Capture Data with PDF Forms in Your Business.
They're smart. They’re dynamic. They’re convenient. They’re interactive.
If you’re looking for ways to save time or automate your business, then using PDF forms to capture data may be the right decision for you.
PDF fillable forms are an efficient and convenient way to gather information from your customers, clients, and employees. A fillable form can be embedded in a PDF document, making it easy for people to fill out and return their information to you electronically — and for you to get all the data you need in one place.
What you’ll learn
- What PDF forms are
- What you can use PDF forms for
- How to set up PDF forms
- Security measures to take when using PDF forms
PDF forms and how they can be used.
What are PDF forms?
The first Portable Fillable Documents, (PDFs), were developed by us in the early 1990s basically so people could easily share documents between different operating systems and devices.
Fillable PDF forms go a step further and are an interactive and quick and effective way to capture data from customers, clients, and employees. They're simple, secure, reliable, and easy to share.
What can you use PDF forms for?
You can use a PDF form with fillable fields to capture any information you want —
- Get names and email addresses, customer orders, bank details, roster availability — the list is endless.
- Add calculations and data validation rules to your form to capture accurate and reliable data.
- Include e-signatures in PDF forms to digitally capture the date, time, and validate the authenticity of the person completing the document.
Create a PDF form. There are a few ways you can create PDF forms.
- Go direct to the app — both Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Acrobat Pro have features for you to create PDF forms from scratch and/or rework existing forms and move and change fields to where and how you want them.
- Drop it online — use the software of your choice to create your form. Then convert your Word doc to PDF or Excel file to PDF online.
Set up your security for PDF forms.
It's important to put in place a few data security measures when using PDF forms. There are various safeguards to use with PDF forms to ensure all data and information is safe, secure, and compliant with privacy laws and regulations.
Consider these steps to ensure your data is as secure as possible —
- Include digital signatures to confirm the authenticity of the documents that users have filled out. You can include an e-signature field in the form or request e-signatures online.
- Consider using the identity authentication methods with Acrobat to make sure the correct person is completing the form.
- Encrypt sensitive information and use secure servers and protocols for sending, receiving, and storing all information obtained in forms to prevent unauthorized access.
- Use password protection to prevent unauthorised access. This added layer of security can be set to open the document and/or make it difficult for anyone to edit or copy your form without permission.
- Monitor user access, form completion, extraction, and storage methods to keep your data protected, secure, and safe from any potential threats or errors.
Get your PDF form out and back.
Once you have the form created, and your security needs sorted, it's time to start using it. To do this, simply embed the form into a document or website, and distribute via emails or links to your site. Your customers and employees can then fill out the form and return it back to you.
There’s a Forms Tracker feature in Acrobat you can use to track your respondents, add new ones, and send email reminders if you need to.
The data you capture in PDF forms can then quickly exported and integrated into existing business processes to analyse, automate workflows, and so forth, in formats such as XML, TXT, FDF, and XFDF.
It’s that simple!
Smart data capture with PDF forms.
PDF forms are simple, secure, and accessible. They can be designed so you can capture data easily and quickly. Using PDF forms will save you time and money on resource and help with accurate data collection. They’re flexible enough to work on multiple operating systems and devices, while ensuring the security of the information being gathered is protected.
Frequently asked questions.
How do you make sure PDF forms are properly filled out and submitted?
There are a few measures business can use to make ensure PDF forms are properly filled out and submitted.
- Give brief and clear instructions on how to fill out and submit the form. This reduces confusion and errors.
- Layout the content and form fields in your PDF in a logical flow so that information is obtained in the correct order, and nothing is missed.
- Use validation rules in the form to check for incorrect or incomplete entries before submission.
- Include digital signatures for user authentication to verify who has submitted the information.
Are there any security risks associated with using PDF forms?
Yes, there are certain security risks associated with using PDF forms. To protect against these risks, check out the enhanced security features in Acrobat products. These features are there to protect your system, data, and unauthorized tampering of your form contents. Security steps to take include:
- Setting password protection to limit permissions for editing and copying content, and/or opening the form.
- Requesting digital signatures and identity authentication to verify who completes the form.
- Encrypting your forms and data and ensuring the server you upload your PDFs to is secure and regularly updated with the latest security patches.
- Removing sensitive content from a form after it has been submitted and extracted to prevent future authorized access.
- Consider using Adobe with Document Cloud services manage, store and secure your PDF forms and other documents and data securely.