PDF forms and their uses

Forms can be created using HTML or Adobe Acrobat (PDF). The form created through HTML will have a field to enter the name, address, email address, phone number, etc. and after finishing filling it, the user can click a button to send it to the recipient. The PDF version of the form will contain the same fields and will provide a submit button to send the form back to the recipient. How is one form better than the other?

The differences will help you decide which format to use. Comparison of features such as how to design the form, how to distribute it, how to capture the data and use it meaningfully, are factors that will help you determine which one should be your pick.

HTML form can be created using HTML editor. Those not comfortable using HTML editors, can use PDFs. Use MS word to design the form. Convert that into PDF and add the form fields. Using InDesign and Adobe Illustrator, one can do nice things. Feature-rich InDesign lets you build form components in it and then take it into Acrobat to finish it.

Those having Adobe Acrobat and a printer can print to any application. The form can be created anyhow and then made into a PDF and finished in Acrobat. A form created using HTML will require a web browser to open it. It can be hosted on a public site and the same can be done with PDF forms as well.

A PDF file can be sent as an attachment. HTML files and PDFs both allow placing limits on the value to be entered in a field. Calculations to be done can be done on both forms.

Doing so will require writing codes. However in some cases, Acrobat provides users with some built in-codes to make things easier. But beyond the basics users will have to write Javascript codes. Developers can do that and the data then can be saved into a database. PDFs can collate data into a spreadsheet. PDF forms can be filled offline and saved. Alternately, download, fill and save. The form can be left half-filled and completed the next day too. When it comes to mimicking physical forms, PDF files do better. There are only PDFs for the purpose. Even better these days, it is possible to convert them into fillable PDF forms just like the real life forms. There are plenty of uses with this sort of PDF forms.

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