Acrobat forms are basically a series of extensions for PDF used by Acrobat. The Acrobat form is like a layer on top of a PDF file that contains different types of fields and buttons that are useful on the form. When the user fills in the form fields, a “submit” button is clicked in order to place the data from the form to a server. The data can be compatible with HTML or FDF (Forms Data Format), but this is decided upon when the form fields are created.
When information from a form is submitted to a server, the Forms Data Format is used. A response is received and it is brought into a form. FDF can be used to produce stand-alone files containing forms data. The files can be easily stored or electronically transmitted through e-mail. They can be imported back into the corresponding form if required.
The document structure can also be controlled with the use of FDF. Instructions within FDF are used to determine which Acrobat forms will be used when a new PDF document is produced. This is useful for producing complex applications.
PDF forms are much better than paper ones because of their flexibility. Existing forms can be converted into PDF forms or new forms can be created with Acrobat. PDF forms may contain controls that allow automatic calculations, such as addition and multiplication to be performed.
Forms can be created that have fields that change dynamically as a result of the information entered into them. A new set of fields may be generated based on the information entered into the original set of fields. For example, an online order form may ask the user to choose a product by selecting it from a drop down list or clicking a radio button. This could bring up another set of form fields unique to whichever product was selected, providing more detailed information about the specific product.