FDFMerge and FDFMerge Lite – Introduction
FDFMerge Lite and FDFMerge fill data into PDF forms automatically or on the fly. You can deliver live forms or “flattened” forms so field data cannot be changed. Filled in forms can be opened in Adobe® Reader®. You can also fill in high volumes of PDF forms on your server.
Note: This documentation provides instructions for both FDFMerge Lite and FDFMerge. Content that is specific to FDFMerge is followed by the notation: (FDFMerge only).
FDFMerge Lite and FDFMerge are server-based, command-line applications that reliably combine PDF forms with form data to create a new populated PDF form.
In addition to combining forms and data, FDFMerge Lite and FDFMerge can:
- Flatten forms — remove the active field and stamp the field contents directly onto the PDF document
- Encrypt files — apply standard Acrobat security settings at 40- or 128-bit strength
- Process XML — use XFDF in addition to FDF files
- Process multiple forms using one FDF file
Addition features in FDFMerge only; a FormInfo file can be used to provide for:
- Partial form flattening — you can flatten the entire form, or specify individual fields to flatten
- Additional support for fonts — specify font information for form fields
- Image stamping — you can stamp an image onto a form field
- Format text fields — set font, point size, alignment, color, and more
- Advanced typography – manage character spacing, word spacing and line leading
- RGB and CMYK Color
FDFMerge Lite and FDFMerge can be used within a world wide web interface with CGI scripts. For your reference we have included a sample CGI script in Sample Perl CGI Script. CGI scripts are discussed in more detail in Automating FDFMerge Lite or Automating FDFMerge.
FDFMerge Lite and FDFMerge use the following components:
- PDF forms — PDF documents with form fields
- FDF files — Text files which contain form data
- XFDF files — XML files which contain form data
- FormInfo files — Text files which contain information about customizing form fields (FDFMerge only)
PDF forms are interactive documents you create by inserting form fields into existing PDF documents. FDFMerge Lite and FDFMerge support the following form fields:
- Radio buttons
- Check boxes
- Combo boxes
- Text boxes
- List boxes
- Multi-line text boxes
Note: FDFMerge Lite and FDFMerge do not support Signature fields.
FDFMerge Lite and FDFMerge identify the form fields by the names you assign to each. Refer to Acrobat’s on-line help for information on creating and using forms.
An FDF file is a text file that contains data for a PDF Form. Data is associated with each form field by the name you assigned. FDFMerge Lite and FDFMerge can combine this data with a PDF form to fill in the form fields with the FDF data.
An XFDF file is an XML version of an FDF file. Data and form field names are embedded in XML tags.
FormInfo files allow you to specify individual fields to flatten, and to customize the properties of those fields.
When FDFMerge Lite or FDFMerge merges a PDF form with an FDF file, it places the data from the FDF file into the form fields on the PDF form. Each form field on the form has an associated value in the FDF file, identified by the name of the field. The form fields remain “live” fields, their values can be changed, and form actions taken.
When FDFMerge Lite or FDFMerge flattens a form field, it removes the field and places the value of the field directly into the document. This is called stamping the information into the document. The information becomes a static part of the document.
How FDFMerge Lite and FDFMerge process a document
FDFMerge Lite and FDFMerge can merge and/or flatten a document in several ways. FDFMerge Lite and FDFMerge can:
- Merge a form with an FDF file, leaving it a live form
- Merge a form with an FDF file, and flatten the entire form at the same time
- Flatten an already filled-out form. You do not need to use an FDF file for this
- Merge a form with an FDF file, and flatten and customize some or all of the fields, using a FormInfo file to specify which fields (FDFMerge only)
- Flatten and customize some or all of the fields of an already filled-out form, using a FormInfo file. You do not need to use an FDF file for this (FDFMerge only)
This User Guide uses certain styles of text to indicate different information throughout the documentation. The following is a description of these styles:
- Command Line user input:
$fdfmergeliteapp -p -l <logfile.txt>
$fdfmergeapp -p -l <logfile.txt>
- Cross Reference to other locations in the documentation: Introduction to FDFMerge. Click the colored text to go to the referenced link.
- References to web sites for information: www.appligent.com. Click the colored text to open a browser to the website.
- Code snippets: #!/usr/local/bin
- Content that is specific to FDFMerge is followed by the notation: (FDFMerge only).
Note: You may see some paragraphs that start with “Note:”. These paragraphs are special notes relating to the subject matter where they are located.