Custom properties for document markup

Community Beginner ,
Mar 15, 2021 Mar 15, 2021

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All I want to do is markup my document and capture some specific data for each item captured - for example I want to use a small square to show a light fixture on a drawing and then capture number of bulbs and style of light in separate fields on the properties for that markup shape.  Then I can export the comments (markup) and have the information in specific fields rather than exporting a single comment with multiple data items inside which I then have to parse and separate.  

 

I have been all over the place in help trying to find how to do this, but it looks impossible and I cannot believe it is.  What am I missing?  Is there specialist software that I need to do this?

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Comment review and collaborate PDF, Edit and convert PDFs, How to, JavaScript, PDF forms

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 15, 2021 Mar 15, 2021

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All markup annotations have a single popup text box. You can enter all the information there. The format of information is up to you.

 

 

Thom Parker - Software Developer at PDFScripting
Use the Acrobat JavaScript Reference early and often

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 15, 2021 Mar 15, 2021

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Thanks Thom, but I guess what I'm getting at is that this is really limiting.  It is so frustrating to put all the information in one box and then use | to separate my attributes (and then have to remeber how many | to use) and then export and faff around with code to separate - seems a bit 20th century to be honest.  I get most people annotate PDFs by just signing a document, but I think Adobe are missing a trick here.  

 

I was hoping there was a way to take a shape, then copy and customise it with user defined attributes so that I could capture data, but I guess what you are saying is that I have to write my own software to do this.

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 15, 2021 Mar 15, 2021

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There is kind of a way to do this by grouping annotations. This is a feature in the PDF spec. However, it is not implemented by Acrobat. It is implemented in BlueBeam.  The idea is to group shape and text annotations into a single annot. This grouping is then placed in a custom library, where it can be selected and placed on a PDF. The user then fills in the text annots in the group. 

 

For Acrobat, I was thinking you could use an automation script to fill in the info on the annotation. You'd place the markup and activate the automation script. The script would then display a custom dialog for entering your data and place it into the comment box for the annot with perfect syntax. Another script could collect the data and export it to CSV. Or something like that.  No hand entry. There are a lot of methodologies depending on how complex you want to get with the scripting.  

Thom Parker - Software Developer at PDFScripting
Use the Acrobat JavaScript Reference early and often

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Explorer ,
Mar 15, 2021 Mar 15, 2021

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It can be done using a combination of comment and advanced search functionalities to export a comma separated value (.csv) text file for Excel, Word, etc.

For comments:

  1. Use a uniform format you wish for the comments you will embed
    Be consistent on a combination of shape and color you will use.  Use this to filter the comments for easier visibility and editing in the comment pane.
  2. Use identical construction for the phrases used. Preface the desired data with labels to identify and separate the data elements/arguments.
    For example, "LIGHTBULB NUMBER:4 WATTS:15 BASE:Candelabra TYPE:LED" could be created in an appropriate comment (without the quotes).  Copy/paste the phrase into like comments and edit as necessary for the arguments with colons; e.g., "LIGHTBULB NUMBER:1 WATTS:100 BASE:Standard TYPE:Standard".
  3. Use Advanced Search for the beginning of the phrase used.  For the example above, "LIGHTBULB NUMBER:" (no quotes, plus case-sensitive) would be used by Acrobat.
  4. Export the search results to a .csv file.
  5. Import the .csv file (or copy/paste the data) into Excel and use that program to manipulate the results.
    Alternatively, import the .csv file into Word first to manipulate the results before export to Excel.

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 16, 2021 Mar 16, 2021

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I finally worked out a way to do this via microsoft visio.  I can import my PDF, mark it up using custom shapes with the USER DEFINED data items that I want to capture, fill in the data and then I can export straight into an excel list or database.  I wanted to specifically define the properties for each type of item they are marking up so people could fill in when they mark up the document without having to remember the number of separators to put in as different items (light fitting, electrical socket) have different data items to capture and therefore a different number of separators.  

 

Happy days!!

 

 

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