PDF Form Support

Is it possible to create a PDF that contains form elements with PlanetPress Connect?
The PDF would contain dynamic information (from the input data). There would be some static form elements that would always be there and others that would only be there if specific conditions are met.

Hello Uomo,

At the moment there is no way to produce a PDF with form elements in Connect.


Hi Uomo.

This has to stay between you and me, but there is a way. But it’s tricky. And it involves PostScript, PlanetPress 7 and scripting in Workflow.

Here’s the rundown.

  1. Create a new PlanetPress 7 document. The pages in document will be used as overlays to go over the PDF created with Connect.
  2. Using PostScript passthroughs, create the form elements you need. I believe you can find sample code in the legacy support forums. Dynamic elements can be controlled with either Workflow metadata or direct data extractions.
  3. Use the Create PDF action in Workflow to convert the PlanetPress document to a PDF (the “form PDF”).
  4. In Workflow, create the PDF using the Connect tasks (the “content PDF”).
  5. Add a scripting task after the Connect tasks and use the PDF API to stamp the pages from the form PDF onto the pages of the content PDF.

Obviously, the “supportability” of this process is dubious. While no undocumented feature or side-effect is used, it is a bit convoluted. But it should work.

Obviously again, since a Workflow process can only work on one file at a time, either the form or the content PDF will have to be stored at a retrievable, temporary location. This exercise is left to the reader.

This message will self-destruct to protect the innocents. Your mileage may vary.

Has there been any change where we can create and output a PDF via OL Connect that contains Fill-able PDF form field and check boxes? Sort of like COTG, except with a standalone PDF file?

Nope. Demand for fillable PDFs has steadily gone down over the years, with HTML forms becoming ubiquitous.