5 Replies Latest reply: Jul 14, 2009 8:25 PM by Bill@VT RSS

    Different ways of collecting data with forms

    JustinWyllie

      Hi

       

      I am trying to promote use of Acrobat as a way of collecting data in my company.

       

      I really want to check my undertsanding

       

      1. My user (someone who wants to collect user data) builds a form PDF using AcrobatPro and then either:

       

      a) she emails it to cutomers. they complete and email back. data exported to Excel or

      b) the PDF is made available at a URL. customers fill it in and submit it online to a web script

      c) it is made available online at an Adobe site. This provides user tracking. Is the data still submitted as in b)

      d) I'm not sure - can we have it so cutomers can fill it in online, save it as a PDF and email it back?

       

       

      Thanks for clarifying this and also I am interested in anyone who has used the online Adobe hosting and their experience of that

       

      with thanks for your answers

       

      Justin Wyllie

        • 1. Re: Different ways of collecting data with forms
          Bill@VT MVP

          When you mention customers, saving, and submitting, you are pointing directly at the limitations of the EULA that would limit this form to 500 customers. If you leave the saving out and submit as a data file (either XML or FDF), then you don't have to worry about the EULA.

           

          You can submit the data to a web site that collects the XML or FDF data or runs the FDF toolkit and maniupulates the data accordingly. There is a reasonable amount of programming in the process. You may want to look at the FDF toolkit (available from Adobe) as to what it can do. There are others here that work these features a lot and should be able to add in if you wait a bit.

           

          Be aware that FDF is only available with Acrobat forms (done directly in Acrobat under the TOOLS menu) and not in Designer (Acrobat FORM menu) - a separate package.

          • 2. Re: Different ways of collecting data with forms
            JustinWyllie Community Member

            Hi Bill

             

            Thanks. That is a bit worrying about the 500 limit. What exactly does that mean ? If we produce a form - this means we cannot distribute it to more than 500 people for completion? What if we change the form slightly and send it to another 500?

             

            I don't quite get this. And, can we pay to remove this restriction?

             

            The person whom I'm going to be doing this for may not need more than a hundred but still I don't like restrictions

             

            Thanks

             

            Justin

            • 3. Re: Different ways of collecting data with forms
              Bill@VT MVP

              It is covered by section 15 of the EULA. If you collect the data from the form, then you are limited to 500 uses of the form (or variations as I read it) IF you enable Reader Rights. If you do not enable Reader Rights, there is no limit. Also, if the data is not submitted back to you, you are not limited to 500 uses. You should really read it yourself (it is in your Acrobat folder), so that you can properly interpret the agreement. If you were to exceed the limits of this section, then you would negotiate with Adobe in terms of the cost or purchase additional software for that ability. Depending on your use that could run into the thousands. There are also some differences between uses and users, so read carefully.

               

              For small businesses that are using the form for employee evaluations and such, then it seems to be OK as long as no more than 500 users exist. For order forms and such, you should probably limit the form to a data submission and simply let the user print a copy for their use, not save it unless they have Acrobat. That is an opinion based on my reading of the EULA.

              • 4. Re: Different ways of collecting data with forms
                JustinWyllie Community Member

                Hi Bill

                 

                reading the EULA i can only see a limit of 500 regardless of how the data is collected:

                 

                15.12.3 talks about 500 unique instances of a deployed Extended Document.

                 

                unless the point is that Extended Document means allowing users to save locally and posting online does not count as saving?

                 

                Thanks

                 

                Justin

                • 5. Re: Different ways of collecting data with forms
                  Bill@VT MVP

                  If you do not apply Reader Rights (I think that is the extended items you mention and that is defined in 15.12.1.2), I am pretty sure there is no limit. The limit is related to allowing the user to save the file and also submit. If the file is not to be submitted, there is no limit as I read it. If it is to be submitted and you do not activate Reader Rights, then as I read it there is again no limit. If you activate Reader Rights, then the 500 use limit comes into play. That is my reading from the last time around, but I am not a lawyer and so it is simply an opinion. This read (the same as I still see in the version 9 EULA) is quite a bit different than what we used to talk about with the 500 use limit and I found a bit surprising when I read it. As long as you do not set the form for saving in Reader, I read the EULA as saying there is no limit.

                   

                  Adobe used to sell a product called Acrobat Approval for about $40 that allowed the saving of forms by folks, but not the creation of PDFs. The Reader Rights has been added since Approval was dropped after about AA5 or so. Glad you looked at the EULA, it is a way to keep your self clean and out of trouble. For other alternatives, you might want to check some 3rd party products or look into negotiating with Adobe for exceeding the 500 limit. Good luck in whatever choice you make.