PDF documents are commonly used for read-only distribution of information. Yet Adobe’s Acrobat tools are capable of creating powerfully interactive PDF documents, with applications for things like form completion embedded within the PDF files. The application may facilitate entering data, processing it or sending it to the server.
A PDF file can have several layers:
- Presentation layer – for transposing highly professional document layout independent of the application in which it was created.
- XML transport and schemas – for transferring data between system and user or between systems.
- Programming logic – for creating verification features (i.e., in forms) that link with applications etc.
All layers are packaged in one file, and include the possibility of adding e-mail style attachments, instructions for the Adobe Reader client as to what the user is authorised to do as well as other metadata. The whole package may be signed and made fully secure using standard encryption and signing techniques.
Uses of such features include:
- Publishing a company's internal documents
- Commenting and annotating
- Intelligent forms
- Scanning, OCR and document archiving
- Electronic filing and information security