An Oracle blog about BI Publisher

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    March 4, 2008

Adobe 8 PDF Templates

I have not written much about PDF templates in the blog they are reasonably straightforward and their use is pretty specific - form filling. They are somewhat overshadowed by their more flexible RTF cousins and lack the 'Wow' factor of the new kids on the block, Flex templates. They have their place thou, I had an interesting time this morning with our new developers in Ohio, Dave and Jen.

They have been charged with updating all the demo reports we ship with the standalone release. If you have looked through those you would have seen that the W2 PDF we ship is from the heady daze of 2003 when bubbles had definitely burst here in the valley, I can say here today cos Im in California for the rest of the week. Jen has Adobe 8 installed, ought not be a big issue but it became one. Along with the Acrobat application you also get the Live Cycle Designer. A newish form building application with bells and whistles, dynamic tables, barcodes, etc.

For some reason the form Jen got from the US government web site would not work with Publisher. When trying to edit the fields in the document she was forced into using the Designer rather than the Acrobat application. After some investigation we found that the Designer adds some extra information to the fields rendering our PDF template processor API useless.

To rectify all this we had to follow these steps:

1. Generate a flat, non field PDF using Adobe Distiller. File > Print > Adobe PDF. It will prompt you for a file name
2. Open the flat PDF in Acrobat and then add the fields back in.

Not pretty, but you can at least build PDF templates that will work with Publisher.

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