Forms on Ipad
I am looking for a way to be able to take some forms out to field to be able to fill them out and then email the completed form back to my office. Most of the forms already exist in excel format and only need to have a checkbox type answer, although in a few cases a description and comments would be nice. I currenly print the doc out bring it to the field fill it out and then go back to my office and either enter it into the excel sheet or scan and then pdf it. Looking for some ideas. Thanks
I would aslo like to be able to get a signature as well if possible. Sorry should have included this in the first post.
Might be too many steps involved, but...
I use adobe to build my forms. I believe you can convert your excel file to a PDF and retain the check boxes but if not you can add the boxes in adobe pro. Once the form is created you can use the app PDF Expert to fill in the form and sign it. Then you can email it back to the office and they can import the field data into a database in access or a spreadsheet, or they can just print and file.
If you're going to retain the file in PDF format then you have to save it with a unique file name each time you fill it in and send it. Otherwise the new file will over wrote the old file.
No signature idea's, but maybe you could try Google Docs Spreadsheets on the web for form based entries into a Spreadsheet.
For me, I use a Google Docs Spreadsheet for my Gas Mileage tracking. In Google Docs, I created a form for my spreadsheet that I open up on my Android or iPad Safari browser. My spreadsheet form uses drop downs, check boxes, and fill in text fields to enter the data. When I hit submit on my web form, it places the data entered in the appropriate fields in my Google Docs Spreadsheet. So, when I open the spreadsheet, it has all the data I entered at the pump on the last row of the spreadsheet. Google Docs even has a notification system which I set to send me an email alert whenever I post something new to the spreadsheet. I like the email notification since it is a confirmation that my data was saved to the spreadsheet.
Thanks guys good ideas. The only issue with the google docs method might be as an engineer in the field we end in some remote areas so no Internet, at least while in the field my be a possibility. I still like the idea but for this project I am leaning towards something I can have on the iPad, fill out my form or forms and if no Internet keep it stored till I doc my iPad or get to a place I do have access to the Internet. Keep the ideas coming.
Since your forms start out as spreadsheets, why not just use Documents to Go and bypass the whole conversion process.
Combine it with DrobBox and you can keep the forms in the cloud and accessible from both your iPad and computer. Items in Dropbox can be marked as favorites on the the iPad. When you do this DropBox will keep those files synced to the iPad and usable off line.
So here is the scenario I'm thinking.
You have a folder in DropBox with all the standard forms you use. You have all of them favorited, so the iPad hangs on to them and automaticaly updates them on the iPad if you make changes at work.
You open one of these in Documents to Go, and immediate change the name of the document. Make all of your entrees and then save it back to a different folder in DrobBox. Whenever you get back online this form will be automatically synced.
Back in the office you open DropBox on the computer, pull up your excel form and copy paste the information you need back into your records, or however you track things. If you've got a hot script writer you could probably automate that part.
You could actually make your job easier by bypassing the whole PDF thing for data entry.
Now you may have some standard forms that need to be signed or something. Those PDF apps and DropBox would make that sweet too.
Not long ago DropBox gave D7 Consulting a bunch of iPads so they could experiment with using them in the field. It's a good story to follow for those who want to do similar stuff. Here is one of the articles.
Box.net's iPad project at D7 Consulting: How the iPad works at work
Thanks TWERPPOET; I have seen the D7 videos and that's what got me thinking. I have to issues:
1. Company I work for does not allow dropbox or cloud based services at this time, hope I might help change that.
2. Some of the forms I have have to be signed, such a field employee time card.
The thoughts are great this is a great start to help me get some ideas.
My senerio is this I work for an engineering company and we are currently in the very first stages of inplimenting some type of handheld device to the field personal they need to be able to fill in simple forms and also be able to have access to documents in the field, PDF files that can be marked up to meet the actual in field issues found. The people using the devices will not be computer savy and the simplier the better. So my thought process is take out standard excel and word docs we currently use to this and make them PDF files that can be edited that way there is no new form that they have not seen before, no learning curve on what to enter and where. Once the form is complete save it to the device and once back in the office print a copy for our records. The other use would be as an engineering company we take drawings, sketches to the field, where we would mark them up and then bring them back to the office and either scan or mark-up the original pdf file. Again would be able to take these to the field mark them up, even get the changes approved and signed off in the field and then just upload them back at the office. Again this is all just in the beginning stages.
A combination of GoodReader for marking up your PDF's and SignMyPad for creating PDF forms you can fill out sounds like it will work. Don't be fooled by the name, SignMyPad will let you create text and checkbox fields as well as signature areas.
If you haven't done so check them both out in iTunes and on their web sites. The programs are cheap enough that you can get them and experiment. Your boss will ok less than 10 bucks for a trial project, won't he?
GoodReaderUSB might be an option if the office will let you load it onto a workstation.
Both apps will let you email the documents, so that is always doable, and probably would require the least personnel training.
That sounds pretty sweet. Would you consider sharing a blank file?
Originally Posted by DaWeav
I will when I get a little further along in the project maybe a month or so, since I can only work on it in my free time. If you come up with any more thoughts or ideas please let me know. I also hope to incorperate small pictures to so the actual field conditions, maybe some way to markup on those as well. But first the forms part. I have one excel file into a input form, still needs some work. I will keep you informed