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Thread: Editable PDF forms. What do I need to implement this?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Editable PDF forms. What do I need to implement this?

    A customer of mine would like clients to be able to fill out a pre-registration form and print it out to bring in to their office visit.

    I have seen editable pdfs on the irs.gov and some other sites. What is needed to allow this? Is there a huge licensing fee? or is there a fairly cheap solution?

    Otherwise, I suppose I can just have a regular form that will input the patient data into another page that we generate with the form data, but I would rather not have to do all of that :P. The customer wants to do it as cheap as possible of course


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Biwabik, MN
    having crowbar issues eh... dang! I'm about done listening to those from clients. There is point of doing it costly and cost effectively, but there is only really one way to do this the right way while staying on budget.

    The IRS.gov site uses a product that costs more than more than it should! However it's one heck of a system but it's not in your budget.

    However Adobe does include a product with Acrobat Professional that will allow you to create what you need. "Adobe Designer" sadly this lesser known product by Adobe is the hardest of all the adobe products to use... It's riddled with issues and doesn't operate like any other program they offer! However it will do exactly what you need it to.

    So if you have Adobe CS or higher you most likely have it...

    You can save the Form/PDF but you cannot save completed form that was filled out, unless they have Acrobat Pro. (that's how they upsell you to the Enterprise edition that the IRS bought.)
    Compguy Pete
    The Benevolent Administrator

    No child should have to deal with a Brain Stem Tumor...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    i figured as much

    Thanks Pete. I guess I will just let them know that online filling out is not an option unless they want me to make the form.

    That is fine by me


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Sydney, Australia
    The regular Adobe Acrobat Pro program has the ability to create forms that can be filled out before they are printed. You can even build in form validation via JavaScript.

    I haven't tried setting up such a form to be sent electronically, using an HTML form on the front end and creating the PDF from PHP on the back end is the way I have always handled that.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Jerryville, Tejas
    I guess I don't understand why you don't just put a standard HTML form up for them to fill out and print.
    "Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it." Brian W. Kernighan

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Sydney, Australia
    Having an online PDF form means that they can print the form out without filling it out to give to other peol\ple to fill out by hand or they can type in their responses on the form before they print it.

    I have such a form at http://www.amra.asn.au/applform.pdf that is mostly distributed on paper and filled out by hand but which can be filled out online before printing it. It was originally created in Acrobat Exchange 3 and has been updated in more recent versions of Acrobat since then. An HTML form wouldn't work in this case as 70% of people filling out the form don't have access to a computer.

    The online form is done as an overlay on top of what will print and so you can put online fields where ever you want although lining them up with the printable fields will make it easier to fill out. You can even include buttons and prefilled info that is only visible online and which doesn't show when the page is printed.

    If the form is only intended to be printed then this is the ideal solution. If you want to keep a copy of the form online in all instances then having an HTML form that calls a script to save the info and generate a PDF (if required) is the cheapest solution because it doesn't cost anything unless you need someone to write the script to process the form.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Is there an adobe doc on how to create those editable pdfs? Is there a sizable cost in getting the proper licensing to put that type of form on a site?

    The forms are patient registration forms. They will always need a paper copy for the patient file (they are not using EMR... yet). A regular html form I think would be more of a hassle than anything. It will take me forever to get things to line up properly to print onto their current form, either that or I rebuild the entire document into html format so I can print it. Either way it is a bit more time then I want to spend on it. The customer is rather tight :P.

    If I could add editable fields to a scanned document it would make things MUCH easier.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Sydney, Australia
    I am not sure which of the several different versions that now exist are the ones that support it. I am still a couple of versions behind.

    You can download a free trial copy of different versions to actually try them out and make sure that it does what you want before you buy.

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