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SteveB

. Pre-filling a PDF

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Recently, I came across a need to send out an interactive PDF, which any user with Reader could then fill-in.

I upgraded to Acrobat 8 Professional, and with it came a tool called LiveCycle Designer, a really great forms-building tool. It allows you to create all kinds of controls: text, number, drop-down lists, radio buttons, checklists, etc. and then turn the thingy into a PDF. The nice thing is that the answers are returned in an easy-to-process XML file format. I used a custom FM function to get back each answer, although you could use Filemaker's import command if you desired.

So I was left with one problem: how to pre-fill some of the fields on the form. Adobe is no help. Their support is worse than FM, if that's possible. However if you pay them $1500 per year, they'll talk to you.

I created a field on the form that would hold the key of the outgoing record from my FM database, and some other text information which would give the user a little leg up to complete the rest of the form.

However, I can find no way to automate pre-filling the fields. I can open Acrobat Professional, and import the data that I had FM write to an XML file, but this is not workable when you have hundreds to send out. I can probably automate some of this with WinBatch, but this would be hammer-and-chisel.

So, the question is, does anyone know how to pre-fill fields on a PDF document...the iceing on the cake?

Steve

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