Checking the Save PDF option for a form/flow saves a a PDF image of the form/flow in the ' submission repository. This generated snapshot is a basic PDF rendering of the form/flow.  You can generate additional PDFs' as part of your form/flow, if required. For Example, new employees hired by a company are typically asked to fill out federal forms such as a W-4 or an I-9. ' Pixel Perfect PDF generation feature allows you to design a form/flow with fields that capture the information needed and integrate the data from the e-form controls to an acroform PDF. adds all generated PDF forms to the document set of a completed form/flow. See Submissions for more details.

 

On This Page:

'  Pixel Perfect PDF generation feature is supported in both the form and flow designers.  You will need  an "acroform" to generate a pixel perfect PDF.  acroforms (also known as Acrobat forms) are forms that contain writable form fields. You can generate as many PDFs as you like. It is very easy to map  controls to individual acroform fields for each one. The additional PDF forms are generated at the end of a form/flow and all generated PDF forms will be added to the document set of a completed form/flow. This makes it possible for the form designer to specify doc actions on these additional form documents as well. The designer can construct form/flows in which the generated forms may be viewed at any point in the form/flow via a new Form Viewer control. See below for the details.

If a form designed outside of a workflow has generated PDFs associated with it, the PDFs will not be carried along when the form is added to a workflow. This is by design.

Import of a v5.1.1 flow into v5.2 will preserve all PDFs and mappings. The v5.1.1 feature of PDF generation activities is discarded and the PDFs and mappings display in a flat list as discussed below.

The form/flow designers now have two separate views:

Launch the form/flow Designer. Clicking on the edit form/flow View and Generated Forms View icons on the toolbar toggles between the two views.

Limitations:

Mappable and Max Map Idx Properties for Controls

All mappable controls, including signed sections, table columns, upload controls, etc have a Mappable checkbox on the control property pane that MUST be checked for the control to be available for mapping. If this property is unchecked, mapping options for the control will not appear in the mapper or the detail status screen as described below. Checking this property minimizes the amount of options in the mapper. For large PDFs, that number could be significant.  

The mappable property is checked by default so the designer will have to UNCHECK controls that do not need to be mapped in the pdf.

The Max Map Index property pertains only to tables and controls inside of a repeat. This property determines how many mappable indexes of the repeat item or table are available. 

Before beginning any pdf mapping activity, verify that the Mappable property is checked on ALL the controls in your form that you want to map in the pdf mapper. Be sure the Max Map Index is set for tables and repeats.

 

Configure PDF Form Generation

There is a three step process to configure PDF form generation. The designer must follow these basic steps for each PDF form to be generated as part of a form/flow:

View Forms Generated by the Form/Flow

Click the icon to display the PDF forms view for your form/flow. Any existing PDFs to be generated for the form/flow will be listed. The PDF view screen is divided into two areas: the form/flow properties pane and the PDF forms editor. Click the New icon to add a new PDF form to your form/flow. For example, the Employee On Boarding form shown below will generate a pixel perfect PDF for the federal W4 and the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification form when the Employee On Boarding form is submitted or the Form Viewer control is clicked.

You will not see the forms view when editing a form inside a workflow. In the workflow designer, only the control and rules views are available.

Upload PDF acroform Templates

Here is an example of a PDF acroform for the federal Employee's Withholding Allowance. Notice the blue highlighted writable form fields.

Use the New Form Generation screen to upload the acroform for the PDF you wish to fill using  fields. Click the  icon to begin. If you do not provide a name for your template, the file name will be used. The template name should not exceed 30 characters. You can use Templatized Strings when naming your template. For example, naming the template W-4 {LastName} appends the new employee's last name to the pdf in the submission repository. Of course, you must have a control named LastName in your form.

A list showing all of the PDFs to be generated for this activity of the form/flow will display. 

Click the icon to edit the template name. If you try to submit this screen with a blank template name, you will see the message "Form Template file is Required".

Click the icon to remove the template. You will be asked to confirm the deletion as the template and all field mappings will be removed.

You can set up logic for the PDF vi a precondition that will control when the PDF will be generated or it can be used to skip the PDF entirely. For Example, currently the only way to disable a template is to use a precondition that always evaluates to false and it will be skipped.

Skipped activities do not affect PDF's generated by Live Forms. For example, controls in form/flow activities containing default values, that have been mapped in the pdf mapper, will show up in the PDF even if the activity is skipped due to a precondition.  Use a form.load rule to set the "initial state" data dynamically instead.

makes a copy of the uploaded acroform template and modifies it with available selections of appropriate e-form fields for each PDF acroform field. The modified PDF acroform (Mapper) will be re-generated every time because the e-form fields may have changed. Upload the modified template every time you make a change to your acroform PDF. For example, changing the acroform to make a field acro-fillable, requires the upload of the modified template again. 

 will not allow the use of an owner or user password protected PDF acroform to be used as a template. It is the the form/flow designer's responsibility to provide an unprotected PDF acroform. There are programs available to "remove" an owner password from a protected PDF such as PDFescape.  Simply upload the password protected PDF to PDFescape, then save and download it. The password will be "removed" from the PDF and you will be able to use it as a template.   

Invalid templates cannot be uploaded either. The message "Invalid PDF or password protected" will display.

Download the Mapper

Download the Mapper by clicking on the  icon. The downloaded mapper is a modified template so it will have the same name as the file template that you uploaded even if you changed it. In the forms designer only, the following message will display:

 

Click Ok to continue. Save the mapper to disk. Although you can map fields in the acroform from the status screen, it is recommended that you download the mapper to disk, map the fields and then upload the updated file into .  See below for more information.

If you add a control from schema with maxOccurs="unbounded" to your form/flow, when you download the mapper,  the mapping options show a maximum of 100 items. This is as designed.

Map the E-Form Fields to the acroform Fields

Open the mapper with an external PDF viewer/editor, such as Adobe Reader (version 11 or higher), Mac Preview or PDFescape.

PDF.js, a PDF Viewer available for the Firefox browser, may not render the PDF properly. If you are using this as your viewer, and the PDF does not look as expected, download the PDF and view it in Adobe or Mac Preview. 

Previous mapping selections should be retained. There are some forms where Adobe reader may loose the previous mappings. If this is the case, all fields will have to be manually mapped again.  Here is an example of the downloaded mapper for the W-4 PDF. Notice the acroform fields are re-written with editable combo box controls. The combo boxes are pre-populated with the names of relevant e-form fields from the form/flow for the purposes of field mapping.

Click on the arrow to display the e-form fields. Select the appropriate e-form field from the selections provided. The image shows the acroform field for the Last Name on the W-4 form being mapped to the LastName [form > LastName] [id:_Dpf0vUf3EeK8Grq3Nz0xDg] selection in the list. You may have noticed each entry in the mapping choices has a unique ID as part of the mapping string. This is needed by the PDF mapper at this time but may be removed in a future release.

Mapping selections should be made in all fields. You do not have to map all the fields in one session - you can save the file and return to complete the mapping at a later time.

It is up to the designer to ensure that the content fits within the acroform field. The acroform will truncate it if it does not fit.

Adobe Reader supports the linkage of fields. This means that acroform fields can share the same values even if the fields have different names. For example: Let's say you have an acroform pdf consisting of 8 pages. Writable fields for Name, Address, City, State and Zip Code are located on the first, third, fifth and eighth pages. If you are using Adobe Reader to map your PDF, then you can map the Name and Address fields in the mapper on the first page and the Name and Address fields on pages three, five and eight will automatically become mapped. Adobe enforces the link between these fields even though the field names are different. (the Name field on the first page is named topmostSubform[0].Page1[0].f1... while the Name field on the third page is topmostSubform[0].Page3[0].f1...). If you are using Adobe Reader, you cannot map the fields on pages three, five and eight separately. If you are using a mapper that does not support field linkage, such as Mac Preview or PDFEscape, you will have to map the Name and Address fields on each page.

Upload the Completed Mappings

Save the completed mapping PDFs and upload them to by clicking on the Upload Mapping icon. You must upload completed mappings for each PDF acroform that you want to generate.

The fields in the uploaded mapped PDF must match exactly to the fields in the uploaded form template. 

will process the mappings and post a status that can be viewed by clicking on the [Details] button. Any errors encountered will be listed here. This can be a valuable tool for troubleshooting any problematic issues when mapping your e-form to the acroform pdf.

The Form Generation Mapping Status screen will display the following information:

You will see this error icon if the mapping for your form is incomplete. It will change to the  critical error icon under the following conditions:

If you uncheck the mappable property for controls that have already been mapped to the acroform, the mapping status for those controls changes to invalid. Submissions created with these invalid status controls will also report "Form submission filed -  One or more generated PDF forms generated with mapping errors. Some information may be missing". Even though the Mappable property is set to false, the PDF is generated with the old mapped values.

will check the mappings after saving a form or flow. When the critical errors listed above occur, the designer will see a prompt informing them of the error after the form/flow has been saved and the editor closes. The mapping can then be re-edited. A status of Mapping Incomplete is not considered an error and will not prompt.

The icon indicates that the mapping is complete and there are no errors.

When you change the name of a control, it is essentially a new control and gets a new id. If the control name is changed, the PDF mapping for that control is broken and it will display with a status of Invalid E-form field. Even if the changes are reverted, the PDF mapping for that control is still broken. The "new" control  will have to be mapped again.

You may notice an Edit button on the status screen. Clicking this button allows the designer to make changes to the mapper on the status screen without downloading the mapper and uploading the updated mapper file. In the forms designer only, you will see this message when you click on the Edit button:

Click Ok. This screen formerly only displayed a read-only status of the mapping. Once Ok is clicked, the screen is re-displayed and the mapped e-form field names are now displayed in a select box, allowing the user to make changes. Select the Save button to save any mapping changes or the Cancel button to close and not save anything.

In some acroforms, determining the field in the acroform can be difficult to interpret. For this reason, it is recommended that mapping from the status screen be reserved for small changes while the majority of the mappings should be done by downloading, modifying and then uploading the mapper into .

Mapping Table and Repeat Controls

E-form controls placed within repeats or tables use the max number property to create multiple "instances" of the e-form field for mapping. Controls within a repeat (or table) are indexed to allow the user to select the specific control for mapping.  will put the correct number of instances of the control in the mapping select list based on the max number of the repeat/table. Each of these instances will be clearly labeled with an index. For example, a table in your form to collect the Education History of a new employee has a column for the Degree earned. The dropdown choices are: High School, Bachelors, Masters and PhD. The Max # property for the table is set to 10.

The mapping selections list the 4 choices (High School, Bachelors, Masters and PhD) with indexes of X of 10 for each choice.

Here is an example of an Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (W-7) that has fields for Name and Name at Birth - if different. A Repeat control containing a section with name fields and min/max values of 1 and 2 respectively, can be used in your form to capture both pieces of information.

The choices in the mapper dropdown for the first name control are: FirstName (1 of 2) [form > Names > FirstName]:followed by a unique id. or FirstName (2 of 2) [form > Names > FirstName]:followed by a unique id. Choices for the middle and last name controls follow the same format.

In the mapper, selecting the (1 of 2) choice for the First, Middle and last Name controls and the (2 of 2) choice for the repeating first, middle and last name controls that appears after the user clicks the plus sign, maps the data as shown:

Nested repeats, use the max numbers of each repeating level multiplied to determine the total max index of an item. This is best illustrated with the example below showing repeat 2 nested in repeat 1. Each repeat has a section and each section a text control. Each repeat level has a max of 2. The inner most text control will have an index of 4 (2x2) as shown.

Form
    repeat1
        section1  (max 2)
            text1                     -- index = 1
            repeat2
                section2   (max 2)
                    text2             -- index = 1
                section2
                    text2             -- index = 2
        section1 
            text1                     -- index = 2
            repeat2
                section2   
                    text2             -- index = 3
                section2
                    text2             -- index = 4

If you have empty rows in a table control or blank repeating items in your form, pdf mapping may shift a bit. To keep the mapping predictable, set the min value equal to the max value for the table/repeat controls. This will give you options to map the missing/blank items in the pdf mapper.

The default value for the max number of indexed mapping items put into the mapping options for any repeating control is 10. You can use the Max Map Idx property to limit the number of mappable indexes of a repeat item or table control in the pdf mapper. However, if you need to map more than 10 repeating items in the mapper - contact Customer Support.

Mapping the Upload Control

Let's say you wants to take a photo using a mobile device and then map the photo to a PDF.  supports mapping of the Upload control that can be used to upload the image to a form/flow. 

Adding a Field to an acroform

Some acroforms may not have a writable field for all of the data that you want to collect. An example might be the signature field on such forms as the I-9 or W-4 acroforms. The Employee On Boarding form/flow collects information to populate the W-4 PDF after the new employee completes the  screen form/flow. Another step of the form/flow asks the new employee to review the PDF and sign if the information is correct. Mapping the  signature to the generated PDF cannot be accomplished unless there is a writable field in the W-4 template. You can use a PDF editor  such as PDFescape to add a writable field for the signature to your acroform template.  signatures are treated as images that can be mapped to text fields so be sure to add the acroform field as a text field. Upload the modified acroform as your PDF template. 

You can also create an acroform from scratch using PDFescape or a similar program. The table below gives more information on mapping rules.

PDF Form Generation Rules

PDF forms are generated as the last step(s) of a form/flow or when the Form Viewer control is clicked. All other activities are completed prior to the execution of any form generation activities. PDF forms are generated by using the mapping meta data entered by the user to map the e-form field data into the PDF's acroform fields. Precondition properties are supported for form generation activities and operate in a standard fashion, i.e. if the precondition evaluates to true, the activity executes.

In general, the following applies to the generation process:

The specifics of mapping e-form data fields into acroform fields are detailed in the table below:

E-Form Field Typesacroform Field Types
CheckboxChoice/Combobox (Single select)ListRadio ButtonTextPush ButtonSignature
CheckBoxMapping is done by option value. If the value of any of the selected option(s) on the e-form control matches the 'on' value of the check box, then it is selected. Otherwise it is unchecked. See NOTE below.Select one item in choice/combo corresponding to selected checkbox options. Equate items/options by the value/option, not label. Only single select supported in some cases (depends on if field is set to multi).Select items in list corresponding to selected checkbox options. Equate items/options by the value/option, not label. If list box is single select only one option is selected.Select one item in radio corresponding to selected checkbox options. Equate items/options by the value/option, not label. Only single select supported.Yes. The label text of the selected option(s) will be comma separated and used.  
CheckBox OptionYes. If option selected, check box will be selected.   Yes. If selected, then option label text used.  
CheckBox Comment    Yes. Only if comment is enabled. Multiple lines will be concatenated (new lines not carried over to PDF).  
RadioMapping is done by option value. If the value of any of the selected option(s) on the e-form control matches the 'on' value of the check box, then it is selected. Otherwise it is unchecked. See NOTE below.Select item in choice corresponding to selected radio option. Equate items to options by the value, not label.Select items in list corresponding to selected radio option. Equate items to options by the value, not label.Select one item in radio corresponding to selected radio option. Equate items/options by the value/option, not label. Only single select supported.Yes. The label text of the selected option will be used.  
Radio OptionYes. If option selected, check box will be selected.   Yes. If selected, then option label text used.  
Radio Comment    Yes. Only if comment is enabled. Multiple lines will be concatenated (new lines not carried over to PDF).  
DropdownMapping is done by option value. If the value of any of the selected option(s) on the e-form control matches the 'on' value of the check box, then it is selected. Otherwise it is unchecked. See NOTE below.Select item in choice corresponding to selected dropdown option. Equate items to options by the value, not label.Select item in list corresponding to selected radio option. Only select one by definition. Equate items to options by the value, not label.Select one item in radio corresponding to selected dropdown options. Equate items/options by the value/option, not label. Only single select supported.Yes. The label text of the selected option will be used.  
Dropdown OptionYes. If option selected, check box will be selected.   Yes. If selected, then option label text used.  
Dropdown Comment    Yes. Only if comment is enabled. Multiple lines will be concatenated (new lines not carried over to PDF).  
Text & Text Area    Yes. Simple text transfer.  
Date, Time, DateTime    Yes. Use formatted date/time.  
Email, Phone    Yes.  
Money, Quantity, Number    Yes.  
T/FYes   Put a 'true' or 'false' in as appropriate.  
Image       
Signature/Signed Section    Yes Yes
Upload    Yes  

In general, all the controls listed, can be mapped to an acroform text field. Selection controls are mostly handled by mapping the option values as indicated above.

When mapping selection controls, you will see the name of the control and the options for that control in the downloaded mapper selections. The option values will be listed as ControlName.OptionName?.  As an example, let's take a look at the Eligibility field on the I-9 Employment Eligibility federal form. Your Employee On Boarding form/flow might contain a form with a radio control to collect the eligibility status from the new employee.

The option/label values for the radio control in the e-form are:

A_lawful_permanent_resident_(Alien_#)=A lawful permanent resident (Alien #)
A_citizen_of_the_United_States=A citizen of the United States
An_alien_authorized_to_work_(Alien_#_or_Admission_#)=An alien authorized to work (Alien # or Admission #)
A_noncitizen_national_of_the_United_States_(see_instructions)=A noncitizen national of the United States (see instructions)

The mapper will offer the choices for each option value.

Select the choice that begins with EligibilityChoices.A_lawful_permanent_resident_(Alien_... [form > from the dropdown in the mapper for the option value of A lawful permanent resident (Alien #) in the radio control.

Select the choice that begins with EligibilityChoices.A_citizen_of_the_United_States [form > from the dropdown in the mapper for the option value of A citizen of the United States in the radio control.

Select the choice that begins with EligibilityChoices.An_alien_authorized_to_work_(Alien_... [form > from the dropdown in the mapper for the option value of An Alien authorized to work (Alien # or Admissions #) in the radio control.

Select the choice that begins with EligibilityChoices.A_noncitizen_national_of the United States from the dropdown in the mapper for the option value of A noncitizen national of the United States (see instructions) in the radio control.

Correct mapping will result in a checked box on I-9 generated pdf depending on the choice selected by the new employee on the Live Form. The image shows the pdf when the A citizen of the United States is selected.

Adobe Reader has an issue with grouped check boxes.  Sometimes it only allows a single selection for all of the check boxes in a group.  In this case it will only be possible to map the whole e-form checkbox, radio or select control to the pdf checkbox (vs. mapping individual options). An example is discussed below.

Adobe Reader Issue with Grouped Check Boxes

A snapshot of the Filing Status section on the U.S. Individual Income Tax Return acroform (1040) has checkboxes for 5 status choices:

You can use a radio control in your e-form which will allow only one of the five choices to be selected.

When you download the mapper and open it using Adobe Reader, you might notice that some of the grouped checkboxes may not have a combo box dropdown, offering choices for mapping to the acroform field.

This is a case where the acroform fields look like and are called checkboxes but really are radio controls.

Follow these steps to map the Qualifying widow(er) checkbox:

In order to map these two options, you must make sure that the values for the options in the properties pane of the radio control in the e-form EXACTLY match the options you see in the Selectable Values column for the acrofield. The mapping is done when the user selects one item in the  radio corresponding to the selected radio option. The items/options are matched to value/option, not label, of the control. Only one selection is supported. See PDF Form Generation Rules for more information.

The options values of the Live Form Status control in the e-form are shown below: Note the Selectable Values from the mapping status are on the option value side of the equal sign. The case of the option values is important. The option values MUST be the same case as listed in the mapping status. 

Single=Single
Married filing jointly=Married Filing Jointly
Married filing separately=Married Filing Separately
HoH=Head of Household
QW=Qualifying Widow(er)

A user who selects the Head of Household radio button in the Live Form will see that option checkbox checked if the mapping is done correctly.

This is a situation where mapping for a checkbox can be done via the UI mapping capability on the status screen as you can map individual options to the individual checkboxes in the group on the acroform outside of Adobe.

Date/time will be derived from the xml and it will be in ISO format and in UTC (time and date/time only). There are two issues to consider:

Mapping of dynamically generated selection control options via a rule is not supported at this time. It will be available in a future release of .

Form Viewer Control

You may have a form/flow where you want the user to view the generated PDFs for accuracy. The Employee On Boarding form/flow requires that the new employee review the generated PDFs and sign to verify that the information is correct. The Form Viewer control allows a generated form to be viewed as part of a form activity.  The Confirmation form in the Employee On Boarding form/flow lets the new employee view and approve the generated W-4 form by signing in the provided signature field. Clicking on the generated form name in use mode displays the form in a separate window/tab. The form can then be viewed or downloaded via the Save procedure for the PDF viewer you are using.  There may be other methods of downloading/saving the form depending on the browser.

Open the form/flow designer for your form/flow. Notice the addition of the Form Viewer control to the palette. The form viewer control is available in the form editor's palette. 

Drag and drop the Form Viewer control from the palette into your form. If you are using the flow designer, select the step in the form/flow where you want the PDFs to be viewed by clicking on it and then click on the pencil icon to launch the Form Designer. It can not be placed in a repeat or table control. You will need a Form Viewer control for each PDF that you want to be reviewed. The generated form will display in Link Mode. Select the PDF to be viewed for each control from the Form dropdown. If you used templatized strings when naming your template, it will show the template unresolved in the drop down.

Properties on the Style tab work as expected. 

Link Mode

The Form Viewer control defaults to link mode. Link mode offers the generated PDF to the user as a link for viewing/downloading/saving it. Clicking on the generated form name in use mode generates a new PDF form from the latest form entered data and displays the form in a separate window/tab. The form can then be viewed or downloaded via the Save procedure for the PDF viewer you are using.  There may be other methods of downloading/saving the form depending on the browser. The download link is inactive in edit mode.  

Testing the form/flow

When the generation of Pixel Perfect PDFs for your form/flow is completed, and you have saved the updates, click on the  Test icon and run the form/flow and submit it. When you get to the form with the Form Viewer control, be sure to check the generated Pixel Perfect PDFs such as the W - 4 etc.

If you are using MySql and you are running/submitting a form/flow with a large acroform, you may see this message:


 The default value of max_allowed_packet configuration parameter may not be large enough. See this documentation for the solution.