12 Replies Latest reply on Apr 16, 2013 11:38 AM by tb3

    Printing Filemaker Pro 11 fields on scanned pdf ?

    tb3

      I need to fill various forms not created in Filemaker. These forms are too graphically complicated to reproduce in Filemaker. I want to do is scan the forms into my computer as pdfs then position fields in Filemaker 11 to fill the forms at the correct coordinates on the pdf. For instance, my name is Tom. I want to position "Tom" on a Filemaker 11 layout so that the "name" field in Filemaker matches with the "name" field on the scanned pdf. The end result will be to print it as a filled form. Can I do this with Filemaker Pro 11? If not can it be done if I upgrade to Filemaker 12 or 12 Advanced?

       

      Thanks, Tom

        • 1. Re: Printing Filemaker Pro 11 fields on scanned pdf ?
          eshoshin

          Whether using 11 or 12 doesn't make a difference — you can't edit the content of a PDF in FileMaker.  In Layout Mode, got to Insert menu and choose Picture.  Select your PDF.  Might need to do some resizing to fit your layout.  From there, you can add all the fields you want on top of it. 

          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Printing Filemaker Pro 11 fields on scanned pdf ?
            tb3

            I'm not looking to edit the pdf. I need variable info on a static form. Thanks for the prompt answer. I'll follow your direction.

            • 3. Re: Printing Filemaker Pro 11 fields on scanned pdf ?
              tb3

              There is no option to import pdf files as a picture. There are however other options that include tif and under Insert/Objects is Adobe Acrobat docs. Either of which would work for me however they are extreemly blury once in Filemaker,OK to read onscreen but too blury to print and be taken seriously. Any ideas on how to make imported files print as pristine as prior to import, a setting maybe?

              • 4. Re: Printing Filemaker Pro 11 fields on scanned pdf ?
                eshoshin

                You can insert a PDF onto a layout the same way as a picture... simply select your PDF from the file picker after going to Insert --> Picture.

                 

                As for high resolution, try converting your PDF to a PNG file.

                • 5. Re: Printing Filemaker Pro 11 fields on scanned pdf ?
                  tb3

                  I really apprecaite taking my question to heart. I can use the help. But there is no pdf option. The file picker offers 15 different file formats to import under Picture. None of them are pdf. Of course I tried pdf anyway. Filemaker says it doesn't recognize the file. If you're able to do this, there must be a difference between your version and mine.

                  • 6. Re: Printing Filemaker Pro 11 fields on scanned pdf ?
                    eshoshin

                    In the file picker, try selecing from the dropdown "all available" for file type.  I just did this in FM 11.0v4 on Mac (10.8.2).

                    • 7. Re: Printing Filemaker Pro 11 fields on scanned pdf ?
                      MarcDolley

                      If the original forms are on paper, don't scan them as PDF's. Instead scan them as some other graphic format which is compatible with FMP 11. The highest quality possible. Experiment with different formats and resolutions to determine which one gives you the best output. Then insert that image onto your layout, overlay your fields and output the completed form to PDF.

                       

                      Regards

                      Marc

                      • 8. Re: Printing Filemaker Pro 11 fields on scanned pdf ?
                        eshoshin

                        Ah, you must be on Windows.  I just tried this with Windows 7 and got the same error you did.

                        • 9. Re: Printing Filemaker Pro 11 fields on scanned pdf ?
                          tb3

                          Thanks Marc,

                           

                          Apparentlly Macs can display pdf files but PC s can only store them in a container. I'll play with different file types. One of my concerns is that FileMaker is downsizing image quality. We'll see...

                          • 10. Re: Printing Filemaker Pro 11 fields on scanned pdf ?
                            MarcDolley

                            Do a bit of research on the image quality of the file types supported by FMP 11. I'm no expert on the subject and don't want to recommend a format for fear of starting a flame war debate. As I said, experiment with different formats and go with what looks best in the final output. Scan your document at the highest possible resolution in multiple formats, put the images on different layouts, print them out and pick the best/most accurate representation of the original document.

                             

                            Regards

                            Marc

                             

                            P.S. Might be worth updating this thread with your results for the benefit of others.

                            • 11. Re: Printing Filemaker Pro 11 fields on scanned pdf ?
                              MartinCrosman

                              Take a look at Scribe plug in from 360 Works

                              • 12. Re: Printing Filemaker Pro 11 fields on scanned pdf ?
                                tb3

                                Six Weeks Later... Scanning is not the best option for my desired result because whatever the resolution and file format,  the background never is a pristine white. Scanning adds unwanted background color, usually yellowish. This may differ with your scanner and experience.  To get the needed form into Filemaker where it will be fillable, I change the existing pdf file type on a Mac in Preview by choosing 'Save as". Then I transfer the png to my PC where I'm working on the database. There is probably a simiiar way to make this change on a PC but I haven't spent time looking for it. (The first 3 programs I tried on a PC didn't do it). I save png's in 300 dpi resolution. This prints a crisp form. Placing the form was tricky at first. A blank layout is what I intuitively choose - it never worked.(The problem was printing) So I went with the Form choice - works well.  I started out placing container fields and inserting the png files. The container fields were fairly easy to place in the desired location for printing consecutive form pages. ( My test form has 7 pages) This is a poor solution because you can't see the form in layouit mode in order to place text fields where they are needed. So, I inserted the png files strtaight into layout mode - not the container. They are huge and spread across the screen at 300dpi. I matched their size to the already placed contained fields using Inspector. When the png is moved within a few pixels of the container field it seems to snap into place. So, I left the container fields in the layout as place holders though I suppose this is not their intended use. Tested this, entered a few text fields - works fine.

                                 

                                Anyone wants to volunteer a better way? No pride here. In fact if you really know what you're doing you may be laughing right now. A better way would be quite welcome.

                                 

                                Thom