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An Introduction to PDF Forms

Adobe PDF forms contain special fields that let you type text or select options. To fill out a PDF form, you can use the appropriate form fields that have been provided. Once you have completed the form, you can print the form and export the form data to a separate file. If you are filling out a PDF form from inside a web browser, you may be able to submit the form over the web. 

Why does LLU use PDF Smart Forms?

Adobe PDF smart forms, at the least, enable the user to electronically fill out a form. The form has data fields where text can be entered, pop-up menus or scroll boxes where choices are selected, radio buttons for selecting alternatives or multiple closed questions. Smart forms also help the user stay within the parameters defined by the form author. Alternative choices for example can be limited to only the acceptable responses the forms designer intended. Open field entries can limit the number of characters for any intended field. Various field boxes can be hidden from the user so as eliminate confusion between user input and authorized input.

Even when forms are necessary for analog signatures and hard copy documents required by various departments, completing smart forms will make them more legible and offer the end user the ability to keep backup copies electronically stored. In this case, the need for photocopying at least one piece of paper has been eliminated. For electronic submission of forms, the benefits are obvious. No paper copies need to be produced and the forms author can collect data that can be submitted to a database and electronically stored. The need for a technician to manually enter the data into the database will be eliminated.

Instructions for Completing PDF Forms

To fill out a PDF form

  1. Select the hand tool.
  2. Position the pointer inside a form field, and click. The I-beam pointer allows you to type text. The arrow pointer allows you to select a button, a check box, a radio button, or an item from a list.
  3. After entering text or selecting an item, check box, or radio button, do one of the following:
    • Press Tab to accept the form field change and go to the next form field.
    • Press Shift+Tab to accept the form field change and go to the previous form field.
    • Press Enter (Windows) or Return (Mac OS) to accept the form field change and deselect the current form field. In a multiline text form field, Enter or Return goes to the next line in the same form field. You can use Enter on the keypad to accept a change and deselect the current form field.
    • Press Escape to reject the form field change and deselect the current form field. If you are in full screen mode, pressing Escape a second time causes you to exit full screen mode.
  4. Once you have filled in the appropriate form fields, do one of the following:
    • Click the submit form button, if one exists. The button may be named differently. Clicking this button sends the form data to a database across the web or over your company intranet. This button works only if you are viewing the PDF document from inside a web browser, or you have web capture.
    • Choose File > Export > Form Data to save the form data in a separate FDF file. The form itself is not saved. Type a filename, and click Save. Opening the Forms Data Format (FDF) file in an Acrobat viewer automatically opens the associated PDF document containing the form if the files maintain their relative locations.
    • Click the print form button, to manually sign the form and mail or fax it to the appropriate ADEC representative.

To clear a form in a browser window:

Do one of the following:

  • Select a reset form button.
  • Exit the Acrobat viewer without saving the file, and start again.

Clicking the reload button or the go back button, or following a link in a world wide web browser window does not clear a form.
Important: There is no undo for this action.

To clear a form in Acrobat:

Choose File > Revert.