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PDF Form Fill and Form Data Extraction in VB

Sample VB 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.

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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.
'---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Imports System

Imports pdftron
Imports pdftron.Common
Imports pdftron.SDF
Imports pdftron.FDF
Imports pdftron.PDF

Module FDFTestVB
	Dim pdfNetLoader As PDFNetLoader
	Sub New()
		pdfNetLoader = pdftron.PDFNetLoader.Instance()
	End Sub

	'---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
	' PDFNet includes full support for FDF (Forms Data Format) and for merging/extracting
	' forms data (FDF) with/from PDF. This sample illustrates basic FDF merge/extract functionality 
	' available in PDFNet.
	'---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
	Sub Main()

		PDFNet.Initialize()

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

		' Example 1)
		' Iterate over all form fields in the document. Display all field names.
		Try
			Using doc As PDFDoc = New PDFDoc(input_path + "form1.pdf")
				doc.InitSecurityHandler()

				Dim itr As FieldIterator = doc.GetFieldIterator()
				While itr.HasNext()
					Console.WriteLine("Field name: {0:s}", itr.Current().GetName())
					Console.WriteLine("Field partial name: {0:s}", itr.Current().GetPartialName())

					Console.Write("Field type: ")
					Dim type As Field.Type = itr.Current().GetType()
					If type = Field.Type.e_button Then
						Console.WriteLine("Button")
					ElseIf type = Field.Type.e_text Then
						Console.WriteLine("Text")
					ElseIf type = Field.Type.e_choice Then
						Console.WriteLine("Choice")
					ElseIf type = Field.Type.e_signature Then
						Console.WriteLine("Signature")
					End If
					Console.WriteLine("------------------------------")
					itr.Next()
				End While
			End Using
			Console.WriteLine("Done.")
		Catch e As Exception
			Console.WriteLine("Exception caught:\n{0}", e)
		End Try

        ' Example 2) Import XFDF into FDF, then merge data from FDF into PDF
        Try
            ' XFDF to FDF
			' form fields
			Console.WriteLine("Import form field data from XFDF to FDF.")
			
			Dim fdf_doc1 As FDFDoc = new FDFDoc(FDFDoc.CreateFromXFDF(input_path + "form1_data.xfdf"))
			fdf_doc1.Save(output_path + "form1_data.fdf")
			
			' annotations
			Console.WriteLine("Import annotations from XFDF to FDF.")
			
			Dim fdf_doc2 As FDFDoc = new FDFDoc(FDFDoc.CreateFromXFDF(input_path + "form1_annots.xfdf"))
			fdf_doc2.Save(output_path + "form1_annots.fdf")
			
			' FDF to PDF
			' form fields
			Console.WriteLine("Merge form field data from FDF.")
			
			Using doc As PDFDoc = 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().Put("NeedAppearances", Obj.CreateBool(false))
				doc.Save(output_path + "form1_filled.pdf", SDF.SDFDoc.SaveOptions.e_linearized)

				' annotations
				Console.WriteLine("Merge annotations from FDF.")

				doc.FDFMerge(fdf_doc2)
				doc.Save(output_path + "form1_filled_with_annots.pdf", SDF.SDFDoc.SaveOptions.e_linearized)
			End Using

			Console.WriteLine("Done.")
		Catch e As Exception
			Console.WriteLine("Exception caught:\n{0}", e)
		End Try

        ' Example 3) Extract data from PDF to FDF, then export FDF as XFDF
        Try
            ' PDF to FDF
			Using in_doc As PDFDoc = New PDFDoc(output_path + "form1_filled_with_annots.pdf")
				in_doc.InitSecurityHandler()

				' form fields only
				Console.WriteLine("Extract form fields data to FDF.")

				Dim doc_fields As FDFDoc = in_doc.FDFExtract(PDF.PDFDoc.ExtractFlag.e_forms_only)
				doc_fields.SetPdfFileName("../form1_filled_with_annots.pdf")
				doc_fields.Save(output_path + "form1_filled_data.fdf")

				' annotations only
				Console.WriteLine("Extract annotations to FDF.")

				Dim doc_annots As FDFDoc = in_doc.FDFExtract(PDF.PDFDoc.ExtractFlag.e_annots_only)
				doc_annots.SetPdfFileName("../form1_filled_with_annots.pdf")
				doc_annots.Save(output_path + "form1_filled_annot.fdf")

				' both form fields and annotations
				Console.WriteLine("Extract both form fields and annotations to FDF.")

				Dim doc_both As FDFDoc = in_doc.FDFExtract(PDF.PDFDoc.ExtractFlag.e_both)
				doc_both.SetPdfFileName("../form1_filled_with_annots.pdf")
				doc_both.Save(output_path + "form1_filled_both.fdf")

				' FDF to XFDF
				' form fields
				Console.WriteLine("Export form field data from FDF to XFDF.")

				doc_fields.SaveAsXFDF(output_path + "form1_filled_data.xfdf")

				' annotations
				Console.WriteLine("Export annotations from FDF to XFDF.")

				doc_annots.SaveAsXFDF(output_path + "form1_filled_annot.xfdf")

				' both form fields and annotations
				Console.WriteLine("Export both form fields and annotations from FDF to XFDF.")

				doc_both.SaveAsXFDF(output_path + "form1_filled_both.xfdf")
			End Using
			Console.WriteLine("Done.")
		Catch e As Exception
			Console.WriteLine("Exception caught:\n{0}", e)
		End Try

        ' Example 4) Merge/Extract XFDF into/from PDF
        Try
            ' Merge XFDF from string
			Using in_doc As PDFDoc = New PDFDoc(input_path + "numbered.pdf")
				in_doc.InitSecurityHandler()

				Console.WriteLine("Merge XFDF string into PDF.")
				Dim str As String = "<?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>"

				Dim fdoc As FDFDoc = New FDFDoc(FDFDoc.CreateFromXFDF(str))
				in_doc.FDFMerge(fdoc)
				in_doc.Save(output_path + "numbered_modified.pdf", SDF.SDFDoc.SaveOptions.e_linearized)
				Console.WriteLine("Merge complete.")

				' Extract XFDF as string
				Console.WriteLine("Extract XFDF as a string.")
				Dim fdoc_new As FDFDoc = in_doc.FDFExtract(PDF.PDFDoc.ExtractFlag.e_both)
				Dim XFDF_str As String = fdoc_new.SaveAsXFDF()
				Console.WriteLine("Extracted XFDF: ")
				Console.WriteLine(XFDF_str)
			End Using
			Console.WriteLine("Extract complete.")

		Catch e As Exception
			Console.WriteLine("Exception caught:\n{0}", e)
		End Try

        ' Example 5) Read FDF files directly
        Try
            Dim doc As FDFDoc = New FDFDoc(output_path + "form1_filled_data.fdf")

            Dim itr As FDFFieldIterator = doc.GetFieldIterator()
            While itr.HasNext()
                Console.WriteLine("Field name: {0:s}", itr.Current().GetName())
                Console.WriteLine("Field partial name: {0:s}", itr.Current().GetPartialName())
                Console.WriteLine("------------------------------")
                itr.Next()
            End While

            Console.WriteLine("Done.")
        Catch e As Exception
            Console.WriteLine("Exception caught:\n{0}", e)
        End Try

        ' Example 6) Direct generation of FDF.
        Try
            Dim doc As FDFDoc = New FDFDoc

            ' Create new fields (i.e. key/value pairs).
            doc.FieldCreate("Company", Int(Field.Type.e_text), "PDFTron Systems")
            doc.FieldCreate("First Name", Int(Field.Type.e_text), "John")
            doc.FieldCreate("Last Name", Int(Field.Type.e_text), "Doe")
            ' ...		

            ' doc.SetPdfFileName("mydoc.pdf");
            doc.Save(output_path + "sample_output.fdf")
            Console.WriteLine("Done. Results saved in sample_output.fdf")
        Catch e As Exception
            Console.WriteLine("Exception caught:\n{0}", e)
        End Try

	End Sub
End Module