Client-side only HTML Javascript fields merge to Adobe Acrobat  5 smartform.

Posted on 2004-08-31
Last Modified: 2013-12-16
I have a client-side only application that needs to send fields to an Adobe Acrobat smartform.
Basically if any javascript variable can be sent to a specific field in this smartform that's what I need.
All fields, javascript and adobe will be text.
My app only works on IE 4+.
This program is small enough it can run from a floppy disk, so far.
I am using Adobe Acrobat version 5.0.  Any help would be appreciated.
Question by:BillyBoJimBob
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LVL 44

Expert Comment

by:Karl Heinz Kremer
ID: 11948095
Can you please provide more information about your application. I don't understand the reference to IE4+.

Will you have the full version of Acrobat or only the free Reader available?

Author Comment

ID: 11949000
This application uses multiple html pages, simple forms, and .js files.
Due to some Internet Explorer only code, it doesn't work with any mozilla flavor, partially works with opera, and has issues with mac's Internet Explorer 5.  For now, it only needs to be on IE.  IE4+ = Works with Internet Explorer version 4 and above.
Javascript and cookies need to be allowed.

I have Full version of Adobe Acrobat 5.0.   The reader is available for client testing.  Hopefully, this fix will work with my client-side-only offline web app and any Adobe Acrobat reader (Version 5 and above).

Basically, I am hoping to be able to pass a variable, even if it has to be passed as a url string set of arguments, to Adobe Acrobat, to be placed in specific fields in a pdf 'smartform'.
LVL 44

Expert Comment

by:Karl Heinz Kremer
ID: 11950533
I still don't know how you want to use the PDF form and which part of your app is supposed to set this variable. Do you load the HTML pages from a server?
If you want the whole thing to work with just Reader for your clients, you are limited in what you can do with your PDF file. There are two ways to add the variable to your form: You can either run a standalone form merge program (if a web server is involved, this would happen on the server), or you can use FDF files to set the variable. In this case, you would not load the PDF file, but the FDF file that would contain a reference to the PDF file, and the value of your variable. Are you familiar with FDF?
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Author Comment

ID: 11952217
My app needs to run with absolutely no internet available (A sales agent will be on his laptop out in booneyville with no internet access available to him and this needs to work).  If I can replicate server response via offline .js javascript files, that would be great.

I have an fdf file created for the pdf file I need populated.  Only about 10 of about 40 fields need to be populated by my client-side-only app on the pdf/fdf.

Other than creating an fdf file, I'm not very familiar with it, except it allows a user to save each filled out fdf file as a separate copy.  I'm not sure how variables are passed to a pdf or fdf file.  I would have a button (not added to app yet) that would say "send data to pdf".  This button would then send variables to the pdf from my .js javascript file(s).

With as many people will be using the app, I've been told to not require every user to buy a full version of Adobe Acrobat, but to get it to work on the reader.

I am hoping to be able to pass a variable, even if it has to be passed as a url string set of arguments, to Adobe Acrobat, to be placed in specific fields in a pdf/fdf file.
LVL 44

Accepted Solution

Karl Heinz Kremer earned 500 total points
ID: 11952613
As I said before, the Reader requirement severely limits what you can do in terms of automating the application: Reader does not support OLE automation, and the VB/JavaScript bridge is a wrapper for OLE, so there is no way you can fill in form fields with Reader. The only thing you can do to make this work is to create a FDF file and then load this FDF file into Reader (this can be automated). If you open up a FDF file, you will notice that the structure of this file is pretty simple. If you need to set only 10 of 40 fields, just add only the 10 fields you want to set into the FDF file. You don't have to use Acrobat to create the FDF file, it's just a text file, and as long as you use the correct syntax, it can be created by your application when the user presses the button.

Do you have the Acrobat SDK? If not, you should get it. The documentation in it is necessary to do this type of work with Acrobat (or Reader). The latest version for Acrobat 6 is only available to ASN members, but you can still download the Acrobat 5 version for free:

And, there unfortunately no way to pass values to form fields in command line parameters. You can find what command line parameters are available in this document:


Author Comment

ID: 11953358
Thanks khkremer, I will let you know if this does it for me.  It may take some time to get a sample test done.

Author Comment

ID: 12104156
This project has been dropped by management.  

No further development time will be spent on this.

Thanks anyway khkremer!
Because I can spend no more time on this project,
I will not be able to determine if your answer was

lyonst, please close this question.

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