Analyzing forms for automation with Forms InMotion

Forms InMotion gives your users a friendly, simple interface to fill out multiple forms in a single session without entering the same data more than once. Administrators define the relationships between fields on a form and use our configuration interface to map the fields on each form.

There are some simple steps you can take when analyzing forms for field mapping automation. The first thing to consider is if you have the need for a coversheet or wizard before the user sees the PDF forms.

Do you have frequent errors or omissions with your current process?

If you are sending forms back to users to fix mistakes, you should consider front-loading your forms with a customized coversheet. A coversheet is a custom form written with HTML5, CSS and Javascript. It provides multiple options for calculating and validating data entered by your user using commonly available libraries and frameworks.

Do you need to bring data into your forms from your internal systems or other APIs?

A coversheet allows you to integrate external APIs to get data for your forms. For example, your expense reporting worksheet could use the Google Maps API to calculate the distance between two addresses for mileage reimbursement. You can also use our secure Query API to fetch data from your internal databases, such as your employee directory, to automatically populate frequently entered or otherwise known information. Other examples include store or office location lists, customer lists, invoice numbers, GL coding numbers and employee credit card transactions.

Using a spreadsheet for form analysis

If you are using a Coversheet, your spreadsheet should contain columns as follows:

  1. Label: The text label displayed to the user above the field.
  2. Input Type: This corresponds to the type of input the user will interact with. This could be a single-line of text, multiple lines of text, checkbox, radio button, select list, etc.
  3. ID: A unique ID for the input. Forms InMotion’s data output uses the ID to identify the field in submission XML and CSV output.
  4. Name: If you are using radio buttons, a name is a unique identifier for the group of radio buttons. This ensures that only 1 radio in the group is selected.
  5. Value: For radio buttons and checkboxes, specify a value that is passed through to the data output when the form is submitted.
  6. Required: (true/false) Is this field required to be filled before submitting the form?
  7. Data-attribute ID: If this field is used for calculations or other attribute-based javascript functions, specify the name of the attribute.
  8. Data-attribute Value: If an attribute is defined above, what is the value of the data attribute?
  9. Custom Function: Define any custom functions for this field, such as validate email, mask to phone number, etc.
  10. Help text: Additional informative text displayed under the field.

Analyzing PDF forms

PDF forms include many of the same features as HTML forms but with more limited functionality. There are a few things to note when creating or using electronically fillable PDF forms.

  • The PDF Acroforms format is preferred but the application can accept LiveCycle PDF forms.
  • Each field must have a unique ID. This allows the application to extract the data entered on the PDF into a separate data output file.
  • If you are converting a form that was originally paper-based, you may have to redefine some of the field types. For instance, a form may be designed with boxes that typically indicate a checkbox input, but the actual intent is for the user to select only one. This will display as a circle in the application and may look confusing to users. If you have the ability to modify forms, it is recommended that you change the control sizing and appearance for users to better understand how to fill the form.