Results PDFs

What are Results PDFs?

Results PDFs provide a way to output your results in a portable, customizable format. You can have your own PDF form filled in with results, or you can use a built-in format, then send this to your clients, business partners, or archive them. You can create and maintain Results PDFs by using the "Results->Results PDFs" menu option.

Results PDFs can be used in:

  • Email Notifications
  • Single result views
  • Result Exports

There is no limit to the number of Results PDFs you can create or use.

To use the PDF features, you must have a Pro 2 or higher service level.

Types of Results PDFs

There are two main varieties of Results PDFs, "Built-In" and "User-Defined".

A "Built-In" Results PDF Table is provided for you and you can simply select it in Results PDFs selectors. You can also apply a Results View and Results Labels to it.

"User-Defined" Results PDFs are those that you have setup. It is not necessary to create a custom Results PDF if you would like to just use the supplied ones. However, a "User-Defined" Results PDF allows you to customize the base PDF file that is used as well as how the results should be filled in. You can get started setting up a "User-Defined" Results PDF at the "Results->Results PDFs" page. See the sections below for more information.

Create a new Results PDF

On the Results PDFs page, click the "New" button and enter a unique name in the "Results PDF Name" field. The name you enter here will be used to identify the Results PDF elsewhere.

Editing an existing Results PDF

On the Results PDFs page, use the "Results PDF" selector on the left to select a saved Results PDF. Modify any settings and click the "Save" button when you are finished. To delete the Results PDF, click the "Delete" button.

Configuring a Results PDF

Select the PDF you would like to populate in the "PDF File" selector. You can upload or delete your PDF files at the "User Menu->Files & Images" page. If you do not have a PDF file, you can download one based on your form by clicking the "Generate PDF" link. Custom PDFs should contain a fillable PDF form.

Once a PDF File is selected, it will be analyzed and the page will reload, showing the "Flatten" option and a list containing each item on your form in the "Item Mappings" section. When you are finished configuring the Results PDF, click the "Save" button.

A flattened PDF file will no longer be editable by users and will display as text, and any additional logic in the PDF file that would normally execute when the PDF is opened will be bypassed. This option is recommended if you want to create an archive of the result and/or you are distributing it to a client or customer as a receipt. Leaving the PDF unflattened will allow it to still be an editable form which is useful it you are forwarding it to someone else to be further manipulated, for example. Additionally, long text fields will still be scrollable and dropdown fields can still be opened in an unflattened PDF. With a flattened PDF, content that is too long to fit in a text field will get cut off, and dropdown fields will only show the selected choice.

In the "Item Mappings" section, map each PDF Field to a Form Item. This allows you to specify which form item should have its results inserted into which PDF field when the Results PDF is generated. Leave the Form Item selector empty for any PDF Fields you do not want populated. For PDF Files that were generated from your form, mappings should automatically be loaded. Since PDFs do not directly support Formsite's more advanced items, such as Matrix and Multi-Scale items, you can map individual Form Item sub-questions to different PDF Fields. Furthermore, because of how PDFs handle checkboxes, you can map individual choices between your form and PDF.

Custom PDF files

You are free to upload and use your own PDF file with the Results PDFs feature. In order to have your PDF populated with your form results, it will need to contain fillable form fields, which are special objects within the PDF. To get started, you can use the "Generate PDF" option to create a PDF based on your form, build one from scratch, or use an existing PDF form that you have already made. There are two main Adobe products you can use to create or edit your PDF file: Acrobat and LiveCycle Designer. You will need Acrobat Standard or Pro in order to edit the PDF, Acrobat Reader only allows you to view files. LiveCycle Designer is generally included in most recent Acrobat Pro suites.

Adobe Acrobat provides a simple way to edit your PDF and to view and manipulate your PDF form fields. You can edit text on your PDF, such as item question text, using the "Tools->Advanced Editing->TouchUp Text Tool". Use the "Forms->Add or Edit Fields..." menu option to open up the form editor in Acrobat. Once in this mode, you should see the listing of all form fields in your PDF which you can then edit, or you can delete or add new fields as you like. When you are done, click the "Close Form Editing" button and save the PDF

Adobe LiveCycle Designer adds many features and functionality that generally makes it easier to design your PDFs. If you are going to edit the generated PDF from Formsite, we recommend selecting the Import Option "Create an Interactive Form with a Flowable Layout". This will allow you to manipulate the text in the PDF as a normal object, otherwise it will essentially be embedded into the page background and not easily editable. When you are done, save the PDF.

Other PDF products are available and may be used to create or edit your PDF files. Unfortunately, due to the wide range of applications available, we cannot offer the same level of support for them. However, our Results PDF feature uses standard PDF functionality and no known incompatibilities exist for applications that follow the PDF specification.

Using a Results PDF

There are several ways to use Results PDFs. You can send the PDF as an email attachment by selecting it as the Email Format at the "Form Settings->Notifications" page. You can also export your results in a zip file of individual PDFs from the "Results->Export" page. You can then archive those results, or combine them together and print them out, for example.

Additional information

Results PDFs are form specific, and will be copied and deleted with your form. You are free to use the same PDF file in multiple Results PDFs for the same form or across different forms.

Checkbox items, and Matrix and Multi-Scale item sub-questions, should all be mapped separately to PDF Fields. For Radio Buttons, the PDF Field values should match your Form Item choice labels.

LiveCycle may modify your PDF file or the names of your PDF fields as part of its import process. At the "Results PDFs" page, we make our best effort to clean up the naming conventions it uses as well as to automatically load the mappings for generated PDF files. You can view the full PDF Field name by mousing over its name in the "Item Mappings" section.

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