For people looking to collect electronic forms into a place where they can be shared over the Internet, SharePoint 2010 provides a strong platform.
Today, when most people think of SharePoint they think of a place to share files on the web or Intranet, but the product has evolved rapidly. The new 2010 version sports a design tool that makes it easy to create powerful workflows.
The problem is, how do you collect data into SharePoint?
At FormRouter we see SharePoint as one more database available for people to collect electronic forms into. Because of this we have extended to power of FormRouter to dynamically write filled PDF Forms and data directly to lists in secure SharePoint sites.
And yes, the forms can be filled out with the Free Adobe Reader.
Once forms are collected securely into SharePoint the administrator can provide password protected access to the lists of data and full PDF forms.
This makes it easy for end users to search and sort data on any field -- then, open the filled PDF form directly from SharePoint to see the data in context.
Of course this can all be set up without programming.
Better yet, Microsoft now offers SharePoint hosting in the cloud as a service, so you don’t need to set up any servers.
The Advanced Acroform Toolset is a toolbar for Adobe Acrobat that includes tools that allow you to build better forms.
In addition, the tool allows the creation of Dropdownbox fields that can be set to required. Currently Acrobat does not facilitate the creation of Dropdownbox fields with blank values.
Also included with the tool is a Calendar Picker field. This helps you create a pop-up calendar for your date fields.
Paper forms bog down organizations that need to compete in a global economy. It is estimated that 80% of all organization documents are paper forms. This represents massive inefficiency and is an environmental disaster.
To go paperless, people need to connect the tools they already own and know how to use to create and capture form responses. PDF forms and Excel spreadsheets are perfect examples.
Benefits to online PDF forms:
- PDF forms look just like their paper counterparts
- PDF forms are easy to make
- Electronic data collection saves time, money and is more accurate
- Online forms are a green technology (see greenpdf.com)
PDF forms are ideal for marketing response, customer requests, human resource management, broker/dealer requests, inspections, certifications, reporting and much more. It would be hard to find an organization that could not benefit from online PDF forms.
Current status of PDF forms:
- PDF forms are everywhere on the Internet (this is good)
- Most PDF forms are printed and filled out by hand (this is bad)
The better PDF form experience:
- Make PDF forms fillable online
- Make PDF forms submit securely to a database (like excel)
- Email a copy of the submitted PDF form back to the submitter
Why are people not creating fillable online PDF forms now?
- 7 out of 10 people who make PDFs don’t know how to make forms
- Technology to collect PDF forms data is too complex and expensive
How FormRouter is attacking this problem:
GreenPDF.com: a worldwide awareness campaign designed to reduce carbon emissions by promoting electronic PDF documents.