Use interactive forms to collect data

Interactive forms (also called fillable forms) allow users to type data directly into the form fields. As you can imagine, it’s much easier for you to collect data—such as names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses—from interactive forms. Especially considering that the common alternative is having people fill out forms in ink and then paying someone to enter the data into your application.

Start with a blank PDF

  • In Foxit PhantomPDF, create a form from a blank PDF by clicking FILE > Create > Blank
  • Add text fields by clicking FORM > Form Fields
  • Choose Text Field. When the cursor changes to a crosshair, that’s your cue to click the area where you want to add your text field.
  • Form fields are automatically named with the text near them (see example below) but you can rename them by clicking into the name and typing.

You can set other field properties too, such as:

  • Alignment: Align the text left, right, or center within the field
  • Default Value: Specify text that appears until the user overwrites it by typing in the field
  • Scroll Long Text: Handle text that extends beyond the boundaries of the text field
  • Allow Rich Text Formatting: Allow users to apply styles, such as bold and italic
  • Limit of Characters: Allow a maximum number of characters in the field

When you get the completed form back, use the text select tool to copy and paste the data into another application if necessary. There are advanced programs and methods for automatically collecting the data and putting into other formats and applications, but that’s a blog post for another day!

As you can see, creating interactive forms isn’t difficult. And data accuracy greatly improves when you use them for data collection. Get started making interactive forms today. And get details on other types of form fields you can create—including push buttons, check boxes, combo boxes, list boxes, and radio buttons—on page 164 of the PhantomPDF User Manual

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