Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Reader-enabling forms in Acrobat 9 Pro

Acrobat 8 Pro and 9 Pro enable you to "Reader Enable" a fillable form so that users of Adobe Reader can save the form locally after they've filled it in. However, Adobe also sells the Adobe LiveCycle Reader Extensions ES2 server software that Reader Enables forms. So, why would you need to purchase the server software if you have Acrobat 8 or 9 Pro?

The answer lies in the EULA (End User License Agreement). Here's an excerpt from the Acrobat 9 Pro EULA:

So, the way I understand it, is that you can either a) send a form to an unlimited number of users, as long as less than 500 are returned to you, or b) send a form to an audience of no more than 500 people, who can return an unlimited number of instances of the form. Beyond this, you need to purchase the LiveCycle Reader Extensions product.

I was asked about the scenario of sending a form to an unlimited number of users, who would only return the form in hard copy format, not electronically. I asked an Adobe Business Development Manager about this. His reply was "If the form is returned in any format -- even print -- then that triggers the 500 response limit."

There's a lot of confusion around this issue. My hope is that this clears things up a bit.


Matt Leotta said...

All this covers is how many forms can be filled in and saved locally using Adobe Reader. If they are filling them in and printing them to be returned in hard copy format, how can they limit that?

Keith Gilbert said...

@Matt: Unfortunately, the EULA mentions "any hardcopy representation" of the form, so the EULA even extends to paper copies.

Anonymous said...

Hi Gilbert, this is confusing. I interpret the EULA 15.12.3 to cover only the "unique Extended Document"
not other interactive forms that don't allow the end-user to save the document. This would be a form the end user fills out and prints to his or her pc/mac.

I think that's what Matt Leotta was referring too.


Keith Gilbert said...

Yes, the original post is all about "Reader Enabled" or "Extended" documents. There are no limitations to distributing a simple form that is NOT Reader-enabled. People can fill-in and print those types of forms as much as they want.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I have some questions here.
If my form was reader extended using Acrobat 9 in order to allow user to fill in and save the PDF form locally but the form is not distributed using Acrobat 9, is the 500 responses limitation apply to this scenario?

FYI, I will manually upload the form to server and allow user (> 500 users) to download the form fill in and send the form to me either by softcopy or hardcopy.

Hope to hear from you.

Thanks & Regards,

Keith Gilbert said...

@Suki: My understanding of the EULA is that it doesn't make any difference how the form is distributed. If you collect responses from more than 500 users, you are outside the EULA.

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