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.
Appreciate your reply!
Ok so just so I understand correctly - if I uploaded PDF forms to my website (that I have created with Acrobat Pro) then a customer (any website visitor) can click on that link to the PDF - fill it in and sign it online and click submit and the pdf will be emailed to whoever the email address is set up to go to when the form was created?
The PDF's don't need to be secure - anyone can fill them in. With the above option does anything need to be installed on a server? Would the above option be free for any website visitor to use?
With email when you say it's not reliable - do you mean some may not be emailed through?
I've seen serveral paid options online but am trying to find a way to do this for free.
Acrobat is not free.
Ok so every single website visitor would need to have Acrobat to use it not just the person who created the PDF's?
No, only the creator, to enable the form to be filled with Reader.
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.
Thank you both for your help.
I've just been doing some testing and the email option works well enough but I'm just wondering what the 'other problems with email that are entirely separate from Reader/Acrobat' are?
So bascially if I go with this option where I choose to send/recieve the whole filled in pdf then I can only receive 500 copies of this form? Does the PDF become disabled after 500 received copies? Could I just then recreate a similar form - with slight changes after those 500 copies have been reached and then upload the new form? I have over a dozen forms to add which may be filled in and sent up to about 1000 times each so I'm not sure if this is going to be the best option however I'd be happy to recreate similar forms again if that is allowed. I wonder why there are restrictions?
I do like the idea of all the info on the PDF coming through. It's just easier for the client rather then just the data only coming through.
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.
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.
Thanks for the confirmation and info.
Ok I think back to web forms it is. Just trying to explore all possible solutions.
Just thought I'd give you and update from Adobe.
I've just been on the phone with them and they said once the form hits 500 responses then they will send the email address in the submit button an email saying 500 responses have been made so the form will no longer work. All that needs to happen is the form can either be uploaded to simpy overwrite the one on the website (which could even just be done after any amount of responses) and then it is wiped back to 0 or the tracking in the form can be deleted.
This is great news for me as these forms are typical application forms that do require signatures and just look better on PDF's.