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Add different forms to multi-page PDF, repeated

Posted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 12:33 pm
by Peter2
I'm thinking about this kind of workflow ...

- I have a database with 1000 trees
- This database contains data about species, height, coordinates and owner
- now I have to add two new attributes: "diametre" (number, one decimal place) and "state" (select one value of "good / medium / bad")
- No problem: to add the empty fields to the database
- no problem: to create a report (one page per tree or a huge list) of every tree

Problem: Intelligent / efficient way of research for the field crew. The have to go out in the parks to check each of the listed 1000 trees.

Way 1:
I print the report to 1000 pages of paper, give it to the crew and tell them: "Write down the new data to the paper with a pencil"
-> seem to be an "old school" method

Way 2:
For the first week, I create a PDF-report with 100 pages, add 2 forms (one text field; one "list box" with the predefined values) to every single page and tell the field crew to use the forms inside the PDF to add data for every single tree.
For the second week, I repeat this with the next group of 100 trees / PDF.

Is this a good / a possible way? To merge same forms to an existing multi-page PDF?
What would be the best tools: Editor? Tools? Print and overlay?

Thanks and regards


Re: Add different forms to multi-page PDF, repeated

Posted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 9:28 pm
by TrackerSupp-Daniel
Hello Peter,

I think that your second method is a good option, I also wanted to offer a third option. If the teams surveying the trees have mobile computers, (surface tablets, laptops, etc) that have the Editor on them, you could also make a single template form for them to use. This template would have a series of empty form fields, and the teams would fill them out, then use the functions on the Form tab of the editor to "Export Form data"
This method allows them to quickly gather the data, store it in a quick access location, and because FDF files are considerably smaller than the relevant PDF, they could send them to you more quickly and in much larger batches. Then all you need to do is open your same template file and choose the "Import Form Data" option to view what they have entered in each iteration of the form.

Might that work better?

In either case, You would need and Editor plus license to create the initial Form, but as form filling is a free feature no license is required to fill or export the form data. So unless they need the other features, many of your users would actually be able to use the free version of the editor.

Re: Add different forms to multi-page PDF, repeated

Posted: Tue Apr 02, 2019 7:29 am
by Peter2
Thanks for reply, Daniel

there are these conditions:
a) field team has mobile hardware
b) they have Editor Pro
c) they don't need empty PDF-template with forms, they need the current data of every tree amended with the new, empty forms.
d) the file size is not really important

For my "Way 2", described above, there are 2 questions:

a) Is it possible to add the same form on multiple pages? Or have the be defined one by one because of data consistency?
b) What is the best way to merge a template with forms to a multi-pgae-pdf or to many single-page-pdf?

Re: Add different forms to multi-page PDF, repeated

Posted: Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:39 pm
by TrackerSupp-Daniel
Hello Peter,

I see, As we don't offer a mobile version I suppose my suggestion would not be the best, but yes, looking back at your #2 solution that should still be viable.

Form fields are automatically named when placed so that every field is unique, however if you manually change the name of two fields to be the same, the data within those fields will match across the entire document. As an example, If you have a 5 page legal document, and each page needed to have a custom phone number on it "123-4567" you could name all of these fields "phone number", then filling out one would propagate the others in the document.
In that sense, yes you can add the same form to multiple pages.
If instead you were asking about the import/export functions I suggested earlier, these functions are also tied to the form field names, so assuming that the fields are named the same across the pages, the same as above would hold true.

The best way to merge any document that contains form fields is to use the "Insert pages" function (from the organize tab), as this gives you control over the existing form fields, and allows for form fields to be "copied with rename", to prevent issues where document A and Document B both have a field called "diameter". If the form fields are not renamed, you will end up seeing the same data on every page as they all technically have the same form field.

I hope this helps!

Re: Add different forms to multi-page PDF, repeated

Posted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 8:06 am
by Peter2
Hello Daniel

yes - "insert" a page gives full control over the forms and there renaming.

But the result will be a new, single page which is not merged / "overlayed" on the current page(s). And at the moment I don't see a way to do this in a batch mode for hundreds of pages.

Thanks - I will pause the project (the idea) now.


Re: Add different forms to multi-page PDF, repeated

Posted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 5:25 pm
by TrackerSupp-Daniel
If you are needing to do this in a large batch, you May want to look at our PDF-Tools suite instead, as it is specifically designed with batch processing in mind.