This document explains how to collect and manage PDF form data. (If you are looking for information on how to create a form from scratch, create a form from a scanned document, distribute a form or track a form, click the appropriate link above. To explore the common questions on forms, click the Forms FAQ link.)
When you distribute a form, Acrobat automatically creates a PDF Portfolio for collecting the data submitted by users. By default, this file is saved in the same folder as the original form and is named filename_responses.
Use this process to save all the entries in a PDF Portfolio response file to a spreadsheet or XML file.
You can move the answers on a PDF form to and from other file formats that preserve all the data in much less space than a full PDF.
In some workflow scenarios, individuals submit filled-in forms as data-only files rather than as complete PDF files. These files are not PDFs, but use another file format, such as FDF or XML. You can view the data submitted by an individual recipient in the context of the PDF by opening the original file and importing the information in the data file.
When you import data from another file into a PDF form, the imported data replaces any information that appeared previously in the individual form fields. However, if the imported data file contains one or more blank form fields, importing will not clear the original data.
In the Select File Containing Form Data dialog box, select a format in File Of Type corresponding to the data file you want to import. Then locate and select that file, and click 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 you import from a text file (.txt) must be formatted in tab-delimited rows that form columns.
You can save the information in a completed PDF form as a data file in another file format. Later, you can reuse the data to fill in the form again or another form with the same fields and field names.
If you want to compile data from forms that are not already in a data set, use the following process.
When returned forms are in a response file, the most efficient way to export the information into a spreadsheet is to use the Export Data button in the left navigation panel for the PDF Portfolio response file.
Use Tracker to manage the forms that you have distributed or received. Tracker allows you to view and edit the location of the response file, track which recipients have responded, add more recipients, email all recipients, and view the responses for a form.