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 PDF Link & PDF Action

A PDF Link takes you to other location in the same document, to other document, or to website.
A PDF Action defines the actions to be taken in response to various trigger events affecting the document as a whole.
You can add the most common PDF Link & Action into your PDF document:

  1. No Action
  2. Open a Web Link
  3. Reset a Form
  4. Submit a Form
  5. Run a Javascript
  6. Named Action
  7. Go to Local Page
  8. Go to Another PDF
  9. Launch Application or Document

A Trigger determines how action is activated in form fields. For each action, there are six action trigger types:

Mouse Up

When the mouse button is released after a click. This is the most common button trigger, because it gives the user one last chance to drag the pointer off the button and not activate the action. In most cases, Mouse Up is the preferred trigger for Push Button Form Field.

Mouse Down

When the mouse button is clicked (without being released).

Mouse Enter

When the pointer enters the field or play area.

Mouse Exit

When the pointer exits the field or play area.

On Focus (Get Focus)

When the link area receives focus, either through a mouse action or tabbing.

On Blur (Lose Focus)

When the focus moves to a different link area. In most cases, On Blur is the preferred trigger for Text Form Field's Calculation.

Please note that the PDF form Field cannot be set as Read-Only to use PDF Action.

1. No Action

2. Open a Web Link

A uniform resource identifier (URI) is a string that identifies (resolves to) a resource on the Internettypically a file that is the destination of a hypertext link.
Here are some examples to open a Web or Email Link:



:support@pdfill.com?subject=my subject

:support@pdfill.com?subject=my subject&cc=barfoo@foobar.com&bcc=secretfoo@bar.com&body=type body line here

3. Reset a Form

A reset-form action resets the entire interactive form fields to their default values.

4. Submit a Form

PDF forms as well as HTML forms can be used in a transaction between an end user and the form provider, but the approach between the two types of interactive forms is quite different. If your form is shortfor instance, a two-box login formyou should prefer HTML over PDF. A PDF form is typically preferred when you want to keep the layout of an existing paper form: Some people fill in the form online, whereas other people print it and fill it in manually. HTML forms dont look nice when printed out.

Forms Data Format (FDF) is the file format used for interactive form data. FDF is used when submitting form data to a server, receiving the response, and incorporating it into the interactive form. It can also be used to export form data to stand-alone files that can be stored, transmitted electronically, and imported back into the corresponding PDF interactive form.

You must put your PDF Form under your Web Server to avoid "Html/text" error. Also, Adobe Reader 7.0 and later is recommended for submit.

4.1. Email Form Data in FDF Format
You can ask your client to email the filled form data by email. Here is the format:

mailto:test@yourmail.com?subject=My Subject&body=Here is my form data.

See the steps on How to submit PDF Form Data (FDF) by Email.

4.2. Submit a Form In FDF Format
In your server, you can easily save the raw data as a FDF. You can save it into your database or let the client user to download this new FDF. The user can save this FDF with the original PDF form. When this FDF is open,  the original PDF form is filled and ready to print.

PDFill Provides FREE Form Data Submit Services http://www.pdfill.com/example/submit/fdf_submit_free.php

You can ask your client user to email the very compact FDF file instead of the entire PDF Form.

Instead, you can use this link to test your FDF submit:  http://www.pdfill.com/example/submit/fdf_submit_free.php. Please see this example PHP Code to handle this Online PDF Form Data submitted in FDF Format.

4.3. Submit a Form In HTML Format
The data in your form is submitted to the server as an HTML POST. You can retrieve the parameters from the request object as if it is a HTML form. Please see
this example PHP Code to handle this Online PDF Form Data submitted in HTML Format.  You can easily save the filled data into excel, Text, FDF, XFDF, or database in your server. 

4.4. Submit a Form In XFDF Format
XML Forms Data Format(XFDF), a version of FDF based on XML. XFDF is described in the Adobe technical note XML Forms Data Format Specification, Version 2.0. XML is described in the W3C document Extensible Markup Language (XML) 1.1). You can use any XML parser to get the field names and their values. Please see
this example PHP Code to handle this Online PDF Form Data submitted in XPDF Format.

4.5. Email the Entire PDF
Enter the "Email To", "Email CC", "Email BCC", "Email Title", "Email Body".

See the steps on
How to Submit Entire PDF by Email using PDFill PDF Form Maker

5. Run a JavaScript

 Here are some examples:

JavaScript Function
this.print(true); Print  the PDF document
app.alert('Hello!'); Give a message
app.launchURL("http://www.pdfill.com", true); create the link in PDF that will open the URL in NEW window
this.getField("Text3").value = this.getField("Text1").value + this.getField("Text2").value; Add Simple Calculation
var f = this.getField("Text1");
f.value = util.printd("mmm/d/yyyy", new Date());
Insert the current date into a Text Field
var url = "mailto:johndoe@doe.net";
this.submitForm(url, true);
Send form data (FDF) to an e-mail address
this.mailDoc(false, "to@email.com", "cc@email.com",  "bcc@email.com", "title", "body of text"); Send the entire PDF to an email address (Adobe Reader XI is required)
var nHide = event.target.isBoxChecked(0)?display.visible:display.hidden;
this.getField("Text1").display = nHide;
Show or Hide a Text Box using a Check Box
if (event.target.value== "Yes")
    this.getField("Text1").hidden = true;
    this.getField("Text1").hidden = false;
Use a Check Box Form Field to Show or Hide a Text Box

Example PFL and PDF

//Under Custom Keystroke Script of "Text1"

if ( event.fieldFull || event.willCommit )

Make a multiple line form that text flows through one to another: Set Font Size not Auto (0); Uncheck "scroll long text".

Acrobat Forms API Referencehttp://www.pdfill.com/download/FormsAPIReference.pdf
Acrobat JavaScript Scripting Guidehttp://www.pdfill.com/download/Acro6JSGuide.pdf

Acrobat JavaScript Scripting Reference http://www.pdfill.com/download/AcroJS.pdf

6. Named Action

PDF viewers support a list of named actions that can be created with

  • First Page  Jumps to the first page

  • Previous Page  Jumps to the previous page

  • Next Page  Jumps to the next page

  • Last Page   Jumps to the last page

  • Print Dialog  Opens a dialog box for printing

7. Go to Local Page

Display the page, with the coordinates (left, top) positioned at the top-left corner of the window and the contents of the page magnified by the factor zoom. A negative value for any of the parameters left or top, or a zoom value of 0 specifies that the current value of that parameter is to be retained unchanged.

Page Number - a specific page number

Left - the left value. A value of 0 or negative keeps the current value.

Top - the top value. A value of 0 or negative keeps the current value.

Zoom - The zoom factor. A value of 0 or negative keeps the current value.

8. Go to Another PDF

Page Number: a specific page number

PDF Path Name: The path name of a remote PDF file.  Example:  /C/MyFolder/MyFile.pdf    ../MyFile.pdf

9. Launch Application or Document

A launch action launches an application or opens or prints a document.

For security reason, Adobe Reader has disabled this function after version 9.3.

Application - the application to be launched or the document to be opened or printed.

Parameters - (Windows-specific) A parameter string to be passed to the application. It can be empty.

Operation - (Windows-specific) the operation to perform: "open" - Open a document, "print" - Print a document. It can be empty.

DefaultDir - (Windows-specific) the default directory in standard DOS syntax. It can be empty.


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