Interactive PDFs from Word -- best solution to a painful process?

Subject: Interactive PDFs from Word -- best solution to a painful process?
From: ryan -dot- minaker -at- ca -dot- pwc -dot- com
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 8 Jan 2015 13:30:58 -0500

Hi everyone,

I have a project where I need to create interactive PDFs from Word
documents. Very basic stuff -- text boxes and check boxes -- not linked to
any sort of actions/database or anything. Just enter text and save the
document for reference.

Last year, on this same project, we were very tight for time so we we
used the 'brute force method' to get this done:

1. Save the Word document as PDF.
2. Run the Acrobat form recognition on that PDF.
3. Manually fix all the stuff that Acrobat got wrong/missed (fields that
weren't recognized, fields that showed up in weird places etc.)

This turned out to be a real hassle and really time consuming.

This year, I have more time to figure out a better process. The main issue
is that Acrobat doesn't recognize all the static fields and convert them
to form fields. There's lots of manual work involved once you create a
PDF. I've tried creating brand new Word documents from scratch and still
get the same issue (some fields show up and others don't...).

Does anyone know of any software/processes/methods that I can use to
actually get Word documents to convert to PDF forms without having to
tweak them after the fact? Even if I have to convert the Word documents to
some other format...


On the same topic -- has anyone ever created PDF forms from DITA (this
would be an idea solution eventually)?


Thanks!

R.


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