Using Reader 6 to Export the contents of a PDF Form...

Hi Guys,
     I'm fairly new to Acrobat (Other than just printing to PDF), and I am trying to put together a form for users to fill out. However, the users would need to be able to fill in the form using only the free "Adobe Reader" and export the data, then email the exported data.
     From what I have read in the help files this is possible, but I can't seem to figure out how to enable it. Below are comments from Adobe Reader's help file:
Exporting and importing form data

      If the author of the Adobe PDF document enabled the Fill in Form features, you can export the form data to a separate file. Exporting form data lets you save the existing data, which you can then send via email or the Internet. You can save the form data as a tab-separated text file, Forms Data Format (FDF), or in XFDF (XML-based FDF files). The exported file will be considerably smaller than the original PDF file. A smaller file is preferable for archiving or sharing data electronically. You can also import data from the exported file into another form if that form has fields with the same names.
      You can also import file data from a text file. Each row in the text file must be tab delimited to create columns, as in a table. When a row of data is imported, each cell becomes the value of the form field that corresponds to the column name.
      Note: You cannot export or import data in Adobe Reader unless the Adobe PDF file has special usage rights assigned.

      To export form data to a file:
1. Open the Adobe PDF form and fill it out.
2. Choose Document > Fill-in Form > Export Forms Data.
3. Specify a location and filename, and then click Save.

      To import form data from a file:
1. Open the Adobe PDF form.
2. Choose Document > Fill-in Form > Import Forms Data.
3. Select a file, and click Select.

      Note: If you import form data from a form that does not match the form you are importing into, only the form fields that match are updated, and those that do not match are ignored. Existing text in text form fields is replaced if you import data to those fields.
Can someone point me in the right direction, or tell me why it is not as easy as it seems that it should be?

ThanX in advance!

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Karl Heinz KremerCommented:
You cannot email forms data from Reader. The only submission method that Reader supports is to a web server. You can either submit the data in HTML form (this way you can use a CGI program that you would also use for a web form), or FDF or XFDF. Reader does not allow to submit the complete filled out PDF file.

The full version of Acrobat can email forms data, and can also submit the complete PDF file.
will_scarlet7Author Commented:
Hi khkremer,
ThanX for your help. I don't mean to doubt you on this, but if you cannot use Reader for this, why does the help file seem to indicate that you can? Your insight is appreciated!

Karl Heinz KremerCommented:
There is one exception to what I wrote: If you buy a server product from Adobe, you can "Reader enable" forms, and give a form more rights - even in Reader. This way you can e.g. allow your users to save to email the forms data. This Adobe LiveCycle with Reader Extensions software ( is however pretty expensive (I guess the exact price depends on how good you are in negotiating contracts, but I've heard about $70,000 being mentioned).

Other than that, you have to ask Adobe why their manual does not talk about these limitations.
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Karl Heinz KremerCommented:
The very first sentence contains this: "If the author of the Adobe PDF document enabled the Fill in Form features", and the "Note" on this page says this: "You cannot export or import data in Adobe Reader unless the Adobe PDF file has special usage rights assigned." For these "special rights" you need the LiveCycle with Reader Extensions software. Adobe should have explained this a bit better.

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Karl Heinz KremerCommented:
There is some indication that Adobe added some of these Reader Extension enabling features to Acrobat 7, but I guess we have to wait for the release of Acrobat 7 to find out exactly what's supported:
(The last part of the document talks about reader extensions).
Karl Heinz KremerCommented:
Do you have a web server? If so, you can have your users submit the data to the server, and the server can mail the form contents to your email address. Let me know if you need more information about this.
Karl Heinz KremerCommented:
This article talks about the new features in the Designer (which comes with the PC version of Acrobat 7), and it does enable the EMail submission of forms data from the free Reader (but you will need version 7 of the Reader). So, if you can wait four more weeks (they announced Acrobat 7 for the end of the year), you can use the new version to provide email capabilities with Reader.
will_scarlet7Author Commented:
ThanX khkremer! Looks like there are options available, but not immediately. I guess I'll either look for a 3rd party tool or wait for version 7.

God bless!

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