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PDF Form Fill and Form Data Extraction in Java

Sample Java code for using PDFTron SDK to programmatically merge forms data with the PDF in order to fill forms, or to extract form field data from the PDF. PDFTron SDK has full support for Forms Data Format (FDF). Learn more about our PDF Form Filler SDK.

Step 1: Get your free trial license key, or sign in

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Step 2: Add the code:

//---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
// Copyright (c) 2001-2019 by PDFTron Systems Inc. All Rights Reserved.
// Consult legal.txt regarding legal and license information.
//---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

import com.pdftron.pdf.*;
import com.pdftron.sdf.SDFDoc;
import com.pdftron.fdf.*;


//---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
// PDFNet includes a full support for FDF (Forms Data Format) and capability to merge/extract 
// forms data (FDF) with/from PDF. This sample illustrates basic FDF merge/extract functionality 
// available in PDFNet.
//---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
public class FDFTest {
    public static void main(String[] args) {

        PDFNet.initialize();

        // Relative path to the folder containing test files.
        String input_path = "../../TestFiles/";
        String output_path = "../../TestFiles/Output/";

        // Example 1)
        // Iterate over all form fields in the document. Display all field names.
        try {
            PDFDoc doc = new PDFDoc((input_path + "form1.pdf"));
            doc.initSecurityHandler();

            for (FieldIterator itr = doc.getFieldIterator(); itr.hasNext(); ) {
                Field current = itr.next();
                System.out.println("Field name: " + current.getName());
                System.out.println("Field partial name: " + current.getPartialName());

                System.out.print("Field type: ");
                int type = current.getType();
                switch (type) {
                    case Field.e_button:
                        System.out.println("Button");
                        break;
                    case Field.e_text:
                        System.out.println("Text");
                        break;
                    case Field.e_choice:
                        System.out.println("Choice");
                        break;
                    case Field.e_signature:
                        System.out.println("Signature");
                        break;
                }

                System.out.println("------------------------------");
            }

            doc.close();
            System.out.println("Done.");
        } catch (Exception e) {
            e.printStackTrace();
        }

        // Example 2) Import XFDF into FDF, then merge data from FDF into PDF
        try {
            // XFDF to FDF
            // form fields
            System.out.println("Import form field data from XFDF to FDF.");

            FDFDoc fdf_doc1 = FDFDoc.createFromXFDF((input_path + "form1_data.xfdf"));
            fdf_doc1.save(output_path + "form1_data.fdf");
            // output FDF fdf_doc1

            // annotations
            System.out.println("Import annotations from XFDF to FDF.");

            FDFDoc fdf_doc2 = FDFDoc.createFromXFDF((input_path + "form1_annots.xfdf"));
            fdf_doc2.save(output_path + "form1_annots.fdf");
            // output FDF fdf_doc2

            // FDF to PDF
            // form fields
            System.out.println("Merge form field data from FDF.");

            PDFDoc doc = new PDFDoc((input_path + "form1.pdf"));
            doc.initSecurityHandler();
            doc.fdfMerge(fdf_doc1);

            // To use PDFNet form field appearance generation instead of relying on
            // Acrobat, uncomment the following two lines:
            //doc.refreshFieldAppearances();
            //doc.getAcroForm().putBool("NeedAppearances", false);

            doc.save((output_path + "form1_filled.pdf"), SDFDoc.SaveMode.LINEARIZED, null);
            // output PDF doc

            // annotations
            System.out.println("Merge annotations from FDF.");

            doc.fdfMerge(fdf_doc2);
            doc.save(output_path + "form1_filled_with_annots.pdf", SDFDoc.SaveMode.LINEARIZED, null);
            // output PDF doc
            doc.close();
            System.out.println("Done.");
        } catch (Exception e) {
            e.printStackTrace();
        }

        // Example 3) Extract data from PDF to FDF, then export FDF as XFDF
        try {
            // PDF to FDF
            PDFDoc in_doc = new PDFDoc((output_path + "form1_filled_with_annots.pdf"));
            in_doc.initSecurityHandler();

            // form fields only
            System.out.println("Extract form fields data to FDF.");

            FDFDoc doc_fields = in_doc.fdfExtract(PDFDoc.e_forms_only);
            doc_fields.setPDFFileName("../form1_filled_with_annots.pdf");
            doc_fields.save(output_path + "form1_filled_data.fdf");
            // output FDF doc_fields

            // annotations only
            System.out.println("Extract annotations to FDF.");

            FDFDoc doc_annots = in_doc.fdfExtract(PDFDoc.e_annots_only);
            doc_annots.setPDFFileName("../form1_filled_with_annots.pdf");
            doc_annots.save(output_path + "form1_filled_annot.fdf");
            // output FDF doc_annots

            // both form fields and annotations
            System.out.println("Extract both form fields and annotations to FDF.");

            FDFDoc doc_both = in_doc.fdfExtract(PDFDoc.e_both);
            doc_both.setPDFFileName("../form1_filled_with_annots.pdf");
            doc_both.save(output_path + "form1_filled_both.fdf");
            // output FDF doc_both

            // FDF to XFDF
            // form fields
            System.out.println("Export form field data from FDF to XFDF.");

            doc_fields.saveAsXFDF((output_path + "form1_filled_data.xfdf"));
            // output FDF doc_fields

            // annotations
            System.out.println("Export annotations from FDF to XFDF.");

            doc_annots.saveAsXFDF((output_path + "form1_filled_annot.xfdf"));
            // output FDF doc_annots

            // both form fields and annotations
            System.out.println("Export both form fields and annotations from FDF to XFDF.");

            doc_both.saveAsXFDF((output_path + "form1_filled_both.xfdf"));
            // output FDF doc_both

            in_doc.close();
            System.out.println("Done.");
        } catch (Exception e) {
            e.printStackTrace();
        }

        // Example 4) Merge/Extract XFDF into/from PDF
        try {
            // Merge XFDF from string
            PDFDoc in_doc = new PDFDoc((input_path + "numbered.pdf"));
            in_doc.initSecurityHandler();

            System.out.println("Merge XFDF string into PDF.");

            String str = "<?xml version=\"1.0\" encoding=\"UTF-8\" ?><xfdf xmlns=\"http://ns.adobe.com/xfdf\" xml:space=\"preserve\"><square subject=\"Rectangle\" page=\"0\" name=\"cf4d2e58-e9c5-2a58-5b4d-9b4b1a330e45\" title=\"user\" creationdate=\"D:20120827112326-07'00'\" date=\"D:20120827112326-07'00'\" rect=\"227.7814207650273,597.6174863387978,437.07103825136608,705.0491803278688\" color=\"#000000\" interior-color=\"#FFFF00\" flags=\"print\" width=\"1\"><popup flags=\"print,nozoom,norotate\" open=\"no\" page=\"0\" rect=\"0,792,0,792\" /></square></xfdf>";

            FDFDoc fdoc = FDFDoc.createFromXFDF(str);
            in_doc.fdfMerge(fdoc);
            in_doc.save(output_path + "numbered_modified.pdf", SDFDoc.SaveMode.LINEARIZED, null);
            // output PDF in_doc
            System.out.println("Merge complete.");

            // Extract XFDF as string
            System.out.println("Extract XFDF as a string.");

            FDFDoc fdoc_new = in_doc.fdfExtract(PDFDoc.e_both);
            String XFDF_str = fdoc_new.saveAsXFDF();
            System.out.println("Extracted XFDF: ");
            System.out.println(XFDF_str);
            in_doc.close();
            System.out.println("Extract complete.");
        } catch (Exception e) {
            e.printStackTrace();
        }

        // Example 5) Read FDF files directly
        try {
            FDFDoc doc = new FDFDoc((output_path + "form1_filled_data.fdf"));

            for (FDFFieldIterator itr = doc.getFieldIterator(); itr.hasNext(); ) {
                FDFField current = itr.next();
                System.out.println("Field name: " + current.getName());
                System.out.println("Field partial name: " + current.getPartialName());

                System.out.println("------------------------------");
            }
            doc.close();
            System.out.println("Done.");
        } catch (Exception e) {
            e.printStackTrace();
        }

        // Example 6) Direct generation of FDF.
        try {
            FDFDoc doc = new FDFDoc();
            // Create new fields (i.e. key/value pairs).
            doc.fieldCreate("Company", Field.e_text, "PDFTron Systems");
            doc.fieldCreate("First Name", Field.e_text, "John");
            doc.fieldCreate("Last Name", Field.e_text, "Doe");
            // ...

            // doc.setPdfFileName("mydoc.pdf");

            doc.save(output_path + "sample_output.fdf");
            // output FDF doc
            doc.close();
            System.out.println("Done. Results saved in sample_output.fdf");
        } catch (Exception e) {
            e.printStackTrace();
        }

        PDFNet.terminate();
    }
}