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

Subject: Re: Interactive PDFs from Word -- best solution to a painful process?
From: Mike Starr <mike -at- writestarr -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 08 Jan 2015 13:24:23 -0600

Oddly enough, I've been working on a form for a client. I developed the form in Word and created macros to deal with the calculations involving the form fields. Beautiful... works just the way I want it. However, when I got about 90% done, the client told me they wanted it as a PDF (the field personnel all have tablets and don't have access to Word to fill out the form). I tried the form recognition in Acrobat Professional v8.0 and the results were horrible. I've determined that the best approach is to take the final Word document, strip out all the existing form fields and just do a straight conversion to PDF. When that's done, I'll open the document in Acrobat's form designer and manually insert all the fields and checkboxes and I'll have to recreate all the calculation macros in Acrobat. <sigh>

Best Regards,

Mike
--
Mike Starr, Writer
Technical Writer - Online Help Developer - WordPress Websites
Graphic Designer - Desktop Publisher - Custom Microsoft Word templates
(262) 694-1028 - mike -at- writestarr -dot- com - http://www.writestarr.com
President - Working Writers of Wisconsin http://www.workingwriters.org/

On 1/8/2015 1:05 PM, Tony Chung wrote:

Hi Ryan,

It doesn't look like Word creates fillable PDF forms from its own fields.
You still have to do all the work in Adobe Designer.

http://www.ehow.com/how_5721692_convert-document-fillable-pdf-form.html

Years ago I tried hacking VBA to alter PDF settings from Word but it's a
pretty closed box. If you could work out a real solution you could make a
mint.

I also would be interested in hearing of a DITA solution.

-Tony

On Thursday, January 8, 2015, <ryan -dot- minaker -at- ca -dot- pwc -dot- com> wrote:

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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Follow-Ups:

References:
Interactive PDFs from Word -- best solution to a painful process?: From: ryan . minaker
Re: Interactive PDFs from Word -- best solution to a painful process?: From: Tony Chung

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