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Forms Data Format Funktionen




FDF Funktionen


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info at theindigoworks dot com
12.07.2007 17:49
re. g8z at yahoo dot com 18-Oct-2004 06:46

I think there is a line missing in

foreach ($keys as $key => $value)
        $key = addcslashes($key, "\n\r\t\\()");
        $fdf .= "<< /T ($key) /V /$value >> \n";

I have changed it to read

 $key = addcslashes($key, "\n\r\t\\()");
$value = addcslashes($value, "\n\r\t\\()");
   $fdf .= "<< /T ($key) /V /$value >> \n";

Now all the check boxes and radio buttons are populated, not just the last one in the form as was happening before.
wesley_grant at yahoo dot com
12.01.2006 0:37
Changing the


directive in the php.ini file to 'private'

seems to resolve the issue with sending fdf data and session headers at the same time to Internet Explorer.
bmount at livid dot us
19.10.2005 17:05
For those of you struggling with FDF in Internet Explorer, here is your solution:


This will fix the page not found error.

3.05.2005 22:08
Use "Yes" instead of "On" to populate checkboxes.
g8z at yahoo dot com
18.10.2004 8:46
This is for users who are looking for a way to merge HTML form data with a PDF Form, then output the PDF Form with data populated in it, to a web browser.

This is a pure PHP solution which does NOT require the FDF toolkit. Contributed by


// the full http path to the PDF form
$form = '';

create_fdf ($pdffile, $strings, $keys)
$fdf = "%FDF-1.2\n%\n";
$fdf .= "1 0 obj \n<< /FDF << /Fields [\n";

    foreach (
$strings as $key => $value)
$key = addcslashes($key, "\n\r\t\\()");
$value = addcslashes($value, "\n\r\t\\()");
$fdf .= "<< /T ($key) /V ($value) >> \n";
    foreach (
$keys as $key => $value)
$key = addcslashes($key, "\n\r\t\\()");
$fdf .= "<< /T ($key) /V /$value >> \n";

$fdf .= "]\n/F ($pdffile) >>";
$fdf .= ">>\nendobj\ntrailer\n<<\n";
$fdf .= "/Root 1 0 R \n\n>>\n";
$fdf .= "%%EOF";


// Fill in text fields
$strings = array(
'date' => '10/17/2004',
'full_name' => 'Joe Doe',
'phone_num' => '123-4567',
'company' => 'ACME Widgets',
'amount' => 'USD 100.00'

// Fill in check boxes/radio buttons
$keys = array('
=> 'male',//radio button
'is_adult' => 'Off',//checkbox
'urgent' => 'On'//checkbox

// Output the PDF form, with form data filled-in
header('Content-type: application/vnd.fdf');
create_fdf($form, $strings, $keys);

sid at accesspdf dot com
7.10.2004 20:09
Basic FDF data is easy to create using native PHP; you don't need Adobe's FDF Toolkit. I wrote a function for this purpose called forge_fdf(). You can download it from:

I created it for my book, PDF Hacks. An example of forge_fdf() in action can be viewed online:

Download the full code for this online example from:

Note how the PDF form data is submitted back to the server via POST rather than FDF. No need to parse FDF.


Sid Steward
ronsantiago at hotmail dot com
3.10.2004 6:18
Use these functions instead if you want to create an FDF file without installing the FDF toolkit. You would use it the same way as the fdf_* functions. BTW, I only wrote the basic library functions for creating FDFs.

define('ntk_FDFValue', 0);
define('ntk_FDFStatus', 1);
define('ntk_FDFFile', 2);
define('ntk_FDFID',    3);
define('ntk_FDFFf',    5);
define('ntk_FDFSetFf', 6);
define('ntk_FDFClearFf', 7);
define('ntk_FDFFlags', 8);
define('ntk_FDFSetF', 9);
define('ntk_FDFClrF',    10);
define('ntk_FDFAP',    11);
define('ntk_FDFAS',    12);
define('ntk_FDFAction',    13);
define('ntk_FDFAA',    14);
define('ntk_FDFAPRef', 15);
define('ntk_FDFIF',    16);
define('ntk_FDFEnter', 0);
define('ntk_FDFExit',    1);
define('ntk_FDFDown',    2);
define('ntk_FDFUp',    3);
define('ntk_FDFFormat',    4);
define('ntk_FDFValidate',    5);
define('ntk_FDFKeystroke', 6);
define('ntk_FDFCalculate', 7);
define('ntk_FDFNormalAP',    1);
define('ntk_FDFRolloverAP',    2);
define('ntk_FDFDownAP',    3);

function ntk_fdf_header() {
  header('Content-type: application/vnd.fdf');

function ntk_fdf_create() {
  $fdf['header'] = "%FDF-1.2\n%\n1 0 obj \n<< /FDF ";
  $fdf['trailer'] = ">>\nendobj\ntrailer\n<<\n/Root 1 0 R \n\n>>\n%%EOF";
  return $fdf;

function ntk_fdf_close(&$fdf) {

function ntk_fdf_set_file(&$fdf, $pdfFile) {
  $fdf['file'] = $pdfFile;

function ntk_fdf_set_target_frame(&$fdf, $target) {
  $fdf['target'] = $target;

function ntk_fdf_set_value(&$fdf, $fieldName, $fieldValue) {
  $fdf['values'] = array_merge($fdf['values'], array($fieldName => $fieldValue));

function ntk_fdf_add_doc_javascript(&$fdf, $scriptName, $script) {
  $fdf['docscripts'] = array_merge($fdf['docscripts'], array($scriptName => $script));

function ntk_fdf_set_javascript_action(&$fdf, $fieldName, $trigger, $script) {
  $fdf['fieldscripts'] = array_merge($fdf['fieldscripts'], array($fieldName => array($script, $trigger)));

function ntk_fdf_save(&$fdf, $fdfFile = null) {
  $search = array('\\', '(', ')');
  $replace = array('\\\\', '\(', '\)');
  $fdfStr = $fdf['header'];
  $fdfStr.= "<< ";
  if(isset($fdf['file'])) {
    $fdfStr.= "/F (".$fdf['file'].") ";
  if(isset($fdf['target'])) {
    $fdfStr.= "/Target (".$fdf['target'].") ";

  if(isset($fdf['docscripts'])) {
    $fdfStr.= "/JavaScript << /Doc [\n";
    // populate the doc level javascripts
    foreach($fdf['docscripts'] as $key => $value) {
      $fdfStr.= "(".str_replace($search, $replace, $key).")(".str_replace($search, $replace, $value).")";
    $fdfStr.= "\n] >>\n";

  if(isset($fdf['values']) || isset($fdf['fieldscripts'])) {
    // field level
    $fdfStr.= "/Fields [\n";

    if(isset($fdf['fieldscripts'])) {
      // populate the field level javascripts
      foreach($fdf['fieldscripts'] as $key => $val) {
        $fdfStr .= "<< /A << /S /JavaScript /JS (".str_replace($search, $replace, $val[0]).") >> /T (".str_replace($search, $replace, $key).") >>\n";
    if(isset($fdf['values'])) {
      // populate the fields
      foreach($fdf['values'] as $key => $value) {
        $fdfStr .= "<< /V (".str_replace($search, $replace, $value).") /T (".str_replace($search, $replace, $key).") >>\n";

    $fdfStr.= "]\n";
  $fdfStr.= ">>";
  $fdfStr.= $fdf['trailer'];

  if($fdfFile) {
    $handle = fopen($fdfFile, 'w');
    fwrite($handle, $fdfStr);
  else {
    echo $fdfStr;
m1tk4 at hotmail dot com
1.07.2004 7:34
If you want to add FDF support without rebuilding your RedHat EL3 / Fedora PHP RPMs, see instructions at
software at yvanrodrigues dot com
25.03.2004 23:16
Do not use version 6 of the fdftk.dll (windows) with PHP4.3.4, use the one that comes with PHP.

If you use the newer DLL fdf_create will not return a valid handle.
fleischer at mail dot com
18.12.2003 16:40
The code suggested by greg@... and adam@... is extremely helpful, but I've found out (the hard way) that unclosed parentheses within strings contained in the input array ($values in greg's code or $pdf_data in adam's) will cause Acrobat to issue an error to the effect that the file is corrupted. In other words, if there are strings such as "a) my first point; b) my second point" in the input array, the resulting PDF/FDF file will be considered corrupted by Acrobat. This apparently happens because all the field names in the structure of an FDF file are enclosed in parentheses.

The solution I've devised is to escape all opening and closing parentheses with a backslash, which in turn means you need to escape all backslashes. The code below does all that.



function output_fdf ($pdf_file, $pdf_data)
    $fdf = "%FDF-1.2\n%\n";
    $fdf .= "1 0 obj \n<< /FDF ";
    $fdf .= "<< /Fields [\n";

    $search = array('\\', '(', ')');
    $replace = array('\\\\', '\(', '\)');
    foreach ($pdf_data as $key => $val)
        $clean_key = str_replace($search, $replace, $key);
        $clean_val = str_replace($search, $replace, $val);
        $fdf .= "<< /V ($clean_val)/T ($clean_key) >> \n";

    $fdf .= "]\n/F ($pdf_file) >>";
    $fdf .= ">>\nendobj\ntrailer\n<<\n";
    $fdf .= "/Root 1 0 R \n\n>>\n";
    $fdf .= "%%EOF";

    return $fdf;
mirage at rateaprof dot com
8.05.2003 14:33
If you get the new  fdftkv5.tar.gz  from adobe's site (per the link above), you'll get some totally new spacing and capitalization of files.  To make the current 4.3.1 configure, you need to do a few things.

untar fdftkv5.tar.gz into /usr/local
cd /usr/local
#for ease of use
ln -s FDFToolkit\ for\ UNIX fdf

cd fdf
ln -s Headers\ And\ Libraries HeadersAndLibraries

#may need to modify the following for your OS
ln -s LINUX linux
cd linux/C

cd ..
cd ..
ln -s Headers headers
cd headers
ln -s FDFTK.H fdftk.h

And that should get you going... and to whoever is maintaining the configure script, please be aware there are changes in the FDF Toolkit.
5.03.2003 15:17
Maybe you have to use Header-function that your browser will regonize xfdf-file. Like this:

Header( "Content-type: application/vnd.adobe.xfdf");
jeff at cowart dot net
20.01.2003 5:06
I have tried to use the scripts above by adam and Toppi and I have been unable to get them to work unless I save the generated fdf file and then open it manually in acrobat.
Toppi at i-Mehl dot De
26.11.2002 21:18
I tried a lot with FDF -> PDF and merging these documents...
in my opinon xfdf is more handy than fdf... for those who'd like to try: feel free to use this little function to generate an xfdf document from an array.


function array2xfdf($xfdf_data, $pdf_file) {
// Creates an XFDF File from a 2 dimensional
// Array Format: "array ("key1" => "content1", "key2" => "content2");
$xfdf = "<?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8'?>\n";
$xfdf .= "<xfdf xmlns='' xml:space='preserve'>\n";
$xfdf .= "<fields>\n";
// Loop -> Array to XFDF Data
foreach ($xfdf_data as $key => $val) {
$xfdf .= "<field name='".$key."'>\n";
$xfdf .= "<value>".$val."</value>\n";
$xfdf .= "</field>\n";
// XFDF "Footer"
$xfdf .= "</fields>";
$xfdf .= "<f href='".$pdf_file."'/>";
$xfdf .= "</xfdf>";
return $xfdf;
mitka at
22.10.2002 1:24

If you handled the FDF POSTs via $HTTP_RAW_POST_DATA as in user contributed scripts above, it's good to know that once you decide to rebuild PHP with FDFToolkit support, $HTTP_RAW_POST_DATA will be undefined.

Good news - $HTTP_FDF_DATA _will_ be defined instead. (Look at the example above).To get the user contributed scripts working in both plain PHP and PHP+FDFToolkit use


where $HTTP_RAW_POST_DATA mentioned.

Dimitri Tarassenko
adam at andemyte dot com
2.08.2002 20:30
Here is yet another example of generating pre-filled PDFs without using the FDF functions. This function takes two args: a URL to the PDF (like "" and an array with all the field's values.

    any content is spooled to the browser, or the function will fail!
    void output_fdf (string $pdf_file, array $pdf_data)

        $pdf_file:  a string containing a URL path to a PDF file on the
                    server. This PDF MUST exist and contain fields with
                    the names referenced by $pdf_data for this function
                    to work.
        $pdf_data:  an array of any fields in $pdf_file that you want to
                    populate, of the form key=>val; where the field
                    name is the key, and the field's value is in val.

function output_fdf ($pdf_file, $pdf_data) {
    $fdf = "%FDF-1.2\n%\n";
    $fdf .= "1 0 obj \n<< /FDF ";
    $fdf .= "<< /Fields [\n";
    foreach ($pdf_data as $key => $val)
        $fdf .= "<< /V ($val)/T ($key) >> \n";
    $fdf .= "]\n/F ($pdf_file) >>";
    $fdf .= ">>\nendobj\ntrailer\n<<\n";
    $fdf .= "/Root 1 0 R \n\n>>\n";
    $fdf .= "%%EOF";
    /* Now we display the FDF data which causes Acrobat to start  */
    header ("Content-Type: application/vnd.fdf");
    print $fdf;
noah at NOSPAMbrandfidelity dot com
9.03.2002 5:26
function parse($file) {
                if (!preg_match_all("/<<\s*\/V([^>]*)>>/x",
                for ($i=0;$i<count($out);$i++) {
                        $pattern = "<<.*/V\s*(.*)\s*/T\s*(.*)\s*>>";
                        $thing = $out[$i][1];
                        if (eregi($pattern,$out[$i][0],$regs)) {
                                $key = $regs[2];
                                $val = $regs[1];
                                $key = preg_replace("/^\s*\(/","",$key);
                                $key = preg_replace("/\)$/","",$key);
                                $key = preg_replace("/\\\/","",$key);
                                $val = preg_replace("/^\s*\(/","",$val);
                                $val = preg_replace("/\)$/","",$val);
                                $matches[$key] = $val;
                return $matches;
gregDELETETHIS at laundrymat dot tv
22.12.2001 0:06
Here is an easy script to output fdf data to the browser without using the fdf toolkit or creating an actual fdf file on the server.
By the way acrobat is very picky about line breaks so you must leave the "\n" in the script. The script reads the variables posted to it from a form use POST and creates a fdf file from them. The field names posted to this script must match the field names in the pdf. Acrobat will ignore any that don't match.


//path to pdf file


$fdfdata = "%FDF-1.2\n%\n";
$fdfdata .= "1 0 obj \n<< /FDF ";
$fdfdata .= "<< /Fields [\n";

//loop that adds the field names and values
foreach($values as $key=>$val)
$fdfdata.="<< /V ($val)/T ($key) >> ";

$fdfdata .= "]\n";
$fdfdata .= "/F ($url) >>";
$fdfdata .= ">>\nendobj\ntrailer\n<<\n/Root 1 0 R\n>>\n";
$fdfdata .= "%%EOF";

/*** Now we display the FDF data which causes Acrobat to start  ***/

header ("Content-Type: application/vnd.fdf");


You can use javascript in the pdf to read the values from a GET method posted directly to the pdf. you can see both methods here:
joe at koontz dot net
29.04.2000 1:42
The simplest thing to do is get the FDF data from $HTTP_RAW_POST_DATA.  (unless you have the server library installed none of the fdf data gets parsed!) This is typical of  what you get:
1 0 obj
/FDF << /Fields [ << /V (0)/T (amount0)>> << /V (0)/T (amount1)>> << /V (0)/T (amount2)>>
<< /V (0)/T (amount3)>> << /V (0)/T (amount4)>> << /V (0)/T (amount5)>>
<< /V (0)/T (amount6)>> << /V (0)/T (amount7)>> << /V (0)/T (amount8)>>
<< /V (0)/T (amount9)>> << /V /0102 /T (chase_bk)>> << /V (0)/T (count)>>
<< /V (0)/T (invtotal)>> << /V (12/21/2000)/T (sent_ap)>> << /V /Off /T (spec_hand)>>
<< /V (041232)/T (transit_no)>> << /V (THIS FORM IS NOT COMPLETE!!!)/T (X)>>
/F (>>
/Root 1 0 R

kill everything before the [ and then parse it down into key value pairs. 
I wrote this to create an FDF, make sure you do a
header("Content-type: application/vnd.fdf");
before you echo the returned value to the user.

function FDFput($FDFpage){
$A = "%FDF-1.2\n1 0 obj\n<< \n/FDF << /Fields [ \n";
$C = " ] \n"    ;
     if (
$FDFpage>"" ) {$C .=" /F ($FDFpage)>>\n";}
$C .= ">>\n>> \nendobj\ntrailer\n\n<</Root 1 0 R>>\n%%EOF\n";
$B = "";
 while (list(
$key, $val) = each($FDFData))
  if (
strlen(trim($val)) > 0 && is_string($key))
$B .= "<</T ($key) /V (". $val . ")>>\n";
//echo     "<</T ($key) /V (". $val . ")>>\n";

It ain't perfect - but it works. (I use HTML for posting to the server, FDF to the browser)

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