Preparing PDF Forms with Populated or User Selection Data Fields

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PDF forms can be used for inspection and commissioning. PDF forms can be created by scanning paper copies of forms or by converting Microsoft Word or Excel files to a PDF. The application allows users to import PDF forms that can be completed based on data fields defined. In addition, the application allows users to define information to be automatically populated. To create PDF Form with fields in it user will need an Adobe Acrobat Standard (Version 9.0 or later).

Data fields on a form can use two types of automation (or a combination of both):

Automatically populated by the application
User selections based on a defined set of selection options

Automatically Populated Options

The application uses a set of tags to specify the information for the application to automatically populate in a data field as follows:

{inspector_name} - name of a person who is assigned to inspection as an inspector (Inspections only)
{inspection_location} - area inspected (Inspections only) presented as full path - e.g. with parent areas
{inspection_project} - project name, which is useful for forms that are used for multiple projects
{inspection_project_id} - project abbreviation (ID), which is useful for forms that are used for multiple projects
{inspection_template} - the name of the inspection template used to create the inspection
{item_name} - name of an item the inspection form is created for (only item name - no parent items)
{item_full_name} - name of an item the inspection/form is created (Name will include all parent items)
{item_guid} - GUID field of an item the inspection/form is created for
{item_pn} - Part Number (P/N) field of an item the inspection/form is created for
{item_sn} - Serial Number (S/N) field of an item the inspection/form is created for
{item_custom1} - Custom Field 1 for an item the inspection/form is created for that can be created for all custom fields (1-5) e.g. {item_custom3} for custom field 3
{today} - current date (Inspections and Commissioning forms)

User Selected Field Options

Defining data fields that present users with a set of options from which they can select a response uses the following set of tags:

__date__ - displays a calendar from which the user selects a date that display in the format of dd/mm/yyyy
__location__ - opens the Area Tree to allow users to select an area and populates the field with the full area name (including parents) upon selection
__contractor__ - displays the companies/contacts available in the project to allow users to select a company or contact
__team_member__ - displays all System Users to allow users to select users for assignment to the project
__item__ - opens the Items Tree to allow users to select and item and displays the item with parent items
__inspection_number__ - populates the field with the Inspection Number (e.g. inspection unique ID)

To set up a PDF form with automatically populate or user selected data fields:

1.Convert an existing form into a PDF and save it to your local drive.
2.Open the PDF file in Adobe Acrobat and from click Forms and select Add or Edit Fields.
Note: If the PDF file does not have fields defined, a dialog-box opens and asks if you want Acrobat to detect fields. It is recommended to use this feature, and click Yes. Acrobat detects fields and highlights them on the PDF.
3.To edit a field, select the field and click Edit. The field becomes editable.
4.From the Tasks drop-down list, select the appropriate option and provide the required information.
5.To create a new field, from the Tasks drop-down list, select Add New Field and provide the required information.
6.When all fields are complete, save the PDF.

Tips for Creating Populated or User Selection Data Fields on a PDF Form

User Selection Tags in Field Names - If using Automation tags (those, which start with two underscore characters), insert the tag AFTER the field name. Tags will be omitted when information is exported in Commissioning module. Example: My Field Name __date__

Single-Choice Fields (Radio-Button) - When Adobe Acrobat detects fields, it usually recognizes single-choice fields as checkboxes (e.g. as multiple-choice). In this case, remove the field and create a new one as a radio button.

Creating Checklists Using Multiple Radio Buttons - It is usually quite time-consuming to create checklists if user manually has to create radio-button based checklist. To minimize the time required:

Field names - The best way to name radio-button fields is to use a full sentence (checklist line question) for it. This clarifies the checklist lines. This is also inline with the use of Lilier forms on the iPad.
Process - When you need to create three-way radio-button group, create one radio-button (e.g. “Yes” option) for ALL questions on a page first. When you create them, make sure to populate the proper field name in the Properties popup for each created radio-button. Then select ALL created radio-buttons (entire vertical line), press the Shift and CTRL buttons and drag-n-drop the entire selection to the next option position (e.g. “No”).

NOTE: The CTRL button allow to create a copy with the “drag” and Shift allow to drag straight horizontally. While they are all selected, open the Properties popup and on the Options tab change the button value from “Yes” to “No” to apply the change to the second vertical line of buttons. Repeat the same process for the third vertical line (e.g. “n/a”). It is useful to keep the Properties popup open to control field names and values for creating fields.

General Field Names - Field names are eventually exported. Name fields as succinctly as possible while retaining the ability to identify the field from the name.

Naming Checkboxes or Radio Buttons in Checklists – Provide meaningful names so the form will be inline with Linier form functionality for the iPad.

Creating Multiple Forms with Similar Content – Forms for the same project or forms for the same function can have common content. To minimize the time to create the form, copy and paste common content from existing forms.


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