June 29, 2009

Inside PDQForms

Filed under: Uncategorized — frameworker @ 9:31 pm


PDQForms is tax preparation software for State and Federal forms. It integrates spreadsheet logic into pdf forms using PDFKit to combine form field information with labels and expressions. The result is a spreadsheet-like application layer over the form.

Creating a PDQ Form

The idea was to automate
everything that could be.

The first step is to extract information for all the form’s fields, or “Annotations” in PDF lingo.

We need the type of Annotation: TEXT or CHECKBOX, and its PAGE, RECT and MAXLEN values.

This is accomplished with a PDFKit based program called PDQ Annotation Editor, which outputs a text file.

Next we must define expressions that contain the logic for each of the form’s fields. This is just like programming a spreadsheet.

Adding this information to the Annotation meta-data completes our task.

We now have a text file containing the information PDQForms will need to automate the form.

We then “bake” this back into the original PDF file.

And the form can now be opened with PDQForms!


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