in online and sent directly to the website owner. Is this possible?

Cheers

 
Replies
  • George Johnson
    11,711 posts
    Aug 11, 2002
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 28, 2012 5:21 PM   in reply to EM-99

    It's possible. In order for it to work with Reader, the document has to be Reader-enabled, either with Acrobat or LiveCycle Reader Extensions. If using Acrobat, you are limited by the Acrobat License Agreement to using data from no more than 500 instances of a form (including hard copies) that has been returned. LiveCycle Reader Extensions is somewhat expensive and requires that you install it on a server that you set up. Note that you cannot Reader-enable the form for a client using your licensed copy of Acrobat. The client will have to do this himself using his licensed copy. This is another licensing restriction.

     

    In Acrobat, you can set up a button to email or submit the entire PDF document to an email address. If you need digital signatures on the form and want to use Acrobat, you will have to use Acrobat Pro, as opposed to Standard.

     

    Another option is to set up the form to submit just the form data, which can be used in Acrobat to populate a blank form. In this case, there are no licensing restrictions on the number of submits you can use. Post on one of the Acrobat forums if you need more information.

     

    Regardless of which option you use, if you need it to be secure you should set up the form to submit to a web server, as opposed to via email. Email is generally not secure and it's relatively easy to use HTTPS/SSL with a web sever. Submitting via email is also not nearly as reliable as submitting to a web server, but this involves additional work.

     
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    Jul 28, 2012 6:07 PM   in reply to EM-99

    Acrobat is not free.

     
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    Jul 28, 2012 8:02 PM   in reply to EM-99

    No, only the creator, to enable the form to be filled with Reader.

     
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  • George Johnson
    11,711 posts
    Aug 11, 2002
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 28, 2012 8:35 PM   in reply to EM-99

    The email option is not all that reliable for a number of reasons. It currently relies on the user having an email client set up, and set up properly. Some email client on some systems simply don't work. Users always have the option of manually saving and attaching to an email that they initiate, but they have to know who to send it to, which is taken care of for them when the email submit option is successful. SInce many users use a web-based email client (e.g., Gmail), this is what they'll have to do, and therefore know how to do it, which often means at least minimal user education. Then there are other problems with email that are entirely separate from Reader/Acrobat. When you use a web server, it can return a success/failure message to give the user some feedback.

     
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    Jul 29, 2012 3:05 AM   in reply to EM-99

    If you distribute a Reader-extended document to more than 500 people the Acrobat end user license agreement permits you to 'process' a maximum of 500 returned datasets. The software will not automatically stop at #501 but you will be in breach of the license and open to legal action from Adobe. Owning more than one copy of Acrobat does not increase the limit, it's per-owner not per-seat.

     

    To work with larger datasets, Adobe requires that you purchase their LiveCycle ES server solution.

     

     

    Creating an entirely-new document will reset your allowed limit, but a minor change to an existing document for the sole purpose of bypassing the EULA or re-exporting the same page from InDesign and re-extending it won't get past a jury.

     
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    Jul 29, 2012 3:46 AM   in reply to Dave Merchant

    There's a lot wrong with emailing a form. What your client would probably be just as happy with is 'someone fills a form on his/her web site, and he/she gets that in an email'. This is normal, and is done just like HTML forms (except that the web programmer needs different skills). By buying extra server software the form data can be merged into a PDF and emailed.

     
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