Importing and Exporting Form Data

A very simple but very powerful feature of Acrobat is the ability to silently import/export data with out user intervention. To do this you will have to certify the form, the end user will need to add the person who has certified the pdf in to his list of trusted identities and also give permission to execute high privilege java scripts.
The following document explain the procedure in detail,and also has a sample pdf, xdp and test data file as file attachments.
Click here to view the document


28 responses to “Importing and Exporting Form Data

  1. Dear Girish,
    thank you for your post, it was very useful, I have another regarding it, though. In your file, you’re saying that you added some user rights with the Reader Extension server. I thought that in order to enable users to export/import data using READER, you either need to add user rights OR certify the document. Was I wrong? Is there a way to use the export/import data feature in READER without the need to use Reader Extensions?
    Thanx in advance

  2. When you want to import/export data from a PDF file opened using reader without any user intervention , you would need to certify the PDF .I do not think it is required to use ReaderExtensions
    let me know if you have any more questions

  3. Girish,

    You said: “opened using reader without any user intervention , you would need to certify the PDF .I do not think it is required to use ReaderExtensions”. But what you mean about certify a PDF? I thought this was reader enabling it. But if not, how a form can be certified? We only need to digital sign it?

    thank you

  4. Hi,

    I use the export/import functionnality in a pdf form with Acrobat 9 Pro Extend (trial version for the moment) but it didn’t work yet in Adobe Reader (it works in Adobe Acrobat). I extend the features for Reader in the menu option “Advanced/Extend features in Adobe Reader…”, is it the right way to do this ? Is there another way to extend the features for Reader ?

    Thanks in advance

  5. Hi Girish – if I understand this correctly, you would need to certify the PDF as you describe, but you also have to have a LiveCycle server for this. Is there no way to use Acrobat Pro 9 extended and Livecycle Designer 8.2 to do this?

    • Girish Bedekar

      Hi Rob
      You can use Acrobat to certify the PDF and Livecycle Designer to create the form.
      let me know if you have any more questions

  6. Thanks Girish
    This part I understand, but it’s when we have created the form, and followed your instructions, they work fine in Acrobat, but not in the Reader. You said in the earlier post that the certificate needs to reside on a server – we don’t have one, so is this why we cannot get the form to import data in Reader?

    • Girish Bedekar

      Hi Rob
      OK you have the certified form, it works fine in Acrobat. For the same form to work in Reader you will need to apply usage Rights. You can apply usage rights from Acrobat (Advanced | Extend Features in Adobe Reader), but I do not think this will work for this scenario. You will need to Apply usage rights using Reader Extensions Server, which is part of LiveCycle ES .
      Let me know

  7. Thanks

    Well, we always apply usage rights through Acrobat, which is what I did, so then this will not work in my environment, and for anyone without the full Livecycle ES environment (latest quote in the £millions) this will not work. Real pity that – it looked like a fantastic solution!

    • Girish Bedekar

      Hi Rob
      You can take a look at LiveCycle Developer Express . May be that can be a solution for you
      let me know

  8. Hi Girish,

    As a requirement we need to generate an XML file from the Adobe form filled up.We do have Livecycle designer 7 and Acrobat professional on the system…what exactly are the steps we need to follow


  9. I’m creating a form in Adobe LiveCycle Designer ES 8.2.1 with a button to export the data to an XML file. How do I tell it to export the digital signatures along with the other data?

    • Girish Bedekar

      when you put the signature field on the form, make sure you are signing the data only, not the entire pdf

      • Girish, thank you for your reply.
        The form has multiple signatures . How do I make sure the signatures are for the data only and not the entire pdf? The exported XML data contains all the data from all the fields but the signatures. The signature data is missing.

        Thanks for your help.

  10. I have developed a from for use by my students (they have only reader. I want them to export the entered data as a xml file. The export command does not work in reader, so they have to pretend they are send it as an email and select internet email option. Is this the only way to do this?

  11. Dear Girish,
    last year, I designed a pdf form in LiveCycle and saved the form by Acrobat 9 pro. I gave user rights. so using Reader 8.3 the users could save the form also export the data in XML.
    I have upgraded the Reader on my laptop to Reader X. I can no more export data. What am I missing?
    (the form does not have any digital signature and the user is supposed to use the export data option to manually export data.)

    Thank you for your help.

  12. Dear Girish,
    I created a form using Lifecycle Designer ES 8.2, Adobe User Rights is enabled, and the form is distributed via using Adobe Pro v9 Form Tracker. I am receiving completed returned forms OK in Adobe, but when I export data to xml and import into Excel, each form is being duplicated multi times as seperate rows in excel (as many as 30 times!). These columns have headings like “ns1:APIVersion” or “style” or ns1:spec”, and the data under these heading is different in each dupulicate row (data for my fields is the same across all rows for each form represented).

    I have created and used many Adobe forms and not come across this before. Any idea what’s going on?
    Thxs, Leonie

  13. Hi Girish,
    Long time no see!

    I am having a problem with Acrobat X — it doesn’t export all fields when using the merge to spreadsheet function. Acrobat 9 has no problem with this. In particular, radio button data on several of my forms doesn’t export using Acrobat X.

    I design all my forms with LiveCycle Designer ES 8.2 and use two computers, one with WinXP/Acrobat9 and the other with Win7/AcrobatX.

    Thanks for any assistance!

  14. Hi Girish,

    Does Livecycle Express still exist?

    1) The security certificate seems to have expired
    2) When I try and start an instance it comes back with Instance Failed.

    • Girish Bedekar

      I am not sure if it exists, most likely no

    • Girish Bedekar

      you can download trial version of Livecycle from Adobe web site
      Let me know if you need any help on that

      • Thank you so much for your blog, it has helped me immensly, I have a relatively simple question.
        I have set up my form to export my data as xml (which is fine as I am then populating into an Excel spreadsheet)
        what i would like to know is if I can autoname the .xml file based off of a current field in my form?
        For example:“C:\Documents and Settings\RDU8608\Desktop\TEST.xml”, 0);
        can I change the “TEST.xml” to be autopopulated by another field (i.e. “PracticeName.rawvalue”)
        or will I have to manually change the file name each time I receive a new document? I know I can leave it alone“”, 0); and can save it that way just wanted to know if I could make it easier on the end user based on previous textfields.
        Thank you so much for any help in this.

      • Girish Bedekar

        yes, I think you can construct the file name dynamically

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