Walk into any shop, MultiValue or not, that's been around for years and you are likely to find special form-overlay programs which PRINT s data on forms, using either physical printers or virtual printers that overlay raw print data on images. It's a tried-and-true way to get the job done. These programs always work great until the form changes for one reason or another. The reason each form change becomes an issue is that we aren't really working with the form when we create an overlay. We are working with where we expect the spaces to be.
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Walk into any shop, MultiValue or not, that's been around for years and you are likely to find special form-overlay programs which PRINT s data on forms, using either physical printers or virtual printers that overlay raw print data on images.
It's a tried-and-true way to get the job done. These programs always work great until the form changes for one reason or another. The reason each form change becomes an issue is that we aren't really working with the form when we create an overlay. We are working with where we expect the spaces to be. PDF forms address this problem. Once you have a PDF document with form prompts on it, you can merge the data into your form and not worry about where on the from it needs to go. The PDF document will take care of that for you.
This program is delivered as part of the distribution version of many Linux systems but is not limited to Linux only. There is a windows version of the same program, so for those with Window based systems, this will work as well. It is designed to merge, encrypt, decrypt, add watermarks, and single PDFs split into multiple individual files. And, of course it can fill-in PDF form data. Example Used I want to keep this article business-practical, so my example will involve filling out a legal form for the payroll department.
While this form isn't something that is used every day, it is a good example. If you aren't working with an American company, you'll find that there's an equivalent document in most if not all other countries. Figure 1. Once you have that, you can follow along and build your program as we continue our way through the article together. This is very much like how we assign dictionaries to individual fields in our database. Unfortunately, the names aren't visible when you look at the un-filed document.
Since we don't know what these names are, we have to extract them in order to have the names when we populate the form. Each PDF input will have pieces of information designed to describe how the field is to be populated. The key data you need is FieldName. This will be the unique identifier which will mark each spot that can be filled-in. Connect the right data to the right name and the results will make sense. You may have to do a little bit of homework in order to get the right field for the right input [ Figure 3 ].
The easiest way to do this is test the tab order. Open the PDF document and tab between the fields to verify which fields are the the first, second, third, etc. Figure 3 You will also need to watch for the FieldType information to make sure you are providing valid information. The first value is the checked Yes value and the second value is the unchecked No value. You will also need to watch for the FieldType for Choice, which may contain two or more FieldStateOptions as well, if it is present.
This might be a good time to remind you that I didn't design this methodology, I'm just explaining what PDF forms provide. If the FieldType is Button, then you need to look at the FieldStateOption field to find out what values are allowed to be assigned to the field. This is a special file format used by PDFs to populate the data. They made it really easy for us by keeping this file text, but it does look a little odd [ Figure 4 ].
That's a truly ugly layout. If this is your first look at PDF internals, it may be hard to follow. Believe it or not, it is actually pretty simple. The data is wrapped in parenthesis, much like you would use quotes. Once again, not my design. The first two lines in Figure 4 are the header of the file, and the last five lines are the footer. Both the header and the footer will always be the same for any FDF-formated file.
In between the header and footer is where we need to put the data we want to merge into the PDF [ Figure 5 ]. The flatten keyword will create the new PDF document without editable input fields. The original files will remain as-is and can be used again.
Why didn't I cover that format first? Well, depending upon the version of pdftk you have on your system, XFDF may not be supported. Besides being easier to understand, XFDF has one more advantage.
It will support Unicode in UTF-8 format. The FDF format does not support Unicode. If this is the case with a document you are working with, you'll get an error when you open it in Acrobat: "This Document enabled extended features in Adobe Reader. This document has been changed since it was created and use of extended features is no longer available. If your company has documents they regularly fill out, like liens, mortgage forms, tax forms, or credit requests, then you can convert any existing PDF document into a PDF document with input.
You just need the right program. Adobe Acrobat Pro is the most commonly used, but also the most expensive. A good open source version is OpenOffice. Nathan Rector Nathan Rector, President of International Spectrum, has been in the MultiValue marketplace as a consultant, author, and presenter since As a consultant, Nathan specialized in integrating MultiValue applications with other devices and non-MultiValue data, structures, and applications into existing MultiValue databases.
In , Nathan purchased International Spectrum Magazine and Conference and has been working with the MultiValue Community to expand its reach into current technologies and markets. View more articles.
Populating PDF Forms with MultiValue Data
Using Acrobat X, I have created several fill-in PDF forms on our non-profit website that can be e-mailed to one of our officers. When I set the forms to send to me, the completed PDF forms opened without a problem. When sent to another e-mail address they cannot be opened unless the computer has a copy of the fill-in PDF file blank. Even then, when opening the file, you have to point to the PDF file for it to opened and populate the form. How can I eliminate the last step? Gary Nelson.
Connect to Database from PDF Form – This Time Without SOAP
Im trying to get a. FDF file open from this one program and its supposed to open in adobe reader but it keeps saying that it cannot open this file type: access denied. This worked before so not sure whats causing the issue now. There's no reason that Adobe shouldn't be able to handle this for you, but in case you are looking for a change, you can grab a free version of Nitro Pro at www. Its because an. The fdf file needs to be imported into another document either with form fields or which had comments.
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So what can be done to connect a PDF form to a database in a way that also works with the free Reader? Be prepared for a long post that is of the most part about PHP running on a web server. You will need a web server that supports PHP if you want to follow along. I assume you know how to install PHP scripts on your web server, and also how to create PDF forms that submit data to a server. The FDF format can be used to submit form data from a PDF form to a web server, and to receive information back from the server.
We have an application where we use FDF to collect form data through a web site. The work flow is as follows: 1- User Opens a PDF Form 2- Some fields on the forms are pre-populated by the system 3- User fills in remaining fields some are required, some not 4- User clicks a 'Submit' button on the PDF form which triggers user's email client, attaches the. FDF file to the email as attachment and sends it over to a predefined email address to Form Manager Team. FDF attachment which redirects users to our secure website.