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

Subject: RE: Interactive PDFs from Word -- best solution to a painful process?
From: "Rick Quatro" <rick -at- rickquatro -dot- com>
To: <ryan -dot- minaker -at- ca -dot- pwc -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 9 Jan 2015 10:46:18 -0500

One other thing about this topic: I have been using FrameMaker for PDF forms over the years and have a method for adding the interactivity to the FrameMaker document. That means when I make changes to the FrameMaker document and make a new PDF, the form fields are created during the distilling process. If you are interested in this, please contact me offlist.

Rick

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+rick=rickquatro -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+rick=rickquatro -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of Rick Quatro
Sent: Friday, January 09, 2015 10:39 AM
To: ryan -dot- minaker -at- ca -dot- pwc -dot- com; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: Interactive PDFs from Word -- best solution to a painful process?

Here is a trick that you may not be aware of that makes it easier to deal with changes. Let's say there are changes to the Word file after you do all of the form work in Acrobat. Instead of making a new PDF and starting over by copying/pasting forms, you can do this:

1) Make a PDF of the updated Word file, but use a different name so you don't overwrite your original form.

2) Open the original form in Acrobat Professional.

3) Click the Tools command on the right side of the application.

4) Expand the Pages area of the Tools and click the Replace command. You will be prompted for another PDF. Select the updated PDF created in step 1.

5) Choose the pages to replace in the open PDF with the pages in the new PDF.

When Acrobat replaces the pages, it leaves the form fields, links, etc. from the original pages intact. It only replaces the underlying content. Depending on the changes that you made to the Word file, you may only have to move some of the existing fields around to match the new underlying page. At worse, you may have to create or delete some new fields. But unless the form has been radically changed, this is much easier than starting from scratch or copying/pasting from another form

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments. Thank you very much.

Rick Quatro
Carmen Publishing Inc.
585-366-4017
rick -at- frameexpert -dot- com




-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+rick=rickquatro -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+rick=rickquatro -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of Scott Russell
Sent: Friday, January 09, 2015 8:45 AM
To: veronica -at- front-runner -dot- com; ryan -dot- minaker -at- ca -dot- pwc -dot- com; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Cc: tgrantham -at- tengwarsystems -dot- com
Subject: Re: Interactive PDFs from Word -- best solution to a painful process?

Ryan: I tend to create the look of a form in Word, but build the functionality in Acrobat using the method you described. I spend more time in Acrobat than in Word. I then edit and update the Acrobat form, keeping a separate version for this purpose from my distributed and responses Acrobat form versions. Of course, major changes require rebuilding the Acrobat form from the Word source, but you can largely copy and paste your formfields, which makes the rebuild much quicker. I have also distributed Word forms internally, which would simplify your process (staying in Word). I find Acrobat forms more attractive, easier to use, smaller in size, with perhaps better security, and they are published with a responses database. When I distributed Word forms, I created a responses database in Excel for ongoing reporting and data reuse. With content controls, building interactive Word documents is much more robust now, with more content options. ________________ Scott Russell

On Thursday, January 8, 2015 5:07 PM, Veronica Kutt <veronica -at- front-runner -dot- com> wrote:


Hi Ryan,

You may want to talk to Tim Grantham, who developed a product, DITA InPrint for your question about creating PDF forms in DITA.

Designed and developed DITA InPrintâ, which enables users to easily style and publish DITA content to PDF and Microsoft Word formats.

Designs, develops, and deploys XML-based publishing platforms, including knowledge portals, online help systems, web sites, wikis, and printed documents.

Expertise and experience includes transforming XML sources to other types of XML and using XSL to automate publishing of XML content to brand-compliant mobile, Web, and PDF outputs.


Talk soon,



Warm Regards,

Veronica Kutt
President
Front Runner Training, a div. of Front Runner Publishing Solutions Inc.
(Local) 416-515-0155
(Toll Free) 1-877-999-0155
Follow me on https://twitter.com/@Veronica_FR Connect with me on LinkedIn ca.linkedin.com/in/veronicakutt




-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+veronica=front-runner -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+veronica=front-runner -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of ryan -dot- minaker -at- ca -dot- pwc -dot- com
Sent: January-08-15 1:31 PM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Interactive PDFs from Word -- best solution to a painful process?

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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References:
RE: Interactive PDFs from Word -- best solution to a painful process?: From: Veronica Kutt
Re: Interactive PDFs from Word -- best solution to a painful process?: From: Scott Russell
RE: Interactive PDFs from Word -- best solution to a painful process?: From: Rick Quatro

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