It’s Time to Create Online Forms and Replace Your PDFs
We’ve all used PDFs, and in many contexts they make perfect sense. Though originally created to preserve a document’s data and presentation in a platform-neutral way, the PDF has evolved into something more complicated, less usable, and less useful for many purposes. It can be used to create online forms, but it wasn’t made for this purpose, and isn’t ideal.
The PDF can be great for making documents for people to download and print, but it’s not a good solution if you want to create forms. Forms that can’t be filled in online have to be printed out and filled in by hand, which doesn’t save time or effort and is more prone to errors. PDFs that can be filled in online have their share of problems, and a lot of people don’t like them.
Here are some of the problems associated with PDF forms, how to avoid them, and how to create online forms that get the job done and are user-friendly.
Problem: PDFs May Not Look Right Depending on the Browser
Some browsers use integrated PDF viewers, which sounds tremendously handy. However, you can’t be 100% certain that your PDF forms will look the way you want them to in every browser your forms’ end-users may choose. While browsers with integrated PDF viewers can be made to use plugins so that they view PDFs the way other browsers do, the average user may not know this, and may find switching to a plugin to be too much trouble to bother with.
Problem: You Can’t Be Sure Your End-User Can Use Your PDF Forms
So you’ve looked at your PDF forms in every browser you can think of, but even if they look fine, your problems may not be over. Depending on which version of Adobe Reader your end-user has, your form may or may not work. One sure way to infuriate end-users is by having them fill out a form only to get a message upon submission that they can’t save the form unless they have Adobe Acrobat in its full form.
Problem: PDFs Make Your Web Pages Less Usable
While PDFs are still handy for distributing documents that should be printed out, using PDFs for content or forms online gives your page users an inferior experience. HTML pages and HTML forms are much better in terms of usability, readability, and compatibility. If you have the choice of creating HTML online forms or PDF online forms, HTML forms are clearly preferable. In some cases, PDF forms are problematic enough to offer no real advantage over paper.
Solution: Flexible Forms That Integrate Easily
There was a time when if you wanted to create online forms you had to start an IT project, hire a programmer, or know HTML. That was one reason why people created PDF forms. Now, however, you do not have to hire (or be) an HTML Form Builder or programmer, so there’s really no reason to rely on PDF forms anymore. PerfectForms lets the non-programmer create online forms that are easy to use and that can be integrated into workflows.
Create Outstandingly Useful Forms Without Programming
PDF forms may have been useful at one time, but their limitations make them far from ideal. When you use a solution like PerfectForms, you use a visual “canvas” interface to drag and drop form elements into place exactly where you want them. You can make them look exactly like your paper forms if you want, so people intuitively know how to fill them in. You don’t have to worry about end-users having the right browser plugin or the right version of Adobe Acrobat, and printing out and filling in forms by hand becomes a thing of the past.
PerfectForms can send and receive data from third party systems through an API or web services, without programming. It also has built-in Form Creating Software for Salesforce, SAP, and Google Spreadsheets, and comes with a Connection Agent that allows you to integrate your forms with other entities, like databases. If it’s time for your organization to ditch the PDFs and create Electronic Survey Forms and workflow solutions that’s flexible and customizable to your exact specifications, we encourage you to drop us a line at any time. We’re more than happy to talk to you and answer any questions you may have.