Louise Scott, Managing Director at Tidalfire

How much longer will we have to put up with companies – yes you know who you are –uploading PDF versions of print forms to their websites?

This is slightly less annoying than the number of Word forms that we find on web sites.

What has gone wrong here?

Has Adobe failed to educate the public about the ability PDF has in being an electronic forms platform?

Has there been a Microsoft evangelist riding round the country telling everyone to create their forms in Word and then assuming that we will download and fill them in?

You cannot be serious.

Anyway back to PDF print forms.

So the great and the good try to help by getting around the “Microsoft Word form misery” by converting the Word forms to PDF.

Microsoft Office comes with a sort of PDF converter so that will solve all of our issues after all:

  • PDFs are cross-platform compatible – the Adobe Reader and third party readers are available on Windows, Mac, Linux and various mobile platforms
  • PDF documents look good and cannot be easily edited
  • And worse of all they PRINT REALLY WELL

Yes, I am going to download a PDF version of a multi page form then spend the rest of the time filling it in with a pen.

I am a child of the iPad, the Samsung , the smart phone – I don’t carry a pen…anymore.

Some of these “electronic” forms still have instructions such as:

WRITE IN BLOCK CAPS ONLY

USE A BLACK PEN

I mean hold me back….

How sad that so few of our “PDF experts”, design agencies, government bodies, charities, legal entities, utility companies and private corporations cannot employ someone who can create a PDF form that can be completed without it having to be printed.

If it has escaped your attention it is possible to make PDF documents act just like their brother HTML web forms.

  • Text fields can be typed into
  • Radio buttons and check boxes can be radioed
  • Drop down lists are available for selecting
  • Scripting can add an even greater dimension to PDF forms – validation, calculation, creating hidden regions or expandable forms – stops for breath.

So I sit here looking at a website with two links:

One to a Word version of a form and one to a PDF version of THE SAME form – both that I will have to print out.

C’mon people.

Have a look at a proper example.

The first links is to a PRINT PDF form the second is to a  fillable PDF that you can type your details into and then return the data with an added email button – the email has been disabled in case it generates loads of spam…

We are not looking for a Rembrandt – just a form that we can type into without having to print it.

Which one would you prefer – don’t answer that.

Want to know more – read our Guide to eForms or give us a call.

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