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Forms and Interaction

Although it is possible to support forms data entry using PDF forms facilities, it can be messy to create such forms, and the question of how to handle the results in a secure and effective manner remains. In most instances it is preferable to convert any PDF forms into web-based interactive forms, as this facilitates instant data validation and format checks, auto-loading of selected fields (e.g. current data and time), secure data transmission, and immediate storage of the entered data (e.g. in a suitable SQL database). Many web-based forms handling services and software solutions are available.

Another feature of some PDF documents is the use of interactive or dynamic elements. These can include the display of embedded media clips when a page is accessed or an element is clicked or touched, pop-up text boxes, hidden content that is displayed after an event (e.g. answers to multi-choice questions etc.). As with forms, many facilities of this type are now better handled using alternative tools and services. With media clips, web-hosted media using services such as Vimeo or self-hosted media in mp3 or mp4 format embedded into HTML5 pages has become the norm. This has significant advantages, in terms of control, file sizes, ease of update and consistency of end user experience. Likewise, interactive forms can often be better handled as web-based forms or in specialized software for course presentation and management.