Adobe FormsCentral Overview Tutorial

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    Adobe FormsCentral is an online service from Adobe that lets you easily distribute, collect and analyze data using web or PDF forms and surveys. With FormsCentral, you can create attractive, professional online forms -- including questionnaires, contact forms, registration pages, mailing lists and much more -- and then quickly analyze your data from anywhere in real time while maintaining data security. You can also share links via e-mail, Twitter or web pages and your recipients can access and complete forms or surveys from any device with a web browser and Internet connection – smartphones, tablets, laptops, or desktop devices.

    Get started quickly

    The My Forms organizer is your hub for creating and distributing forms, managing responses, and analyzing results. Simply click the New Form button to launch the forms authoring tool...

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    or select the Templates tab and choose one of many templates available to help get you started...

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    FormsCentral also allows you to import an existing fillable PDF form and use the FormsCentral service to collect and analyze the submitted data. You don't have to recreate your existing PDF forms within the service in order to take advantage of FormsCentral’s data collection/analysis capabilities. You can use popular tools like Adobe Acrobat or Adobe InDesign to create fillable PDF forms that work with FormsCentral. To import a PDF form go to the “My Forms” tab, click the More button on the toolbar and select “Import PDF Form.” Learn more about Importing Existing PDF Forms

    Design with freedom

    Six tabs across the top of your screen -- Design, Options, Test, Distribute, View Responses and Summary Report -- give you access to everything you need to manage your form or survey, from creation and testing to distribution and analyzing responses.

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    Whether you're working in a template or creating a form from scratch, the Forms Palette has a variety of field types you can add to your form or survey. Mousing over the icons on the Forms Palette reveals the name of each option. You can collapse or expand the Forms Palette as needed. You can insert a field anywhere be selecting an existing field and clicking the "+" arrow on the left side of the field. Doing this will add a field above the selected one.

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    Supported fields and items include:

    Text (single-line)

    Text (multi-line)






    Single choice (radio buttons)

    Multiple choice (multiple check boxes)

    Drop down menu

    Check box (single)

    Rating scale / Likert (matrix of choices)

    Attachments (upload files) (Learn more about Attachments)


    Formatted static text


    Horizontal line


    Page break

    Customize for your business

    You can easily customize the look and feel of your form or survey -- change background, font and horizontal line colors and add images and logos -- to promote and reinforce your brand. You can change a field's properties by simply clicking the field to open the Field Properties box.

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    Share and collaborate

    With FormsCentral you can collaborate in a secure online environment to work on forms and surveys and preview and test forms before respondents see them. Click the Share button to see the current sharing status of your form. You can share your form with selected individuals — choosing who can view or edit in your file — or you can publish it so anyone with the assigned URL can view the response table with all the form submissions. You also control who can re-share your form.

    Each participant shows on the collaborator bar at the bottom of the page. Mousing over each icon will display the role assigned, current or most recent activity, and e-mail address.

    • Author: This is the creator of the form or survey. The author can share a form, assign roles, edit, test, and distribute forms, and analyze data.
    • Co-author: Co-authors can edit, test, and distribute forms and analyze data.
    • Contributor: Contributors can view the form and edit responses.
    • Reader: Readers can only view responses.

    When you publish a form file, anyone with the URL can view responses or test your form without needing to sign in. You can also embed the URL on a web page for easy access to the response table. Form files can be un-published at any time.

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    Setup e-mail notifications, submissions receipts and other options

    The Options tab within FormsCentral allows you to setup the closed message, confirmation message, redirect URL, e-mail notifications and e-mail submission receipts.


    The Confirmation Message is shown after respondents submit their form. The text and formatting is completely customizable.

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    Once the respondent views the confirmation message you can optionally set a Redirect URL to your web site or back to the first page of the form so they can fill it out again. Learn more about the Redirect URL option

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    When you turn on Notifications an e-mail will be sent to you every time a respondent submits the form. You can optionally include the data submitted with the e-mail notification. Anyone the form file is shared with can turn on notifications.


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    When Submission Receipts is enabled a customized email will be sent to the respondent after they submit their data. The subject and message can be customized, and you can optionally include their data within the email. Learn more about Submissions Receipts

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    Preview your work and test your form or survey

    The Test feature in Adobe FormsCentral lets you see your form or survey exactly the way your respondents will see it — all before making it publicly available. Use the Test tab to test your form to better understand the experience recipients will have when they receive and fill out the form. You can decide if you need to adjust field sizes, add questions, or change a field type.

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    Easily distribute forms and surveys

    Your respondents can easily complete your form or survey using a web form with a browser or using a PDF form with Adobe Reader. Their data is automatically added to your response table, eliminating the need to consolidate or transcribe responses into an offline spreadsheet. For web forms, simply use the unique URL that appears in the Distribute tab to share your form with anyone via e-mail, Twitter, or instant messaging — or post the link on your web page or blog. Because your form is in HTML, respondents can complete it on their smart phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer. All they need is a web browser and an Internet connection.


    FormsCentral also allows you to create, distribute and collect data using fillable PDF forms. When you distribute your form as a PDF respondents will be able to:

    • Fill out and save forms offline, then submit when back online
    • Fill out the form little by little over several hours/days, then submit when completed
    • Forward the PDF form to other people to fill out different sections of the form then submit when completed
    • Keep the filled out PDF form for their records
    • Print a copy of the PDF form

    Note: You can distribute both a web form and fillable PDF form at the same time - the options are not mutually exclusive. All of the submitted data from both will appear in the response table.

    Learn more about creating and distributing PDF forms


    Opening a form makes it accessible to respondents so they can complete and submit it. If a form is closed, it is not available to respondents. A visual cue on the Distribute tab lets you quickly see your form's status. You can change the status of your form at any time after it’s opened by simply closing it to responses, going back to the Design tab, making any desired changes, and opening it to responses again on the Distribute tab. While changes are being made, respondents will not have access to the form until it’s opened again.


    FormsCentral collects all your responses, in real time, and automatically adds the data to your response table, eliminating the need to collect results manually and transfer them to a spreadsheet.


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    Analyze and share your data

    Because new data is added to your response table as each person clicks submit, you can immediately view and analyze your results in real time. Summary formulas and tables are automatically updated so you can easily report results.

    FormsCentral employs industry-standard technology for Internet security. When you access FormsCentral, SSL technology protects your information using both server authentication and data encryption.

    You can customize how you view your data by searching, sorting, and filtering to see the data that is important to you. Multiple people on your team can view, contribute to, and analyze the data at the same time. The Private View option lets you view and analyze the form without affecting other users who may be concurrently viewing the response table. You can also drill down and view an individual response as a stand-alone record.

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    You can act quickly on your data by adding fields, such as columns, to your response table. You can make specific responses stand out using row, cell, and column highlighting, filter by specific data, and even track manually edited or added responses. Use built-in formulas for math and statistics to analyze your response data. You can also add simple or complex formulas to perform mathematical or statistical analysis. To do even more, export response data — as much or as little content as you like — to an Excel spreadsheet, PDF document, or CSV file.


    The Summary Report tab makes it easy to understand the data because it shows the result of each question as a chart. The charts are automatic generated and completely customizable - change the order, fonts, size, and number of values shown. Once customized, save it to a PDF file or export the report tiles to high resolution images that can be used in a presentation.


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    Manage your form files


    The FormsCentral organizer helps you manage the forms and surveys you've created, open or close them for responses, duplicate or remove an item, or create a new form. From the My Forms tab you can see what forms are open and closed, how many total responses you've received, and how many new responses have come in since the last time you checked. You can also change the state of a selected form by opening or closing it and sharing it with collaborators. Double clicking a form name will open it where you were the last time you closed the form file, enabling you to easily pick up where you left off.