Creating 'Fancy' Form (Manually)


   Pathagoras can process a wide variety of Intake Forms. The one discussed in this section are Word documents, with the data presented within 'fancy' tables (as opposed to two column tables discussed previously).

   A single cell of the table reflect a single item of data. The size and layout of the table is your choice. There are no size limitations. The rows need not be uniform in terms of size, color, number of cells, etc. You have total flexibility as to the method you present the form to the end user. The trick to this table is that the variable is 'hidden' from the client's view as he or she is completing the form, but its presence as 'hidden text' allows Pathagoras to 'see' it and process the value.

   Here are the minimum requirements.

Each cell from which you wish to gather a data item must contain a colon. The colon indicates to the end user that the cell is intended to collect information, and for 'scraping' purposes, indicates to Pathagoras where the information begins.


intake form

Your Name (First Middle Last):







How long lived in County:

How long lived in State:

Cell Phone:

Email address:

Date of Birth:


Social Security #:

Note: this is how the form will appear to your customer. However, Internet restrictions do not allow us
to 'hide' variable names, so this form is not directly transferable.
However, you can insert a copy of this form, with hidden variables, into your Word document
by typing 'IntakeForm' followed immediately by <Alt-G>)

   This form differs from the 'Simple' form illustrated in the previous page in several key regards:

In the simple form, Column 1 (and only Column 1) must contain the name of the variables. Here, any 'friendly text' and title rows can be used.

In the simple form, only two columns can be used. Here, multiple columns, and different numbers of cells per row, are possible.

Of course, the setup of a form similar to the above is more complex, but Pathagoras provides you a sample (indeed, a more elaborate version of the above) to get you started.

While not visible in the sample above, the variable names are embedded as hidden text immediately preceding the colon in each cell which calls for data. The colon in those cells is an essential element as it separates the requested information from the ‘blank’ where the user will provide that information. (The colon is used by Pathagoras to determine where the data input by the end user starts.) Insert the variable names as hidden text is discussed below.


intake form

Your Name (First Middle Last)[Client Name]:

Address[Client Address]:

City[Client City]:

State[Client ST]:

Zip[Client ZIP]:

Phone[Client Phone]:

County[Client County]:

How long lived in County:

How long lived in State:

Cell Phone[Client Cell Phone]:

Email address[Client Email]:

Date of Birth:


Social Security #[Client SSN]:

This is same Intake Form show above but with simulated 'hidden text' (shown by light blue and italics).
When the 'ShowAll' (¶) (pilcrow) character is toggled, the hidden text appears and disappears.

While we cannot illustrate it here, hidden text in Word is shown with small dot beneath each hidden letter.


Your first form (or editing an existing form):

  1.  Create one or more tables in a document. As noted above, the tables and their cells need not be uniform. It does not matter to Pathagoras whether or not your tables look alike or whether a single row in a table has one, two or ten cells across. Mixing and matching to obtain your 'best look' is fine.  

  2.  Put 'friendly' text in the cells requesting the desired information. Type the mandatory colon to indicate the end of the request. (The colon also denotes the start of where the end user will provide the requested data.)

You can have title and decorative cells in the table as well. These cells should not have colons.

Once you have designed a nice looking input form, you are ready for the next step. But if you need to revise things as you move along, don't worry. You are always in Word and it's easy to change things.

  3.  Add the Variable Name. Type the name of the [variable] (including the bracket) just inside (to the left of) the colon. The variable name, of course, should be the same variable name you use in your source documents as a place holder for that information you will be gathering.

  4.  Convert Variable to Hidden Text: You generally will not want your end user to see the variables used in documents. So, you will want to hide them. There are two ways to convert the variables to ‘hidden text.’

Manually: Highlight each variable (one at a time) and convert the font to 'hidden'. Click the arrow in the lower right corner of the ‘Font’ section (Home tab) in the Word ribbon to turn on 'Hidden' text.


Click to reduce.

Click the small, right-downward pointing arrow to reveal the full 'Fonts' menu, shown at the right.

  Click to reduce.

Check the 'Hidden' text box in the Effects section. (When 'visible', hidden text is indicated by small dots just below the text.) Repeat for each variable.

Automatically: Pathagoras (of course) provides an automated method to convert variables to 'hidden'. Once the form is set, and the variables are placed throughout the document, click the Pathagoras Features menu. Cascade down to the IDB Tools | Intake Form Options and click it to display the menu:

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.


When 'visible', hidden text is indicated by small dots just below the text.)
To toggle the 'visibility of the hidden text, click the 'ShowAll' (¶) (pilcrow character)
at the top of the editing screen (Home tab).

   5.  Save the form in an appropriate folder where you can easily find it. (If you send out forms frequently, you should consider making this folder one of your DropDown Lists.)


The names of the variables in hidden text must match the variables in the documents to which you will be applying the 'scraped' data. (This should be obvious, but we need to say it anyway.)

You should assign a hidden text variable to each value in the form that you want to capture. (Be mindful that, while every value may be important, not every value needs to be captured in your database. Your client likely won't know, for example, the 'case number' or the 'judge' assigned to the case, so it's best not to ask.)

Each variable and its associated value must occupy its own cell.

The title of the cell (the ‘friendly text’) doesn’t matter. Pathagoras doesn’t start reading until the opening bracket (‘[‘) of the hidden text, parsing out the hidden variable name and the visible assigned value to its right.

Consistent with the above, don’t use brackets in your form except for identifying variables. (A workaround for this does exist, but it is beyond the scope of these instructions. If you absolutely must have brackets in your regular text, write to Pathagoras for the workaround.)

The form can be used as a protected form. You will need to add form fields so that the tab button will jump from field to field and end up in each cell. But we recommend using it just ‘as is.’ The tab button will still move the cursor from cell to cell. Plus you can mouse into any cell you wish.

Consider placing your forms in the folder reflected by a DropDown List to quickly call up a copy.

   Pathagoras provides a form resembling (but more extensive than) the one shown above. You can find it in the Samples Glossary. (It contains actual hidden text, as opposed to the simulated hidden text shown in the sample.)


See also: Excel™ Intake Forms

    Adobe™ Acrobat™ Intake Forms