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Use OmniGraffle to complete PDF documents Apps
As a contractor, I frequently have the need to provide signed documents to clients, e.g. W9 forms, contracts etc. I do not have a fax machine, nor do I want to deal with snail mail. Since my clients can usually send the necessary documents to me as a PDF file, all that is needed is a way to enter my data and signature "in" the form, and send the completed form as a PDF. I guess you can do this if you own the full Acrobat app, but I don't want to buy it for this mundane use. The following is a means of accomplishing this with tools provided in Mac OS X, and a third-party application.

Many Macs come with the ever-lovely OmniGraffle flow charting/charting application. This many-talented program is my tool of choice for this task. If your Mac didn't come with OmniGraffle, you can download a trial version from their website.

Here's what I do to fill in PDFs using OmniGraffle.
  1. Open a new OmniGraffle document.
  2. In the pages palette, set the number of pages required in the vertical page count field.
  3. In this palette, set all the margins to zero, since the document usually consists of full 8.5x11in. pages.
  4. Drag the PDF onto your OmniGraffle document, and align it to fit precisely in the the document.
  5. In the layers palette, add a new layer on top of the PDF layer.
  6. Under the tools menu, turn off "snap to grid".
  7. Using the text "T" tool, place fields in the desired location over the PDF, and enter the appropriate text. I find the default 12 pt size to be usable for most forms. Then nudge the text into the exact position. (Saving often, Duh!).
The trickiest part is the signature. Which I handle as follows.
  1. Scan your signature at a relatively large size. At least at the largest size you ever expect to need, but ideally a bit larger. (Everyone should have a digital version of their signature!)
  2. In your graphics tool of choice, convert your scanned image to a transperant GIF. This is so that your fancy, flamboyant signature can extend beyond the signature line/field and appear natural. You may have to fuss with this to reduce the amount of white anti-aliasing around your signature. An added advantage of making it transparent is that your signature is merged with the background document, making it more immune to malicious copying and re-use.
  3. Drag your signature.gif onto your OmniGraffle document, and resize it (with shift-down to maintain the aspect ratio), and place it where you want it.
For tax forms, such as W9s which you may need to reuse often, save this .graffle file for future reuse with a different date in its name.

Finally, select Print, and choose "Save as PDF..." and voila! You now have a completed, signed form or contract in PDF form. Email it to your client, and wait for the big checks to come in. If you receive the document in Word rather than PDF, start this process by printing the Word document to PDF, and then follow the steps above.
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Use OmniGraffle to complete PDF documents
Authored by: dahjelle on Apr 06, '05 10:23:51AM

You might want to consider using a transparent PNG or PDF, as they will let you have multiple levels of transparency, keeping your signature anti-aliased against any background. Of course, that's more work the first time through.

You might also want to check out Intaglio, another drawing program for OS X. It will actually open PDFs and allow you to edit them natively, and seems to be a pretty impressive drawing program for shareware.



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Use OmniGraffle to complete PDF documents
Authored by: erichsu on Apr 06, '05 10:57:39AM

The whole PDF signing thing is annoying. I use GraphicConverter for this, which reads and saves PDFs. But I'll check out Intaglio...



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Use OmniGraffle to complete PDF documents
Authored by: mastige on Apr 06, '05 10:29:02PM

Intaglio = $89 and is not shareware



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Use OmniGraffle to complete PDF documents
Authored by: DHB on Apr 06, '05 10:57:44PM

Another useful program to "fill out" and "sign" pdf's without bitmapping them is Stone Studio's Create:

http://www.stone.com/Create/Create.html

It's a combination vector illustration, page layout and web authoring application. A bit more expensive ($149) than some of the options here, but worth it if you need the features. If not, go with PDFPen.





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PDFpen
Authored by: scotty321 on Apr 06, '05 10:51:51AM

Actually, the FREE Acrobat Reader lets you fill in forms. No need to purchase Acrobat Professional. However, it probably won't let you paste in signatures. In which case, you should simply purchase the $50 PDFpen program, which has been getting outstanding reviews. It is MUCH CHEAPER than the $449 Adobe is charging for Acrobat Professional.

Here's the link: http://smileonmymac.com/PDFpen/



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PDFpen
Authored by: trollll on Apr 06, '05 11:19:43AM

as far as i know...the free pdf reader does let you fill it out, but it won't let you save it as a filled-in pdf. you can only print it, which blows if you don't have a fax machine. actually, it also blows since you'll have to keep the printed copy for your records instead of an easy to back up pdf.



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PDFpen
Authored by: BillCole on Apr 06, '05 11:33:15AM

Anything you can print in MacOS X, you can print to a PDF.



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Not in Adobe Reader
Authored by: Anechoic on Apr 06, '05 11:43:49AM

The recent versions of Adobe Reader block the "print to PDF" function in the print dialog.

I'm sure there's a way to hack around it, but if there is, it ain't obvious.



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Not in Adobe Reader
Authored by: tadaaa on Apr 06, '05 01:05:36PM
There is indeed an easy way to hack around this -- all you need to do is create a virtual pdf printer. See the following: http://www.educationaltechnology.ca/dan/archives/2005/03/15/add-a-virtual-pdf-printer-to-mac-os-x-or-how-to-save-copies-of-completed-pdf-forms-from-acrobat-reader/

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Not in Adobe Reader
Authored by: Mithindril on Apr 06, '05 04:56:26PM

This is a great hint. I followed the instructions and volia.

Very cool.



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Not in Adobe Reader
Authored by: kholburn on Apr 07, '05 03:47:59AM
I tried this but my system already has a file :

$ file /usr/libexec/cups/backend/pdf
/usr/libexec/cups/backend/pdf: Mach-O executable ppc



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Not in Adobe Reader
Authored by: gschueler on Apr 06, '05 04:28:49PM

I found a way around it last year when I did my taxes:

Hit Print, then look under the Output Options section, there's a checkbox for Save as File. Check the box. Choose PDF from the output options. The Print button is now Save, and will save it as a PDF file.

At least, this worked for me back then...



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Not in Adobe Reader
Authored by: masjones on Apr 06, '05 11:45:39PM

Just be aware that if you save a document using this method it is no longer editable. So make sure you have it exactly the way you want it or you will be doing it over.



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PDFpen
Authored by: feelgood on Apr 06, '05 12:47:20PM

Reader does let you save filled-in text, if the document allows it. If it does not allow it, save to PDF may not work either.

I used a fill-in PDF from irs.gov for my taxes this year and saved a copy, no problem. My state's fill-in form, however, did not permit saving the filled in data. I tried using save to PDF and a PDF workflow item and it would not allow it (curse you, Arkansas!). I finally had to just take a screen shot for my records. Though, once I discovered a mistake, I had to start all over again.



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Adobe Reader 7
Authored by: timcrawf on Apr 06, '05 02:59:19PM

These are for forms made using a new option that allows the end user to fill in and save forms. It will only work if the forms are this new type and if you use Adobe Reader 7



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An alternative solution...
Authored by: cujo on Apr 06, '05 03:12:34PM

I just print it out, fill out the document by hand with a nice black pen, and then scan it back in.



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An alternative solution...
Authored by: allanBook on Apr 06, '05 09:29:09PM

Yes, we could just print, fill out by hand, then scan it in...

But:
* if you don't own a scanner (but already have your signature in digital format)
* and/or want to save paper (i.e. "paperless" office, keeping everything digital and easier to backup/archive),
then this hint is very useful.

I myself actually use Photoshop all the time for this, but it never occurred to me to use OmniGraffle.

---
"Mr. Simpson, this is the most blatant case of fraudulent advertising since my suit against the film The NeverEnding Story." -Lionel Hutz (of Simpsons fame)



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fax machine
Authored by: dlong on Apr 06, '05 05:24:41PM

Maybe worth mentioning that the original poster *does* have a fax machine. At least, if they have a mac they do. :)

Open the .PDF in any application that will edit them, add the signature as however you like, and then fax it out the modem.

You can also receive faxes from clients who don't know or use PDF files. Just have them fax into your machine, open the resulting TIFF files in an editor and change/sign them, and then fax back out without "wasting" paper.

And don't forget backups, especially if you don't want to print things out. :)



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Use OmniGraffle to complete PDF documents
Authored by: Steffan Stringer on Apr 06, '05 05:27:15PM

I am new to Omnigraffle but I think I have looked through every menu option but still can't find 'In the pages palette, set the number of pages required in the vertical page count field.' Can anyone help out an old fool :^(

Thanks

Steffan



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Use OmniGraffle to complete PDF documents
Authored by: allanBook on Apr 06, '05 09:24:32PM

Upon opening OmniGraffle, if the page info palette doesn't open automatically, all you need to do is:

- Click on Tools in the top menu
- Select Show Info
- from the palette that pops up, you can choose Pages from the drop down menu or click on the Pages icon if that is showing

---
"Mr. Simpson, this is the most blatant case of fraudulent advertising since my suit against the film The NeverEnding Story." -Lionel Hutz (of Simpsons fame)



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Use OmniGraffle to complete PDF documents
Authored by: Steffan Stringer on Apr 07, '05 02:37:53AM

Now I'm really confused!

My version of Omnigraffle (3.2) is not the Pro version (mind you I checked this too) and I can't see a 'Tools' item in the menu. The closest I could find was a Canvas Size Inspector, put this doesn't have any thing to do with setting the number of pages.

We are on the same platform aren't we - OS X (10.3.8)? :^)

I'll try to put up a screenshot later.

Still confused.

Thanks for your support though.

S

---
PowerMac 2*2.5 GHz, 2GB RAM, 2*250 GB & PowerBook; Mac OS X (10.3.8); iSight, 60Gb iPod photo



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Use OmniGraffle to complete PDF documents
Authored by: allanBook on Apr 07, '05 04:24:18AM

The OmniGraffle installed in my PB is 2.1 (v34.15). I'm running 10.3.8 as well.

I guess my version of OmniGraffle is different from yours, so the menu may not match.

Have you tried pressing "command+shift+I" to get a palette or anything called "All Info" where you can click on some kind of "Pages" icon to change the page numbers or margin sizes?

I wish I could help more, and I hope that some other lady or gent with the same OmniGraffle build as yours will pop by and give the proper info.

Sorry I couldn't help much.

---
"Mr. Simpson, this is the most blatant case of fraudulent advertising since my suit against the film The NeverEnding Story." -Lionel Hutz (of Simpsons fame)



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Use OmniGraffle to complete PDF documents
Authored by: gdelfino on Apr 07, '05 05:21:16PM

In the upper left of the "Canvas Size" palette there is a grid. Click the upper left square to selec a single page.

The gray color used is very soft, so it is a little hard to see it.



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Use OmniGraffle to complete PDF documents
Authored by: hamarkus on Apr 06, '05 05:52:07PM

This works with every app that can import pdf files without bitmapping them (or bitmaps them at a high enough resolution, and you and the receiving end doesn't mind bitmapped pdfs). Out of my head I would say this includes:
Illustrator, InDesign, Omnigraffle, LaTeX, Keynote, Pages, Quark and all selfrespecting drawing or layout programs (but not Word or Powerpoint). If bitmapping is accepted this adds basically all photo editing programs.

However, keep in mind everybody who receives a pdf with your signature, can reuse it at its will (and true enough everybody who receives a hardcopy of your signature can scan it in and reuse it its will as well).



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Use OmniGraffle to complete PDF documents
Authored by: davecrist on Apr 06, '05 06:31:20PM

I have been using Pages for this.... it works great, supports transparency, and lets you ad quality text to the PDF as well...

And Pages was only $50 as a student.... just a thought,


dave



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Use OmniGraffle to complete PDF documents
Authored by: Jwink3101 on Apr 06, '05 11:30:55PM

I don;t know what i am doing wrong but it only imports the first page when i align it. I am setting it to two pages (i think)



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Use OmniGraffle to complete PDF documents
Authored by: Jwink3101 on Apr 06, '05 11:41:41PM

To be clear, i am correctly setting it ( i confirmed that) and the document i am trying to do this on is two pages.



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Use OmniGraffle to complete PDF documents
Authored by: phredator on Apr 09, '05 04:31:58PM

Hmmm. I just had that (one page only imported) happen too. Now I can't remember if I have mostly been doing single page docs, or if this happens only with some docs. You can get around it by "printing" each page to a different pdf file, but then the hint seem skind of lame! My bad.



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Use OmniGraffle to complete PDF documents
Authored by: Steffan Stringer on Apr 07, '05 02:32:20AM

Now I'm really confused!

My version of Omnigraffle (3.2) is not the Pro version (mind you I checked this too) and I can't see a 'Tools' item in the menu. The closest I could find was a Canvas Size Inspector, put this doesn't have any thing to do with setting the number of pages.

We are on the same platform aren't we - OS X (10.3.8)? :^)

I'll try to put up a screenshot later.

Still confused.

Thanks for your support though.

S



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Use OmniGraffle to complete PDF documents
Authored by: Steffan Stringer on Apr 07, '05 02:39:44AM

oooops - how do I delete a comment/reply that I entered twice by mistake?

S

---
PowerMac 2*2.5 GHz, 2GB RAM, 2*250 GB & PowerBook; Mac OS X (10.3.8); iSight, 60Gb iPod photo



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Use OmniGraffle to complete PDF documents
Authored by: danmannus on Apr 08, '05 11:09:01AM

I tried to enter this yesterday but can't find it. I use Graphic Converter to open the PDF then enter any data. For signatures I have saved a number of my signatures in a jpg file. I open this and select an appropriate size signature and paste it into the PDF then save as ....pdf.

---
diem



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