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PAWS? and forms


From: Donna Lettow
Date: Nov 14, 2011 12:36PM

Currently, I decide whether to create a Word form or PDF form on a case-by-case basis. (Please, spare me lectures on why "they should all be HTML!" until you can get me out of the ancient CMS that won't allow HTML forms.) If there's a lot of non-form-field-related explanatory or bureaucratic text, it needs to be a PDF form. If it needs flexible text fields that can accommodate essay answers of non-pre-determined length, it gets a Word form. If there is a lot of bureaucratic text AND essay answers, I throw up my hands in despair.

Researching something else in the Forum archives, I came upon this response to a thread:
From: Ryan E. Benson
Yes usually form fields get stripped out using a converter, however
PAWS keeps the controls as long as they are that legacy type vs the
new one. PAWS runs your doc through a checklist and the controls too,
letting you check/see what a screen reader will speak. Then it
converts it to a PDF.

While I've heard of PAWS, I've never checked it out. Can anyone tell me how it handles a legacy text field when it's converting a Word form to PDF? Does it become a fixed length? (Or a scrolling box, which is the same thing for my purposes, because many of the completed forms must be printed out and legally signed by multiple parties.) It can't possibly retain the size flexibility of a Word text field, can it?

Cautiously hopeful, but realistic,

Donna Lettow
Staff Specialist, Electronic Accessibility & Internal Communication
MD Division of Rehabilitation Services
2301 Argonne Drive
Baltimore, MD 21218
410-554-9411 (TTY)

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