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Using OCR in Adobe to create a modifiable file

Posted on 2004-11-21
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My dad has a form that he fills out on a regular basis by hand. I heard that you can use Optical Character Recognition to scan something into Adobe as a .pdf and then set it up to be modified. I have never used this before so first I want to see if it is possible and second how do you do it.

Just to make sure I am clear what I want to do is scan his document in and save it. Then set it up so he can type in all the blanks/answers that he would normally have to do by hand.

Thanks.
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Question by:Thrownaxe
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by:Karl Heinz Kremer
ID: 12640661
It's a three step process: You first need to scan the document into Acrobat. In the second step, you run the "Paper Capture" function to OCR the document, and in the third step you then use Acrobat's Form Tool to add interactive form elements.

However, if you just want to fill out the form, you probably don't even have to run the Paper Capture function.

You need the full version of Acrobat for this. Which version do you have? Depending on the version, the form function is selected differently.
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by:Thrownaxe
ID: 12641174
Ok cool, I missed the form element part. I have the full adobe premier 6.0.
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Karl Heinz Kremer earned 2000 total points
ID: 12641245
Do you have Adobe Acrobat? Adobe Premiere is something completely different. Let's for now assume that you have Adobe Acrobat 6.0 Professional (you need the Professional version, Standard does not have the form tool).

Select "Tools>Advanced Editing>Forms" - you will find the individual form features in this menu. Select e.g. the Text Field tool. The cursor will change, and you can draw rectangles on your document. Every rectangle will become a text field. Once you draw the rectangle, the properties dialog will be displayed. You should give every field at least a meaningful name.
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by:Thrownaxe
ID: 12646269
Yeah sorry I have Acrobat 6.0 Pro. That sounds like everything I need. I will try it tonight and let you know if I have any problems. Thanks.

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by:Karl Heinz Kremer
ID: 12646993
Just keep in mind that an interactive form cannot be saved with just Reader. You need to either submit the forms data to a web server, or you have to use the full version of Acrobat if you want to save the data. You can however print the filled in form with Reader.
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by:Thrownaxe
ID: 12647146
What I really need is to be able to print it. My dad has to fill out these forms a lot and it is just easier to do it on the computer. I have the full version of Acrobat as well and I am going to put it on his machine as well. Thanks for the help.
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by:Thrownaxe
ID: 12650007
Ok I started playing with this. This is what I needed. One last question though. I am always going to choose the same option for the text boxes, i.e. visible but dont print. Is there some way to make this default? Or will I have to change it every time?
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by:Karl Heinz Kremer
ID: 12650131
You probably want the boxes to print, otherwise the data that you fill in will not print, you will get the blank form. From experience, I think you only need the default settings. If you don't want to process the data, you can even use the default field names.

If you really want to use the same settings, create one text box with the properties you want, then select the "Select Object Tool", click on the field, and then copy and paste this field until you have enough fields. As the last step, just move them to their correct locations, and resize them so that they fit into the form.
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by:Thrownaxe
ID: 12651723
Thanks, I realized my error when I did the first couple and went to print. One last question if you dont mind. Ive done a little programming so I understand what can be done just dont know how in Adobe. Once I name all the text boxes to a descriptive name is there  a way I can bring up a list of all the boxes and fill out the data that way instead of clicking on everyone throughout the form?

Also I can make another question and give you more points as well since this is technically 3 questions in one if you want.

Thanks again for the help.
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by:Karl Heinz Kremer
ID: 12654337
Your new question should go into a new question for at least three reasons:

- It's unrelated to the original problem (how to scan/OCR/add form fields)
- EE is more than just a place where you can get an answer to your specific problem: You can also search the huge PAQ (previously answered questions) database to find information. When a question contains more unrelated questions, it's hard to find this information if the subject line does not indicate this
- I need 25000 more points to reach 500000 :-)

Regardless of this, let me at least give you a rough idea about what's possible:
You can use the full version of Acrobat and it's API to create e.g. a VB program to fill in your form.
You can also use the full version of Acrobat with Acrobat JavaScript to fill in a form from a database.
You can use a non-Adobe program or library to fill in the form.

I can give you more information to either of these options.
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by:Thrownaxe
ID: 12655648
Ok I put it in another question. Here is the link.

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Web/Graphics/Adobe_Acrobat/Q_21217400.html
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