Placing a Dynamic PDF417, QR or Data Matrix Barcode on a PDF form?

I read posts on the LiveCycle and Acrobat forums, and one of the more common issues is “how can I print dynamic 2D barcoded forms with Adobe Reader.” The frustration of people that post this question is palpable: you can feel that they have torn out their hair trying to get this to work, given up in frustration and done the forum post as their final hope. One of these appeared last week on the Designer forum; it prompted me to write these blogs rather than a one-off answer. I’ve posted answers to many of these questions, but the time has come to address these issues in a set of blog posts so that they are available long-term, and hopefully before people become frustrated.

The ability to have barcodes appear on and dynamically change in the printed form output was added in Acrobat 6, then embellished in Acrobat 8. Since that time,  people have been simultaneously enthralled with the technology and confused by the implementation. There is something magical about waving a scanner at a page and then getting 100% reliable data directly input into a system.

I’m starting a set of blog posts on the topic of dynamic 2D barcodes in PDF… how to design, fill and print, and then decode and integrate them into your business processes. The goal is to make this technology accessible to mainstream form designers as well as their document processing workflow coworkers .This should prevent the frustration as people try to learn Adobe’s technology from a historical perspective and end up pulling their hair out. The first three topics will be (I’ll be updating this with links as the content grows)

  1. A general overview and description of usage scenarios supported today without special products or J2EE application servers. It does require Adobe’s Reader on Windows or the Mac, though.
  2. A market overview of libraries to decode 2D barcodes available for developers.
  3. How I test barcodes with my smartphone.

I will find other content and experts for posts as items come up by request.

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