August 9, 2021
More and more organizations are taking advantage of e-signatures today. Because of this, we finally launched an e-signature certificate feature here at PlatoForms!
With this feature, your online forms can now collect e-signatures from your clients.
Although we’ve had signature pads included in our forms ever since the beginning–but with this update, we can now generate a PlatoForms-issued signature certificate along with the signature pad. This signature certificate can ensure that the signature from your forms isn’t altered. This certificate has complete information about the signer:
- Timestamp of the sign
- IP address of the signer
- Email address of the signer
For convenience, you can view and download the signature certificate from PlatoForms' submission page.
E-signatures are legally bonded to some states in the US, so make sure to consult with your lawyer about their validity to your country.
For detailed instructions about our e-signature certificate, refer to our documentation page.
June 15, 2021
We’re thrilled to announce that PlatoForms now includes Stripe integration!
From small businesses to big companies, everyone uses Stripe to collect and manage payments. As one of the most common online payment processing providers today, you can now integrate your forms with Stripe using PlatoForms. In this update, our forms can now accept payments via Stripe.
The best thing? Aside from Stripe’s usual charge, there is no additional fee! PlatoForms won’t charge on any form payment transaction.
To help you verify the payment integration, we provided a Test Mode integration. Through this, you can check whether the payment works well or not. To start, you can use a test credit card to complete the payment (This won’t cost anything!). Aside from verifying the payment, this amazing feature gives you the confidence to launch any kind of form payment. Once you confirm if the payment completely works as it is, you can enable Live Mode to your form integration for real transactions.
With our Stripe integration, you can now collect card payments, donations, and recurring payments through your online forms—all for free!
For detailed instructions about our Stripe integration, go to our documentation here.
May 1, 2021
Pre-filled Invitation Forms
Filling up forms now becomes faster and easier!
We are happy to introduce our Pre-filled Invitation Forms, a feature that enables you to send pre-populated forms for easier form filling.
Our Pre-filled Invitation Forms come in handy for all types of transactions—whether personal or business.
For example, think about how you have a customer order form that already has a name and quote price. Would it be better to send a blank form to wait for the customer to fill out all the information by themselves, or send them a pre-filled form that can do the job?
Instead of waiting for the customer to complete the form, you can now send your customers the pre-populated forms that include their name, address, phone number, and price. Now, your clients don’t have to fill up every single field again. You can now send pre-filled forms that include their information, allowing them to sign and make a payment within minutes.
To do this, create an invitation, pre-fill the form, and easily send it to customers.
In addition to business purposes, you can use this awesome feature in various ways such as applications, enrollment, online reservations, and more.
Complicated forms are difficult to finish. With our Pre-filled Invitation Forms, you can now make the form-filling process easier. Additionally, the easy process of filling up forms boosts your form completion rate.
To learn more about our Pre-filled Forms, check out our documentation page.
April 15, 2021
Invite Clients to Complete Online PDF Forms
Gone are the days of sending a fixed link or embedding a form on your website and not knowing which clients filled it out or when. We’re excited to share the launch of our new Email Invitation Feature which allows you to build, send and track the progress of your forms in real time.
Once you have finalised the form within PlatoForms, the feature allows you to view the status of the invitations, number of submissions, and also if a form has been opened. In addition, you’ll be able to set and control a number of variables that will help you manage the links you have emailed out including an expiration date, password protection, submission restrictions, enabling automatic savings and more. If you choose for the invitation to be tracked, which we highly recommend, you will be able to see the status of the email delivery, the time of when the form and email were opened and when it was submitted. You will also receive a receipt of the email sent for your records.
The emails themselves are also completely customizable so you can tailor the subject and message to your client to make it more personable. The feature also gives you the option to send the invitations immediately or schedule them to be sent at a future time. If you do choose to use the scheduling function, you can set any time limit within 30 days.
If you’re looking to send the same form to multiple groups, the new feature also allows you to make a copy of an invitation so you can quickly and effectively send it to more recipients. You’ll have the option to either input up-to five email or upload contacts to save them as a group so you can reach more people quickly.
For more information about the Email Invitation Feature, visit https://docs.platoforms.com/form-invitation/.
February 15, 2021
Form Submission Data Retention Policy
The form data submitted by your users may include some sensitive information such as the customer name, address, date of birth, etc. Although PlatoForms has an extremely secure infrastructure and data security policy to protect your data, you may still not want your data to be stored for too long in any third party system. Our data retention policy can help you with this. You can choose different data retention periods, from 0-day to forever, all under your control. By default, the data retention period is 3 months. All form data submitted by your users will be stored in our system for 3 months after the last submission. During this time, many advanced features can be used to manage the submitted data, such as re-editing forms, traceable revision history, downloading PDFs, searching or sharing PDFs, etc. After the retention period, the submission will be permanently deleted from PlatoForms.
There is a special data retention policy: 0-day. To set a 0-day retention time, you must set up at least one Cloud Drive Integration, and once your data is uploaded to that cloud drive, the submission will be deleted immediately. PlatoForms primarily plays the role of a PDF generator to maximize the protection of your data. However, this also means that you cannot use any data management features or workflows, etc.
For more details, please check its help documentation page.
December 15, 2020
Form Submission Notifications via Slack
Slack is one of the most popular communication tools in the world. Our latest update includes a new integration to Slack. Users can now connect fillable PDF forms with a Slack workspace and view the submission through preferred Slack Channels or Direct Messages. This is a new approach to get instant notifications every time someone submits a filled up form.
To connect a Slack workspace, go to the form “Integration” dialog box, click that “Add to Slack” button, and you’ll be asked to sign in if you’re not logged into your Slack account. Else, it will automatically detect your saved account and ask for which Channels do you want to receive PlatoForms notifications. Note that Channels begin with ‘#’ while ‘@’ for Direct Messages. We have also added a Test Message option so you can verify if you are successfully integrated.
This integration is also flexible as to which information should show up on Slack when you receive a fillable PDF form submission. You can download the completed PDF, uploaded files and photos, or re-open the form to edit it.
For detailed instructions about our Slack integration, go to our documentation here.
November 28, 2020
Fillable PDF Form Submission Summary Report
A summary report has been added under the submission page. On this report page, you can get the number of submissions for all forms. There are various filters to narrow the scope of the summary. For example, you can set a time range to look up the number of submissions in that time period, or do a keyword search by form or folder name. The report can be exported to CSV format so that you can easily share it or use the data in your custom reports.
This is the first version of our summary report. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to contact us, we are always happy to hear feedback from our customers to improve our product.
October 31, 2020
We are pleased to announce our integration with AppCues (https://www.appcues.com/). Appcues makes it easy for you to deliver a exceptional user experience at scale, leading to happier customers and accelerated business growth. With AppCues, you can publish beautiful and in-app guides in minutes. If you has a very complicated form, AppCues is a good option to build a walkthrough guide to help your customers complete the form and improve the completion rate of your form.
We have more third-party integrations coming in the near future. If you are keen on integrating your fillable PDF forms and any other applications, please let us know and we will be happy to research and integrate to help your business.
September 28, 2020
Form Cascading Dropdown List
A cascading dropdown list is a series of dropdown lists in which the value of one dropdown list depends on the value of another dropdown list. You must have used it somewhere before, for example, a list of countries and their states. When the user selects a country, the next level of the dropdown list will be the states of the selected country.
You can now create such a cascading dropdown list with PlatoForms fillable PDF form builder. Open the properties of the dropdown list and select “Upload (Cascade) Dropdown List”. In the pop-up dialog box, you will find the option “Multiple level Cascading Dropdown”. To learn the format of the CSV file, you can download the sample file. Using this CSV file, you can create up to 5 levels of dropdown lists. After uploading, the PDF will have the same number of dropdown list as the levels. You can drag and drop the list to the appropriate location in your PDF.
September 20, 2020
Preview PDF before submit
After your customer submits the form, they can download the fillable PDF if you have enabled the “Download PDF on last page” option in the form settings. However, this means that the form has already been submitted and the PDF has been sent. In many cases, this is not ideal, although the customer can edit the submission and resubmit. Now, you can enable “Preview PDF before submission” in the form settings. With this option, customers can preview the PDF at any time without submitting the form.
July 31, 2020
Customise Your PDF Forms
When you have finished building fillable PDF form in PlatoForms, you can edit the settings to rebrand the form to represent your organisation before sharing it with others. Here are some options you can consider:
Custom domain. The link to the shared form starts with
https://forms.platoforms.com. You can edit this by customising the domain name to match that of your organisation.
Sender email address. When your form receives submissions, PlatoForms may send notification emails to your users. By default, the email address provided in the “From” section is
[email protected]. This email is unmonitored and any responses will be ignored. You can set up a customised email address instead so that replies from your users won’t be missed.
Logo and Theme. You can change the font size and colours, form background etc in Form Designer. You may also upload the logo of your organisation to the top of the form. For instance, the form can be edited to match the colour scheme and design of your organisation, allowing it to blend seamlessly when embedded into your webpage.
API and Webhook. This is the ultimate way to customise the features in PlatoForms. Except for creating, publishing of the form, and user management, you can implement nearly all features in PlatoForms, such as submitting the form, extracting the submission list, downloading created PDFs or retrieving submission raw data.
With these above features, you can create a fully customised form with personalised branding. It helps to establish a more professional outlook of your organisation and ensures all customer replies and inquiries are received.
May 30, 2020
Save for Later PDF Form
Your PDF may not be a simple one-page form. It can have multiple pages, many fields to fill, and even upload multiple attachment files. To complete such fillable PDF forms at once is very hard work. Your client may want to complete this form several times over a period of days. Our form is an online form that opens in the browser and loses content when the browser is closed. You can now enable the “Save for Later” feature to resolve this issue. You can enable it through form settings. When enabled, there will be a new “Save for Later” button in the form submission bar. By clicking on it, a URL link pops up while the form is saved. Form submitters can come back with this URL and everything will be the same as it was when they clicked “Save for Later”
Not only is this feature helpful for filling out a large form, but it can also be used to create a simple workflow. For example, your form requires two roles on the team to complete, the first person can fill in what needs to be filled in their role and then share that “Save for Later” URL to the next person, who will complete the other part of the form and submit it. It’s much simpler to create than our standard workflow.
This feature is available to all trial and paid users. You can find more details in our help document.
February 15, 2020
HIPAA-Compliant PDF Forms
We understand how important HIPAA compliance is, but also how difficult it can be to stay compliant. That’s why PlatoForms offer HIPAA compliant online forms. This will allow you to collect personal data without danger of non-compliance.
Here are a few common questions we receive about our service.
How to make your forms are HIPAA-compliant?
We offer HIPAA compliance to our Silver or Gold plan subscribers. If you are in an industry, such as insurance or medical, you can choose one of these plans and request HIPAA compliance for your team. After that, all forms of your team will be HIPAA-compliant.
Will PlatoForms sign a Business Associate Agreement?
Yes, we will sign a BAA to make sure you stay HIPAA compliant.
Is it easy to build a HIPAA Compliant form?
Yes, there is no different to build HIPAA-Compliant form with others. You can use our user-friendly form builder to create online forms for any PDF you use in the office.
To learn more, please visit HIPAA compliance document page. We’re looking forward to working with you and helping you get the personal information you need to serve your clients or patients.
December 1, 2019
Over the past few months, we are working to improve our system. In this post, we highlight some main features that can help you build and use fillable PDF forms more efficiently.
Type or upload signature
In addition to drawing, the signature pad can also upload images or type to sign on a PDF.
We have received many feature requests about how to send custom emails to their users (that is, people who submit forms). You can now create custom email content and send it to a set of emails or email addresses filled in a form. You can use variables in the email content, which can be the value of a form field. For example, if your form collects the names of users, you can add their names in the body of the email.
By default, the email sent through our email address is “[email protected]”. In the new version, you can even set your email address as the email sender address.
In addition to the PDF, the email can also include submission data in CSV format. For more details, check out our documentation site.
Custom file name
Older versions of PlatoForms assigned a fixed filename to the created fillable PDF, for example, “pdfoobar.pdf". You can now set the name yourself. In addition, you can use variables in the file name. For example, the file name could be “joe-registration-form.pdf”, where joe is the name of the customer who filled out the form.
Upload file in Online PDF form
Previously, web forms could upload files, now you can upload files as PDF online forms.
Download PDF or edit submission
When users fill out and submit the form, they can directly download the created fillable PDF or re-edit the submission. There are two new options in the form settings for this feature. For more details, check out our documentation site.
Text field enhancement
For a single line of text, it prints all text on one line, no matter how long it is. Now it can be more “smart”. You can set to automatically print in smaller fonts, wrap or truncate text if it overflows.
There is a new initial value type: incremental code. You can easily create code in PDF, such as “INVOICE001”, “INVOICE002”, “INVOICE003”, etc. For more details, check out our documentation site.
Redesigned PDF online form
A brand new PDF online form that looks neat and easy to fill out.
New help documentation site
We also have a brand new documentation site.
Here are just some of the major features we have developed over the past few months. There are many small improvements and bug fixes in our system. Please try and give us your feedback, because many feature ideas come from you, our customers!
June 26, 2019
Let your PDF form speak your language
In our new version, you can create multiple languages form for your PDF. In other words, you can now create forms in your native language! To create a new language, go to Form Settings and open the Languages tab. You can create as many languages as you need. You can set one of them as the primary language, which is the default language when the user opens the form. Each language has a unique URL to open the form. It can also be switched through a language switch drop-down list, which is automatically displayed on the form page. To translate a language, you can edit the translated text directly in your browser, or you can translate it by exporting and importing it by Excel file. To learn more about how to create and manage translations, you can check out our help documentation. This feature is available for all of our plans, even the free version!
Internationalisation PDF form
i18n PDF Form
May 20, 2019
Reuse the submission content on PDF
If your PDF needs to be signed on every page, our previous method was to create a master form and then add the linked PDF. The master form field can be repeated anywhere on any page so you can put the signature in the right place. Your customers only need to sign once on the master form, and the PDF will automatically fill in all the signatures. Now, this feature comes to our online web form. Open the Field Properties dialogue box and click on the “Reuse Content on PDF” link. This field will add a copy to the PDF and drag it to the desired location. Again, you can place this “reuse field” on any page and anywhere in the PDF. Not only signatures, but you can also reuse any type of field, such as text box or checkbox. The implementation of our PDF online form is different. You need to add logic to copy the value of the field to another field. Read our documentation for more details.
May 12, 2019
Set the initial value on the text field
In previous versions, you could set default values in a checkbox or drop-down list. You can now also set the initial value in the text field. It can not only set a fixed value, but also set the current date or time, and even get the initial value from the URL. For example, if you append parameters to the form URL
?foo=bar, when you set
foo to the URL value, when the form is initially displayed, the text box will get the value of
foo from the URL, which is
bar, displayed on this text field.
April 16, 2019
Conditional Logic for PDF form
Your PDF form can collect information in as much detail as possible, but sometimes users don’t have to fill out all the information. For example, in your PDF, it might contain some messages: If you choose answer A, skip to question X. In the form, if the user meets certain criteria, you may also need to pre-populate some questions. Or, you may want to summarise the values of some questions and fill it in another question. From now on, you can use conditional logic to perform these operations more intelligently.
For any form, you can create as many logic as you want by clicking the Logic button on its navigation bar. With logic, you can build smart forms to help your customers complete forms in the perfect process. PlatoForms conditional logic is very flexible and powerful. These are what you can do with logic:
- Show/Hide/Enable/Disable questions.
- Set the value to a question.
- Copy the values from another question.
- Calculate the value and fill in the question.
- Jump to the page in the web form.
Any logic can have multiple conditions to trigger a logical operation. For example, if question A is answered and question B answer is equal to “Foo”, the logic is triggered. In a logic, these triggered actions can of course be multiple. For example, if the conditions match, then question A is hidden, question B is pre-filled, and so on.
February 6, 2019
Flexible e-mail notifications
In the previous version, PlatoForms sends e-mails to the e-mail account you use for login in, so all your team members will know when your form got submitted. Now you can add up to 10 different e-mail addresses in the form of notification recipients. Furthermore, you can select the fields in your form, if they have a valid e-mail input, so the email can be sent at the address you mention. Here is a good example of how you can use this feature: if you want your customers to receive the PDF immediately after they completed the form. You can add an e-mail field in the form and ask them to fill in their e-mail address. All e-mails will have the completed PDF as an attached file, so the recipient of such an e-mail doesn’t need to log into PlatoForms to download the PDF manually.
December 20, 2018
Use PDF editor more efficiently
When you create a form or fillable PDF with our drag-and-drop editor, the skills you acquire may help you work quicker and smarter. Some of the keyboard’s shortcuts are system-level preset standards, such as “Copy” and “Paste”, “Undo” and “Redo”, and select all. Others are special shortcuts for most of the drag-and-drop software available these days, such as holding down “Shift” and dragging the mouse.
Here is a list with the most used shortcuts:
- CTRL-C/CTRL-V (Windows), CMD-C/CMD-V (MacOS): Copy and Paste;
- CTRL-Z (Windows), CMD-Z (MacOS): Undo;
- CTRL-Y (Windows), CMD-SHIFT-Z (MacOS): Redo;
- CTRL-A (Windows), CMD-A (MacOS): Select all widgets;
- Delete: Delete the selected widget;
- Arrow Key: Move the selected widgets pixel-by-pixel;
- Press SHIFT and mouse-click the widget: Select or Deselect the widget belonging to a selected group;
- Press SHIFT and drag the mouse: Ignore the snap between the proximity of widgets;
- Double click the desired widget: If this widget belongs to an option list of choice or Drop-down, all the options widgets in that list will be selected at once.
If you will learn all these shortcuts and keyboard, plus mouse, combinations, you will be more effective at getting your tasks done. It may seem daunting at first, but once you get the hang of them, your hands will learn to perform them in almost an automated manner. You will be able to save time and effort and get your forms ready in no time.
Note: The current Copy, Paste, and Delete operations are applied only when one widget is selected.
November 12, 2018
PlatoForms Zapier App
Zapier is extremely easy to use and currently is the most popular method to interconnect your favourite applications. With only a few clicks, the tools you use most frequently will hook up and data will flow through from one to the other in an automated manner. Now, we are excited to let you know that PlatoForms is officially integrated with Zapier as well. It brings the full power of PlatoForms to more than 1,000 applications! When the submission of your form is successful, PlatoForms simply creates an afferent PDF and triggers a Zapier flow (which is called a “zap” by Zapier). Also, don’t be afraid to use your imagination and create your own zap, according to your needs, when it comes to automating your work. For example, you can send a Slack message to your team, import data into a Google Sheet, and upload a PDF to your CRM system!
Here is a step-by-step guide that will show you how to create a zap for uploading the submission data into Google Sheets or upload PDF files to Amazon S3. You can start everything we talked about free of any charge!
Except for our new Zapier integration, we have updated our API to version 4, it is fully compatible with Swagger, check it out here!
August 12, 2018
Sort your PDFs into folders
As you may know already, all of your forms are listed on the dashboard. But, even so, it may be a little bit difficult to find a specific form, especially if you have several forms. We decided to make things better for you; so, recently, we totally rewrote the dashboard for a much-improved user experience. With this occasion, we added a new feature that allows you to create folders.
In the dashboard, you will see three tabs now, i.e. PDF Forms, Master Forms, and PDF Files. According to your needs, you can now create a folder for each of them. After you create a folder, just click on it to access it. Once you do this, the form or PDF file you will create will be automatically saved in this folder. You also can move the form or file from one folder to another, by using its context menu: position the mouse over the cover, clicking on the
Gear icon, then choose the “Move to Folder” option in the menu that opens. Besides the new folder feature, our new dashboard brings in other types of features as well: you can sort the covers by Name, Created Date, or Modified Date.
July 15, 2018
Update your PDF attributes with more ease
In the previous version, in your PDF form builder or PDF file builder, if you wanted to change the font size, style, or colour to all your PDF widgets, you had to modify them one by one. Now, all of the builders feature a
Style button on their top navigation bar. By clicking on it, you can change the font attributes to the desired widgets at once, within one PDF attribute panel. It features an advanced option as well, allowing you to decide if these changes also apply to the existing widgets or not.
July 1, 2018
Link Your Cloud Drives to PlatoForms
Upon your form receiving a submission, PlatoForms will send an e-mail notification with a PDF attachment. You also can download the PDF from our Submission page, by accessing directly. Also, from now on, we provide an additional feature: you can integrate our system with your favourite cloud drives! This way, the generated PDFs are automatically uploaded to the assigned cloud folder once your form got the submission. The list of cloud drives supported by our platform includes Dropbox, Box, OneDrive and Google Drive.
To set up the preferred cloud drive, login to our dashboard, move the mouse over the form you want to synchronise with the PDF files, select the Cloud Drive option from the pop-up menu, and then follow the instructions to log in the cloud drive with the help of your account and authenticated permissions.
Note: this feature is only available to our non-free plan or trial users. Feel free to contact us even if your trial version is already expired but you’re keen on testing this brand new feature!
June 2, 2018
Create the PDF by API request
we are pleased to announce is the launch of our new API version 3. The most important features of this version are:
- You can use API to submit your form;
- Retrieve the definition of all fields belonging to your forms;
- Non-Expiry Token and Session Authentication are supported, plus OAuth2 authentication in version 2.
Why is the new API better? It boosts the potential of PlatoForms when merged with your in-house system, improving your work process. Let us take one scenario, in which your organization has data that needs to be printed on various pre-designed PDF files. With the help of PlatoForms, you simply upload the PDF files and use the drag-and-drop form builder to create the web form. Then, API comes into the scene, allowing you to post the data and generate the PDF files based on the fields mapping between the form and PDF. This way, you save not just time but also a lot of resources, which may be needed in the case of developing and maintaining a system that allows you to render data into PDF files. Also, don’t hesitate to use Webhook as well, a feature that gives you the chance to download a PDF file on the spot, as soon as it generation is completed.
The former API version, the API v2, will be withdrawn from use starting with the 1st of January 2019, due to the fact that it is outdated and depreciated. For more information about our latest API version, we kindly invite you to check our API documentation.
June 2, 2018
Form builder Enhancement
Our form builder was enhanced so that it can answer to your requirements in a more professional and specific manner.
- Copy and Paste
- Undo and Redo
- Alignment guidance
- Snap between widgets
Allow us to get into more details and present our new PlatoForms features, so you will have a clearer view of what you will enjoy if you choose our services:
- Now, all form widgets can simply be copied and pasted (Windows:
CMD-V), just as simple as that. This is a feature that can be used across any page within the same PDF. In other words, feel free to copy a widget from one PDF page and add it to another PDF page.
- Don’t you enjoy how the form looks after the changes you made? Then do find out that Undo and Redo can be applied for adding, deleting, resizing or moving any widget(Windows:
CMD-SHIFT-Z). You can do this kind of operations on each page separately, so you don’t have to undo the entire form if you realize that one of its pages doesn’t respect your requirements;
- We introduced the alignment guidance feature, which allows you to quickly align the widgets. While dragging or resizing a widget, the alignment lines will indicate if it is aligned with other widgets next to the borders or middle area in a visible manner.
- If you drag and drop a widget in the proximity of another, it will automatically snap in a place that is in the proximity of the closest widget. If you want to disable this feature, just press and hold the SHIFT key when dragging widgets.
- In PDF, you can use keyboard arrow key to move the widget by pixel ad pixel.
It doesn’t matter what form builder you choose to use, as these features are present in all our builders, for example, the Web form builder, PDF form builder, Master from builder and PDF maker. So, have fun at making your own tailored form!
April 5, 2018
Submit a form and create multiple PDF files
It’s common that many PDF documents need to be filled in with some of the same information. For example, a lawyer may ask a client to fill in numerous PDFs with their personal information, such as name, address, phone number etc. Traditionally,, the lawyer would have to ask the client to write out their information again and again. But PlatoForms
Master Form helps this. A master form is an online form, but, unlike our
Web Online Form, it doesn’t need the PDF to be uploaded in advance. To build a master form, firstly, use our drag and drop form builder to create the layout. Then upload PDF linking to this master form. After the PDF has been uploaded, you need to map the fields from the master form to this PDF. We call this kind of PDF a
Linked PDF. You can link any amount of PDF files to a master form.
You can then publish the master form and its linked PDFs. PlatoForms gives you a shared URL or embedded script so you can share this form with your clients. After they have submitted a completed master form, its data are used to generate all linked PDF files. This means, as in the previous example, the lawyer creates a master form and links all PDFs that need the client’s personal information. After the clients fill out the one master form, all linked PDF files are created together! No need to ask clients to write their name and address five times!
Like the normal form, you can view and download the PDF files from our Submission page. The download is a zipped package that includes all linked PDF files. Also, you can resubmit the master form to correct all linked PDFs at once. PlatoForms keeps all revision information so you can audit what modifications are made. Safe and easy!
For more details, please check out our help documentation: MASTER FORM BUILDER.
February 12, 2018
Workflow - Fill a PDF in multiple steps
Some PDFs may be not filled at once, but completed in a few steps. For example, a car sale form needs to be filled out both the customer and the salesperson. It may also need the sale manager’s signature. With PlatoForms, you can build a workflow to achieve this. The workflow includes multiple forms – and we call each form a
Step. A workflow can include any amount of steps. Once a form has been filled out, an email notification is sent to the correspondents, including a link to the next step. In most cases, the form in each step is the same PDF. The submission data is overlapping to the PDF created in the previous step. Think about above use case – it may take three steps in a workflow to complete this sale form. The first step is for the customer, where they fill in their personal information (e.g. family name, address, phone, etc.). The second step is for the salesperson, who will fill out the car information. The final step is for the sales manager, who will sign the form. All forms in these three steps are using the same PDF: the sale form. After the last step is submitted, they will have a completed PDF with all of the necessary information.
Workflow is flexible with different settings. For example, you can decide if the current step data overlaps the previous step’s PDF. You can mix different form types, i.e. web online form or PDF online form. In above example, the first two steps could be designed in web online form format – this is easier for the customer and salesperson. In the last step, the sales manager can use a PDF online form. The background of the form is just that PDF with all of the customer’s and the salesperson’s information, so the manager is able to easily review and decide whether to sign or revise. In workflow you can use the same or different PDF files per step.
The PDFs in any step can be found in PlatoForms Submission page and you get email notifications as well. In addition, by clicking the Workflow button on the top of Submission page, you can clearly understand the progress of your workflows, such as how many workflows have been submitted, how many steps have been completed, and so on.
For more details, please check out our help documentation: WORKFLOW.
January 30, 2018
When it comes to PDF files, some text fields are designed for writing letter by letter in connected text cells; one cell being made to suit one letter or one number. For example, a driver license number or passport number etc. Before this feature was created, in order to come up with a tidy PDF containing such text format, you had to create much smaller text inputs and the user could only input the characters one by one, jumping from one cell to another. Now you can simply adjust the space between the letters, spreading them into those text cells in a neat and even manner, after typing them all at once.
January 23, 2018
Use A Custom Domain Name For Your Forms
We pleased to announce a new feature: you can share forms using your domain name URL! This feature is also called Custom Domain or Domain Name Masking. For example, the URL of your form was
https://form.platoforms.com/frcaserswr. After set up, your form URL will be
https://sales.yourdomainhere.com/form/frcaserswr. With this feature, you can easily hide platoforms.com from your customers.
To utilise this feature, you must own a domain name and have permission to change its DNS records (i.e. adding CNAME records for your subdomain name).
After you update the CNAME in your DNS registrar, our system will automatically install an SSL certificate to protect your form with HTTPS. Thanks to Let’s Encrypt, this certification is 100% free and we automatically handle everything for you, from installation to renewal.
For more details on how to set up, please check out our help documentation: CUSTOM DOMAIN.
December 12, 2017
A New Way To Present Your PDF Form Online
Our current service converts your regular PDF into an online web form. This allows your clients to fill out a PDF without any hassle, as it becomes just a typical online form. However, building the form may be a challenge that will test your patience, especially if your PDF is complex. Today, we are pleased to announce a new way to create your PDF form online. In this new mode, you simply drag and drop the input elements into your PDF to make it fillable. Even if your PDF already has a fillable form, this process will take just a snap as our system automatically does this for you. After the PDF form has been built, you can also publish it as a web page, then either embed it in your website or share its URL. Your clients can then open the web page and fill and submit the form. It is as simple as it sounds.
Here is the comparison of these two form creation methods: TRY THEM NOW.
Online Web Form
We transform your PDF form into a web form that is easy for everyone to fill out. Our web forms are compatible with all web browsers and they provide great mobile experiences and fast page loading. It will take more effort to build this form (as opposed to an online PDF) because you have to cover the web form and PDF mapping.
Online PDF Form
This is easy to build, keeps all the details from your original PDF, and is suitable for any complex PDF form. This form is only compatible with the latest web browsers – like Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, and Edge – not IE. The page loading speed could be slightly slower if your PDF has many images.
One More Thing
We also have a great feature that was just released last month. If you don’t have a PDF just yet, you can always build one from scratch. We support most elements, regardless of their field type – text input, checkboxes, signatures, etc. Once you have completed the design of your PDF, you can convert it with one single click to our online web form^ or online PDF form. That’s all you need to do to allow your customers to complete it online!
^ You still need to map the PDF label to the web form label.
For more details, please check out our help documentation: ONLINE PDF FORM BUILDER.
September 1, 2017
Create PDFs From Scratch
I am pleased to announce PlatoForms can now make a fillable PDF document from scratch. The PDF Maker is a drag-and-drop editor to create a PDF from scratch. It supports various form field types – e.g., input box, choice, dropdown, signature, etc. All of these fields can have customised properties, for example: font, size, colour, border, background, etc.
The created PDF form will be read-only at this stage. To make it fillable, you can press the
Make Online Form button on the editor function bar. PlatoForms will then convert this PDF to an online form. All PDF fields are mapped to relative online form fields. When your created PDF is converted to an online form, you need to bind the label, help text, or placeholder for the input fields. We try to make this as easy as possible, so all these inputs have auto-completed context text, which is extracted from your PDF.
You can create unlimited PDF documents and this feature is totally FREE!
For more details, please check out our help documentation: PDF MAKER.
August 15, 2017
Improvement Of Form Usability
With our form builder you can create a form easily. But this is far from enough if you just simply append various input widgets into a form. Here we introduce some tips to improve the usability of your form, which will help your customers complete it more efficiently. This also makes your collected data more accurate.
Use A Different Sub-Type For Single Text
In a single line text input dialogue, you can choose the sub-type, e.g. number, email, date, date and time, URL, etc. Once you choose the sub-type, the input text is restricted to this particular type. For example, if you want to ask for the user’s email, the email sub-type will ensure that only the email addresses are accepted.
Single Choice Vs. Multiple Choice
If your PDF has options, the Choice widget is made just for that purpose. Depending on your requirements, you can set it as single or multiple choices. For example, in a car sale contract PDF there are two options: a one-month warranty or a three-month warranty. Obviously, the customer can only choose one of them. In this case, Single Choice is definitely the correct choice. You simply add the choice item – i.e. 1-month warranty and 3-month warranty – and turn off Multiple Choice. After that, your form only accepts users making one choice from the warranty options.
You can use the most common scenarios for the dropdown options, for instance if the text input is Gender, City, Language, etc. which have only limited selections and you want the PDF to have consistent text. For example, you may put Female or Male as dropdown options in the gender box. If the form uses single line text, you may get various different inputs, such as, man, woman, boy, etc. That may be harder to work with as data and not what you were wanting..
Required Or Optional
All form widgets have this option. They automatically default to YES, meaning that your customer must fill in the field. However, in some cases, you may consider turning this off to make the field optional.
In Multiple Line Text or Single Line Text, you can add some validations to restrict user input. The most common case is maximum or minimum length. This helps you to control what the user inputs in line with your expectations. We will give more details about validation in the next blog post.
You can find more details in our help documentation: FIELD PROPERTIES.
August 10, 2017
Export Form Submissions
When your customer submits a form, our system will send you an email with the form generated PDF to your inbox. From our Submissions page, you can review the submission data and download or re-generate the PDF etc. You can also export the data.
Click the Export Submissions button and select a date range to set the scope of submissions to download. Before exporting, our system cleverly tells you how many submissions are within your selected period. Click the Export button and a zip file will start to download within a few seconds. The package includes one or more CSV format files – if this form has multiple revisions, like if you have published this form multiple times, the zip file will include a different CSV for each revision of the form.
You can open the CSV file with any plain text editor, MS Excel, or MacOS Numbers. All submissions of raw data are included, even the generated PDF URL. It is an easy alternative to our API if you want to import data into your system.
For more details, please check out our help documentation: EXPORT FORM SUBMISSIONS.
July 31, 2017
Web form designer
We pleased to announce that our form designer feature is released today! With our form designer, you can easily change form colour, font, size, layout, etc. It also supports embedded CSS to give you the super power to totally customise your form’s look and feel.
To access our form designer, in the form builder page press the Preview Form button on the top navigation bar. In the new window, click the Form Design button on the top right. The form designer is presented as a sidebar on the left-hand side. It is extremely easy to use. All changes are immediately reflected on the form in the preview section. Once you are satisfied with the new UI, Apply the design to save it. Note that this won’t impact the sharing form if it was published before. The new look is only exposed to the public when you publish the form again. This means you won’t impact your customers with an intermediary work, and you can save your design work frequently.
The form designer has two tabs. The first is Design, which is enough for most customisation requirements. If you want to have maximum control over your form, you can paste the CSS content in the second tab. All CSS in this tab has higher priority than defaults, meaning it will overwrite the existing styles.
For more details, please check out our help documentation: FORM DESIGNER.
July 28, 2017
Checkbox Vs. Radio Button
In a PDF, you usually need a tick or cross to mark selections.
Choice is the proper widget to fit in. There are two kinds of Choice: one is
Checkbox, which allows multiple selections, and the other is
Radio Button, which allows only one selection. From its properties dialogue, you can turn on/off the
Multiple Choices option to switch between easily.
Press Add Choice to add more items. Each item has a draggable square widget in the right-hand side PDF panel, just drag it to the proper location in your PDF. In the web form, each Choice item has a different label to tell what this option is for. Once it is selected in the web form, a tick or cross is rendered into your PDF at the location you dragged.
With the Other Choice option you can add a text box in the web form, which is rendered as text in your PDF.
For more details, please check out our help documentation: CHOICE PROPERTIES.
July 23, 2017
Clone A Form
It usually takes a while to create a form from scratch, especially, if your PDF is complex. It would be frustrating to rebuild the entire form if you only want to make some minor changes, for example, adding or removing a field, or changing the form layout slightly. With the
Clone Form function, you can fix this easily.
Clone form will reuse all the form widgets in the old version of your PDF. You only need to patch the revised part. For example, if you want to add a new text box in your PDF, after cloning the form you only need to insert a text widget in our form builder and drag it to the correct place in the PDF. It’s a breeze to publish the new version of your PDF.
For more details, please check out our help documentation: CLONE FORM.
July 16, 2017
Preview With Sample Data
In the form builder, you can fill in some data in the preview section in the field properties popup. For example, if you input “John Joe” into the text input field in the preview section and click the
Fill Preview Data button in the top function bar at the web for preview page. Then this input field will be automatically filled with “John Joe” as sample data. This can save lots of your time when you want to preview generated PDFs after forms have been submitted. In the form builder page, “John Joe” is also rendered in your PDF when you press
Note, not all fields can set pre-filled data. Only
Signature can have sample data. For
File Upload or
Captcha, you always have to fill them in manually.
For more details, please check out our help documentation: FORM PREVIEW.
June 1, 2017
API Version 1 Released
We pleased to announce that we are releasing our API today! This is our first version and it provides the functionality to retrieve your forms or submission information programmatically. More than API, we support the Webhook (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Webhook) method to let our users receive real-time notifications when forms get new submissions.
The API is protected by OAuth2 protocol. You need to log in to our dashboard – go to “Profile” -> “API Access”. Under this section, you can add an “OAuth2 Application”. As well as an application name you need to provide a redirect URL. After saving the application, we will generate a Client ID and Client Secret for your OAuth2 access. For more details about how to use OAuth2, check out its offical website. Digital ocean also has a very good article about OAuth2.
In the “API Access” page you also can set up Webhook. Press “Add Webhook”, then input a name and your URL to listen to Webhook events. By default, that URL will be monitoring the submissions of all your published forms. After setup, once a new submission occurs and its PDF is generated, our platform will send a Webhook JSON message to your given URL. Inside the message will be the URL of the generated PDF. To download the PDF you need to follow same authorisation process of OAuth2.
For more technical details and examples, please check out our API documentation.
The API and Webhook are available on all our plans with different usage volume limitations. They are also free to use for our trial users.