Adobe PDF API's

I want to create a pdf file with "tags" of some sort in it.  Then, I will populate those fields with a VB program from a SQL database.  The goal is to have a sort of template that can be filled with data from the database and presented to the end user.

Has anyone here done anything with this?  If the answer is complicated, I am willing to split up the questions, making each worth 500 points.

I've got to go now; I will fill in any gaps later.
Who is Participating?
ampapaConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I'm not sure that you can create a dynamic table in a PDF document? I can't answer that. I guess you can if your generating the PDF  document on the fly?

All I can say is that ActivePDF is great for filling in data. Create a form with some fields map those fields to the same name as fields in your DB, add some source code and your off. I hope I'm not over simplifying things, but I thought it was done rather well, a little expensive but non the less.

This is from the help file I hope they don't mind, sorry the images won't post.

This example fills a PDF template using DBToForm.
To define the fields of an invoice:

1 Using Acrobat to define your PDF fields, create the input PDF. See Creating a PDF Template.  When defining PDF fields, name the fields the same as the database fields. When naming line items, name them dbFieldx where x is the line item number.  Below are examples of the corresponding Access database tables.  

Below are examples of the corresponding Access database tables.

Field Name                    DataType

company                       text
name                            text

Field Name                   DataType
OrderID                        text
QTY                             number


Below is the defined Invoice PDF:
(picture of form with fields named similar to DB)

Example source:


Set Toolkit = Server.CreateObject("APToolkit.Object")
' Open the output file
R = Toolkit.OpenOutputFile(Server.MapPath("myInvoice.PDF"))
' Open the input file
R = Toolkit.OpenInputFile(Server.MapPath("APInvoice.PDF"))
' Define the master query's variables
DSN = "DBQ=" & Server.MapPath("Toolkit.mdb") & _
";Driver={Microsoft Access Driver (*.mdb)};"
UserID = "Admin"
Password = ""
Options = -1
' Select all of the records from the orders file
SQLQuery = "select * from Orders"
' Set up the master query
Toolkit.SetMasterQuery DSN, UserID, Password, Options, SQLQuery
' Select all of the related records from the orderDetails file
SQLQuery = "select * from OrderDetails where OrderID ='|OrderID|"
' Set up the Related query
Toolkit.AddRelatedQuery DSN, UserID, Password, Options, SQLQuery
' Since our line items field names do not have a _
separator between the name and line number we need to tell the toolkit that
Toolkit.SetDBMultiRowSeparator ""
' Since we took the time to set up the form formatting, _
we should turn that on too
Toolkit.DoFormFormatting = True
' Finally, we want to make the file truly read-only with NO fields in it
Toolkit.SetDefaultDBMergeFlag –998
Toolkit.FlattenRemainingFormFields = True
' Execute with single page output!
Toolkit.DBToForm False
Set Toolkit = Nothing

Here is a link to a similar question I answered:

Let me know if I can fill in some more of the blanks...
labreuerAuthor Commented:
This is designed to fill in form fields -- what sort of restriction does this place on the final format of the text?  For example, if I want one field to be bold and a larger font, is that doable?
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In Acrobat you can create a field on a document that can be formatted, yes.

I do a similar process but use an AxctiveX control called activepdf. It works great.

labreuerAuthor Commented:
What are a few things you like better about activepdf, compared to Adobe Acrobat Professional?  I understand the activepdf toolkit is required to do this -- you use activepdf's pdf maker as well?
I use toolkit from Access to populate Tax returns, it's a smooth setup and fairly seamless. Very little programming involved compared to some of the other attempts to create PDF documents with your data, then saving the PDF document with your data intact.

The essentials for my usage is to create a document in Acrobat with my fields specified (fonts, color, size, etc.) I save it as a template if you will then basically call ActivePDF and push my data from Access through to the template and save it as another PDF document, and rock on.

If your considering doing anything like what I described the cost is minimal to the amount of time it will save. I believe they have a full trial if your interested?
labreuerAuthor Commented:
This definitely looks like a solution -- how much research did you do into this (e.g. did you find/try any other products)?
No, once I found it I stopped looking. I'm sure there are some others available as always there's more than one way to skin a cat, but ActivePDF worked well for my situation.

labreuerAuthor Commented:
Do you have any examples of a pdf with forms, then after you've added the data and flattened the pdf?
Unfourtunately they are tax retuens and I can't supply those to you but I could probably send you a form ready to be populated with data?
labreuerAuthor Commented:
How complicated did your dynamic content get?  It seems that you might have only done very simple things with ActivePDF.  If I wanted to, for example, have a template that allowed for a table of dynamic size, it seems that ActivePDF would not be able to do this...
labreuerAuthor Commented:
Ok, you've definitely answered my question if I just need simple single-format fields, so I'm going to give you an A.  If I want more, I will probably have to look into dynamic PDF generation.
Thanks for the grade.

I hope things work out for you.

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