Although Adobe Reader doesn't serve as a design application, it accepts text and information entered into specially formatted documents. These PDF forms enable you to combine professionally designed business cards with the ability to supply new hires or replenish your own supply on an as-needed basis. Provided that the designer who sets up your identity materials provides you with a properly prepared PDF file, you can create, print and even save new cards on demand.


Acrobat forms offer the ability to create customizable documents for virtually any purpose, often to provide digital versions of the kinds of paperwork you fill out to register for a conference, report your taxes or sign up for not-for-profit grants. If the person who creates your business cards prepares a suitably set up PDF form, you can build business cards within the PDF and print them out or send them to a commercial printer. In a page-layout application, she can build a document that includes your logo and other elements that appear on every card, and use Acrobat form fields to make the document customizable for your use in creating finished cards. Some page layout applications support the creation of Acrobat forms directly within a layout document.


Acrobat forms use fields to accept fill-in information. Fields can produce barcodes, accept text, and provide drop-down menus, check boxes or radio buttons for selection among multiple choices. With advanced formatting, fields can calculate invoice totals or add up hours on a timesheet. To create a form that produces business cards, the form designer sets up fields to accept the items that change on each individual's card, including name, title and various elements of contact information. The designer can preset these fields -- all of them configured for text input -- to use specific type sizes and alignments.


To broaden the typeface choices appearing on a PDF form so they include the signature fonts used on your business cards, both you and the designer of the cards/form must use the same typefaces. If the form requires font software that you don't have installed on your computer, the text reverts to a default typeface that may be inconsistent with your card design. For optimal compatibility between your designer's computer and yours, verify the typefaces you need and check your installed font software to assure that you have them.

Other Considerations

If the designer set up your card template form correctly, pressing the "Tab" key will navigate from field to field in logical order, easing the task of data entry. Unless she enabled the "Enable Adding Text in Documents" setting that appears in the Reader Extended PDF section of the Save As dialog box in Adobe Acrobat Standard and Adobe Acrobat Pro, you won't be able to save the completed form once you enter all your data. Even without this setting, you can complete a suitably set up form and print it out on prefabricated business card sheets that perforate into individual cards. To send the form to a commercial printer, you need a PDF document that uses the proper colors -- process or spot -- for on-press output and either copies of the required typefaces that you can send along with your job or a PDF file that relies on font software the printer already uses.