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Topic: Re: How to add professional help to PDFs?
Conf: (P-PDF) Developers, Msg: 57290
From: prodok
Date: 5/29/2002 05:24 PM

The problem with the central location for help documents is that if
you are working on the form under the browser, chances that you get
caching problems and a not properly working history mechanism.

The workaround would be, despite that you may get a slightly bigger
document, to have autonomous forms, meaning that the help is part of
the form.

One approach which has been done with some rather complex (not
necessarily field wise, but subject matter wise) forms, is to have a
Help layer, which you activate by clicking on a button. This layer
contains fields which show the help information for specific zones of
your form. It is possible to show/hide buttons which then will open
additional documents (for very in-depth help, or for accessing the
legal environment for the subject).

Another thing to keep in mind anyway is the performance loss you get
when you are running Acrobat under a web browser; it can be
considerable, and it is getting worse, the more complex your form

Hope, this can help.

Max Wyss
PRODOK Engineering
Low Paper workflows, Smart documents, PDF forms
CH-8906 Bonstetten, Switzerland

Fax: +41 1 700 20 37

[ Building Bridges for Information ]


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>We have 20+ PDF forms that each have hundreds of fields on them.
>Many of the fields are the same between forms. We are going to
>allow people to fill them in over the web.
>The problem we have is how to supply context sensitive help for our
>users. Many of the fields need several paragraphs of help text so
>using tool-tips won't work. Our ideal solution would be to trap the
>F1 key and when they hit F1 find out what the current field is then
>send the field name as a parameter to a help page on the web server.
>We'd like this new page to open up in a new window so you can view
>the help and keep looking at the PDF. We'd like to keep the help
>text in a central location so we don't bloat the size of the PDF.
>We found that trapping the F1 key isn't possible, so we are going to
>use a Help button on each page. This makes finding the current
>field a little trickier so we've had to inject script on the OnFocus
>event of every field. We fould we can't get the resulting help HTML
>to open in a new window or frame so our PDF goes away. The solution
>we are left with is poor but workable until we found out that in IE
>when they click the back button to go back to the PDF they are taken
>to the top of the document!
>How are people out there providing help to people that need to fill
>out large complicated forms? Any help/suggestions are greatly

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