Forms Extension

Forms Extension

Datalogics offers the Forms Extension, a software module that allows applications built using the Adobe PDF Library to work with PDF AcroForm and XFA forms documents. The extension works with the Windows 32-bit Adobe PDF Library platform and is available for separate purchase.

Working with forms technology

Adobe Inc. developed Adobe Acrobat Forms, or AcroForm, in 1998.  AcroForm is the original PDF forms technology and it remains the primary method for building PDF forms documents today. Many PDF users use Adobe Acrobat to build electronic forms and surveys, adding text fields, check boxes, radio buttons, bar codes, and other form field elements to a PDF document.

XFA, or XML Forms Architecture, is a set of proprietary XML specifications for use with web forms.  In 2002 Adobe bought the company that created the XFA standard. XFA can be created and managed using the Adobe Experience Manager, previously known as Adobe LiveCycle Designer software. XFA forms can be saved internally in PDF files.  Unlike AcroForm, XFA forms can allow text reflow, so that text fields can resize to allow more content if needed. Dynamic XFA forms can also be interactive, as the form document is built using a series of templates. The form document can respond to the information that a user enters or selects and display a different set of form fields relevant to the user’s answer.

Many XFA documents remain in use, but most PDF documents use AcroForm instead. AcroForm are compatible with a much wider range of software applications, as well as with Acrobat itself. Note also that XFA was deprecated in the new PDF 2.0 format, and is not permitted for use with special ISO formats for PDF documents, including PDF/A, PDF/E, PDF/X, PDF/UA, and PDF/VT. Further, XFA is not supported on mobile devices.

Using the Forms Extension

When the Forms Extension is installed, it becomes a seamless part of the Adobe PDF Library and is loaded when the Library initializes.  The Adobe PDF Library is then able to manage and process form documents transparently to the user.  With the Forms Extension, both AcroForm and XFA documents are fully supported, and functions available in Adobe Acrobat for working with PDF AcroForm and XFA forms documents are provided with the Adobe PDF Library, and more:

  • Render XFA and AcroForm form documents
  • Convert XFA forms to AcroForm
  • Import data into XFA and AcroForm documents
  • Export data from these form documents to files
  • Flatten XFA and AcroForm documents into regular PDF documents, including generating appearances for bar codes (except for QR codes)