Forms and FDF

Adobe Acrobat allows you to create electronic forms that maintain your organisation's branding. You can either design and create a new form. Or you can convert your existing paper forms to PDF, and then add PDF form fields.

What is FDF?

FDF is the file format used for Acrobat Forms and is used when submitting Form data to a server, receiving a response, and incorporating it back into a Form.

What is the FDF Toolkit?

The FDF Toolkit is a threadsafe API for writing server applications to generate or parse FDF data from a form created by the Adobe Acrobat Forms Plug-in. The FDF Toolkit can be used on Microsoft Windows NT or UNIX platforms. The FDF Toolkit supports the C/C++, Visual Basic (Active Server Pages), Java, and Perl development languages.

UPDATE: At the request of Adobe Systems, we have removed the FDF Toolkit download links pending the availability of the FDF Toolkit 6 version.

How do forms work?

Once the user fills out the PDF-based form, the data is submitted to a server for processing. A server-side application can then parse the data from the form fields using the FDF Toolkit. Once the data has been processed, you can use FDF to generate a response acknowledging that some action has taken place to the user.

I want more...

  • Download the Java Credit Card sample (ZIP:33kb)
  • Servlet-based Java sample written by Roberto Perelman, using the FDF Toolkit. It is a simple "ping" form that demonstrates how the the Java flavor of the FDF Toolkit can be used on a server. (ZIP:2.5kb)
  • Download a sample project that uses VB to create and populate an FDF file, and then starts Acrobat importing an FDF file into a PDF (ZIP:4K)
  • Try our new FDFGateway to automatically route FDF files to a predetermined recipient.

What's the next step?

Well, now it's time to try out Forms and FDF for yourself. Your next stop should be Planet PDF columnist Gordon Kent's client-side, or server-side Forms articles for some further step-by-step tutorials and examples. And if server-side is your interest area, then make sure that you've got a copy of the FDF Toolkit Overview close by. As always, if you experience any trouble then stop by the Planet PDF Forum and get help.


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January 09, 2014
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