Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Go Green with Forms with Adobe Acrobat 9

In my previous post I wrote about the new Portfolio feature in Adobe Acrobat that is bound to change the way you think about sending PDF files. In this blog installment I want to talk to you about how both business and school organizations can cut down on their use of paper and reduce their carbon footprint by using the Forms feature in Adobe Acrobat 9. If you work in any organization you know that there is a form for just about everything and anything that takes place in your office. Forms for travel Expenses, Sick Days, Vacation Requisitions, Tuition Reimbursement and the list goes on and on. I'm sure you know the drill- get the paper form fill it out and send it via inter-office mail. Or in some instances the form may be posted on your organization's website but you still need to print it out and fill it in and send it to the appropriate office. That seems like a lot of work, and if you multiply that by how many employees are in your organization that sure is a lot time and paper that is being used in the process.

Using the Forms feature in Adobe Acrobat 9 will not only make your organizations form flow more efficient-but can significantly reduce the amount of paper and time that it takes to complete and route forms. If you haven't looked at the Forms feature in Adobe Acrobat 9, I suggest that you do. You will find it very easy to create forms from your existing paper based forms, electronic forms that you may have in Word, or from a Acrobat PDF template. If your existing form is paper based you can scan it into Adobe Acrobat 9 and have Acrobat convert it to a fill in blank form for completing with Acrobat Reader. The process is very quick and within minutes you will have an electronic form ready to be filled in. If you are not familiar with the process you can use the Forms Wizard to walk you through the process for creating your form. Within minutes you will have your form ready to go. Once your form is complete the next decision you need to make is how are you planning to distribute the form? You have several options-you can distribute it on Acrobat.com, as an email, and to an internal server. Using the free Acrobat.com website makes it a cinch to distribute forms and all of the heavy lifting for distributing the forms is done within Adobe Acrobat 9. You can get a free Acrobat.com account and use it to distribute your forms-however, bear in mind that if you are dealing with information of a confidential nature you should consider hosting the form on your internal server. Once the form is distributed you can email it to select individuals or have it available on your website for completing on line with Acrobat Reader 9. The real beauty of using Adobe Acrobat 9 Extended is the ability to use the Track Forms feature to view the Responses. When you initiate this feature Adobe Acrobat 9 will go out to your server or to Acrobat.com and pull in all the completed forms. If you have never used this feature it is a very fast and efficient way to collect your information without the need to print out forms on paper. This can quickly change your entire work flow and help your organization move towards moving forms in a paper-less fashion. Now imagine the cost saving and just how good you will feel that you are doing something good for the environment!. If you want to try it out you can certainly download Acrobat 9 Trial version from the Adobe web site.

To see what it is like to fill out the form, you can complete this Contact Form and send it to me with the Adobe Acrobat Reader. To download the Contact Form click on the Menu in the Thumbnail below and download the form. After filling in the Form just click on the Submit Form button which is located on the top of the Acrobat Reader.



 
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