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Collect and manage PDF form data

  1. Acrobat User Guide
  2. Introduction to Acrobat
    1. Access Acrobat from desktop, mobile, web
    2. What's new in Acrobat
    3. Keyboard shortcuts
    4. System Requirements
  3. Workspace
    1. Workspace basics
    2. Opening and viewing PDFs
      1. Opening PDFs
      2. Navigating PDF pages
      3. Viewing PDF preferences
      4. Adjusting PDF views
      5. Enable thumbnail preview of PDFs
      6. Display PDF in browser
    3. Working with online storage accounts
      1. Access files from Box
      2. Access files from Dropbox
      3. Access files from OneDrive
      4. Access files from SharePoint
      5. Access files from Google Drive
    4. Acrobat and macOS
    5. Acrobat notifications
    6. Grids, guides, and measurements in PDFs
    7. Asian, Cyrillic, and right-to-left text in PDFs
  4. Creating PDFs
    1. Overview of PDF creation
    2. Create PDFs with Acrobat
    3. Create PDFs with PDFMaker
    4. Using the Adobe PDF printer
    5. Converting web pages to PDF
    6. Creating PDFs with Acrobat Distiller
    7. Adobe PDF conversion settings
    8. PDF fonts
  5. Editing PDFs
    1. Edit text in PDFs
    2. Edit images or objects in a PDF
    3. Rotate, move, delete, and renumber PDF pages
    4. Edit scanned PDFs
    5. Enhance document photos captured using a mobile camera
    6. Optimizing PDFs
    7. PDF properties and metadata
    8. Links and attachments in PDFs
    9. PDF layers
    10. Page thumbnails and bookmarks in PDFs
    11. Action Wizard (Acrobat Pro)
    12. PDFs converted to web pages
    13. Setting up PDFs for a presentation
    14. PDF articles
    15. Geospatial PDFs
    16. Applying actions and scripts to PDFs
    17. Change the default font for adding text
    18. Delete pages from a PDF
  6. Scan and OCR
    1. Scan documents to PDF
    2. Enhance document photos
    3. Troubleshoot scanner issues when scanning using Acrobat
  7. Forms
    1. PDF forms basics
    2. Create a form from scratch in Acrobat
    3. Create and distribute PDF forms
    4. Fill in PDF forms
    5. PDF form field properties
    6. Fill and sign PDF forms
    7. Setting action buttons in PDF forms
    8. Publishing interactive PDF web forms
    9. PDF form field basics
    10. PDF barcode form fields
    11. Collect and manage PDF form data
    12. About forms tracker
    13. PDF forms help
    14. Send PDF forms to recipients using email or an internal server
  8. Combining files
    1. Combine or merge files into single PDF
    2. Rotate, move, delete, and renumber PDF pages
    3. Add headers, footers, and Bates numbering to PDFs
    4. Crop PDF pages
    5. Add watermarks to PDFs
    6. Add backgrounds to PDFs
    7. Working with component files in a PDF Portfolio
    8. Publish and share PDF Portfolios
    9. Overview of PDF Portfolios
    10. Create and customize PDF Portfolios
  9. Sharing, reviews, and commenting
    1. Share and track PDFs online
    2. Mark up text with edits
    3. Preparing for a PDF review
    4. Starting a PDF review
    5. Hosting shared reviews on SharePoint or Office 365 sites
    6. Participating in a PDF review
    7. Add comments to PDFs
    8. Adding a stamp to a PDF
    9. Approval workflows
    10. Managing comments | view, reply, print
    11. Importing and exporting comments
    12. Tracking and managing PDF reviews
  10. Saving and exporting PDFs
    1. Saving PDFs
    2. Convert PDF to Word
    3. Convert PDF to JPG
    4. Convert or export PDFs to other file formats
    5. File format options for PDF export
    6. Reusing PDF content
  11. Security
    1. Enhanced security setting for PDFs
    2. Securing PDFs with passwords
    3. Manage Digital IDs
    4. Securing PDFs with certificates
    5. Opening secured PDFs
    6. Removing sensitive content from PDFs
    7. Setting up security policies for PDFs
    8. Choosing a security method for PDFs
    9. Security warnings when a PDF opens
    10. Securing PDFs with Adobe Experience Manager
    11. Protected View feature for PDFs
    12. Overview of security in Acrobat and PDFs
    13. JavaScripts in PDFs as a security risk
    14. Attachments as security risks
    15. Allow or block links in PDFs
  12. Electronic signatures
    1. Sign PDF documents
    2. Capture your signature on mobile and use it everywhere
    3. Send documents for e-signatures
    4. About certificate signatures
    5. Certificate-based signatures
    6. Validating digital signatures
    7. Adobe Approved Trust List
    8. Manage trusted identities
  13. Printing
    1. Basic PDF printing tasks
    2. Print Booklets and PDF Portfolios
    3. Advanced PDF print settings
    4. Print to PDF
    5. Printing color PDFs (Acrobat Pro)
    6. Printing PDFs in custom sizes
  14. Accessibility, tags, and reflow
    1. Create and verify PDF accessibility
    2. Accessibility features in PDFs
    3. Reading Order tool for PDFs
    4. Reading PDFs with reflow and accessibility features
    5. Edit document structure with the Content and Tags panels
    6. Creating accessible PDFs
  15. Searching and indexing
    1. Creating PDF indexes
    2. Searching PDFs
  16. Multimedia and 3D models
    1. Add audio, video, and interactive objects to PDFs
    2. Adding 3D models to PDFs (Acrobat Pro)
    3. Displaying 3D models in PDFs
    4. Interacting with 3D models
    5. Measuring 3D objects in PDFs
    6. Setting 3D views in PDFs
    7. Enable 3D content in PDF
    8. Adding multimedia to PDFs
    9. Commenting on 3D designs in PDFs
    10. Playing video, audio, and multimedia formats in PDFs
    11. Add comments to videos
  17. Print production tools (Acrobat Pro)
    1. Print production tools overview
    2. Printer marks and hairlines
    3. Previewing output
    4. Transparency flattening
    5. Color conversion and ink management
    6. Trapping color
  18. Preflight (Acrobat Pro)
    1. PDF/X-, PDF/A-, and PDF/E-compliant files
    2. Preflight profiles
    3. Advanced preflight inspections
    4. Preflight reports
    5. Viewing preflight results, objects, and resources
    6. Output intents in PDFs
    7. Correcting problem areas with the Preflight tool
    8. Automating document analysis with droplets or preflight actions
    9. Analyzing documents with the Preflight tool
    10. Additional checks in the Preflight tool
    11. Preflight libraries
    12. Preflight variables
  19. Color management
    1. Keeping colors consistent
    2. Color settings
    3. Color-managing documents
    4. Working with color profiles
    5. Understanding color management

Before you begin

We're rolling out a new, more intuitive product experience. If the screen shown here doesn’t match your product interface, select help for your current experience.

In the new experience, the tools appear on the left side of the screen.

When you share a form, Acrobat auto-generates a PDF Portfolio to collect user-submitted data. By default, it saves this file in the same folder as the original form with the name 'filename_responses'. The topics below explain how to:

Collect user data

  1. After a user submits a form, open the returned form.
  2. In the Add Completed Form To Responses File dialog box, select one of the following options:

    • Add to an existing responses file: This option compiles data in the response file initially created when you distributed the form using the Distribute form wizard. If needed, click 'Browse' to find the response file.

    • Create a new responses file: This option generates a new response file, using the name and location you specify.

  3. Select OK.

    It opens the response file. Each returned form added to the response file shows as a component file of a PDF Portfolio.

Add user data to an existing response file

  1. Open the response file in Acrobat.

  2. In the left pane, select Add.

  3. In the Add Returned Forms dialog box, select Add file.

  4. Locate and select the returned forms, then select Open.

  5. Repeat the previous step to incorporate any returned forms from other folders. When done, select Ok.

Once completed, each added PDF form appears as a component file of the PDF Portfolio.

Export user data from a response file

Follow these steps to save all the entries in a PDF Portfolio response file to a spreadsheet or XML file.

  1. Open the response file in Acrobat and select the data you want to export.

  2. From the All tools menu, select Export a PDF, select a format, and then select Convert to (format selected).

  3. In the Select Folder To Save File dialog box, specify a name, location, and file format (CSV or XML) for the form data, and then select Save.

Manage form data files

You can transfer the responses on a PDF form to and from other file formats that store all the data in less space than a full PDF.

Import form data

Sometimes, individuals submit filled-in forms as data-only files rather than complete PDF files. These files aren't PDFs, but use another file format, such as FDF or XML. You can see the data submitted by an individual recipient in the context of the PDF by opening the original file and importing the information from the data file.

  1. In Acrobat, open the PDF form you want to import data into.

  2. From the All tools menu, select Prepare a form

  3. From the Prepare a form panel on the left:

    • Select  > Clear form.
    • Select  > Import data.

    Importing data from another file into a PDF form replaces any existing information in the individual form fields. However, if the imported data file contains one or more blank form fields, the original data won't be cleared upon import.

  4. In the Select File Containing Form Data dialog box, select a format in File of Type that corresponds to the data file you want to import. Then locate and select that file, and select Open.


    Some formats are available only for specific types of PDF forms, depending on the application used to create the form, such as Acrobat or Designer ES2. Data imported from a text file (.txt) must be formatted in tab-delimited rows that form columns.

Export file data

To save the information in a completed PDF form as a data file in another format, follow these steps:

  1. In Acrobat, open the completed form file.

  2. From the All tools menu, select Prepare a form and then from the left panel that opens, select Export data.

  3. In the Export Form Data As dialog box, select the format (FDF, XFDF, XML, or TXT) in which you want to save the form data. Then select a location and filename, and select Save.


    Some file formats are available only for specific types of PDF forms, depending on how the form was created.

Merge exported data files to a spreadsheet

To compile data from forms that aren't already in a data set, follow these steps:

  1. From the Prepare a form panel, select  > Merge data files into spreadsheet.

  2. In the Export Data From Multiple Forms dialog box, select Add Files.

    Merge exported data files to a spreadsheet

  3. In the Select file Containing Form Data dialog box, select a file format option in the File Of Type option (Acrobat Form Data Files or All Files). Then find and select the form files you want to merge into the spreadsheet, and select Open.

  4. Repeat the previous step to add form data files from other locations as needed.

  5. Select Export, then choose a folder and filename for the spreadsheet, and select Save.

  6. In the Export Progress dialog box, select View file now to open the spreadsheet file, or select Close dialog to return to Acrobat.


If returned forms are in a response file, use the Export Data button in the left navigation panel for the PDF Portfolio response file to export the information into a spreadsheet more efficiently.

Use forms tracker

To manage your distributed or received forms, use Tracker. It lets you track responses, edit response file location, add more recipients, email all recipients, and view form responses.

  1. Select Edit a PDF > Form Options > Track or View > Tracker.

  2. In the left navigation panel, expand Forms.

  3. Choose a form and take one of the following actions:

    • For viewing all responses, select View responses.

    • To change the response file location, under Responses File Location, select Edit file location.

    • To access the original form, select Open original form.

    • To send the form to more recipients, select Add recipients.


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The Creativity Conference

Oct 14–16 Miami Beach and online

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The Creativity Conference

Oct 14–16 Miami Beach and online