PDF types in LibreOffice

PDF Forms

PDF forms can be filled in by users and emailed from a web page with a simple script (examples of which can be found online for different programming languages, such as JavaScript or Python). To make a form, open a new Writer file and select View | Toolbars | Form Controls. If you are doing a long, complicated form, you might also select the Form Design toolbar, which contains such useful tools as the Form Navigator, as well as buttons for toggling the design grid. Otherwise, you can get by with just the Form Controls toolbar.

To begin designing a form, toggle on Design Mode in the Form Design toolbar. You can add all the usual widgets to the form, defining their size and position with the mouse. Available widgets include input fields, option buttons, checkboxes, and combo boxes. Each widget can be further defined by clicking on it and making selections from the Properties Checkbox dialog (Figure 3).

Figure 3: The tools for creating a PDF form.

When you are finished, save the form and select File | Export As | Export as PDF… | General | Create PDF form. You will also need to make a choice from the Submit format combo box to choose the format in which completed forms will be sent: FDF, PDF, HTML, or XML. You can check the results by opening the resulting PDF and trying to write in a field or use a widget.


To some extent, these options can be combined. You can combine a Hybrid and Archive PDF without difficulty or use either with a PDF form. However, there would be no point in using a PDF form or an Archive PDF with a Tagged PDF, because their purposes are more or less opposing ones.

And what if you choose File | Export As | Export As PDF and simply accept LibreOffice's default settings? Then your only concern is to name your file. I have not found a complete list of PDF export defaults, but presumably the settings are those that are active when you open the PDF Options dialog, including JPEG compression set at 90%, Tagged PDF, and Export bookmarks. These defaults work extremely well for many purposes, but it can be useful to remember that they are not the only options when you create PDFs with LibreOffice.

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