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This user guide is outdated. It is superseded by our new individual service guides. Please view the Getting started with guide for a list of all the service guides:

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PDF Contracts is a feature that takes information from your database and adds it to a PDF document that you can print., such as animal information like name, age, breed, and information about adopters like name, address, contact information, as well as other information of your choice.

This feature is great for printing a contract before an adoption placement -- the information comes straight from your account so you don't have to re-write it on the contract.  You can use it to print any contract-type form, including volunteer contracts, home visit forms, etc.

To use the pdf contract feature, your organization needs to have either the Website Service or the Online Forms iFrame service and must first create an Online Form. Then a contract can be added to that form.

You can add a pdf contract for any of your forms.

Because must set up this feature for you, adding or updating PDF contracts can take several days to a couple of weeks depending on any changes that are required and our current workload. Thanks for your patience.

Depending on the complexity of your PDF/contracts, and the frequency of your updates/changes, we may ask for a minimal fee to maintain your PDF contracts. We can also provide the information necessary for you to update your PDF files yourself for the contract if you have the full version of Adobe Acrobat.

PDF Contract Setup needs to set it up this feature for you.  We can take an existing PDF or a Word document and create the required PDF form.  We may ask for a small fee depending on the complexity of your contract.

Here are some guidelines for creating a Word or PDF document that can use as a PDF contract:

  • To include a date, use a single blank field.  Splitting a day into something like "the 13th day of December, 2012" is difficult.
  • To include a phone number, fields should be a single blank field.  We aren't able to split a phone number into area code, etc such as:(123) 456-7890.
  • To include a field for gender or age, create it like this: Sex ____ or Age ____.  We can't use sex or age fields that are written like this:  Male: XX  Female: __.  
  • We can include journal entries in a large blank space.  We can group them by category, but we cannot separate specific journal entries (like vaccinations) into their own fields.

If you'd like to get started setting up a PDF contract, send your Word or PDF document to Support and we'll take a look.  We'll let you know if there is anything on your contract that needs to change before we can use it as a PDF Contract.

Please be aware that any changes to the contract must go through support for the PDF Contract to be updated.  Depending on the complexity and frequency of your changes this may incur a minimal fee.

Dynamic PDF Contract Fields

These are the fields available to add to your contract.

Contact-related fields


Field nameDescription / source
adopter_name"First Last" from the adopter's contact record

Just the Address part

ex: 12115 Mackell Lane


Street, city, stateandzipcodeconcatenatedtogether with spaces

ex: 12115 Mackell Lane Bowie MD 20715

adopter_postalcodePostal code
adopter_emailEmail address
adopter_alt_emailAlternate email address.
adopter_phone_homeHome phone number
adopter_phone_workWork phone number
adopter_phone_cellCell phone number
foster_nameThe name from the foster field
foster_phone_homeFoster home phone number
foster_emailFoster email

Animal-related fields


Field nameDescription / source
animal_nameName animal ID
animal_rescueidRescue ID
animal_microchip_numberMicrochip number
animal_microchip_vendorMicrochip vendor / manufacturer
animal_breedPrimary breed
animal_breedsCombination of primary, secondary, and mixed
Ex: Labrador Retriever/German Shepherd/Mixed 
animal_sizeGeneral size potential
animal_weightCurrent size and unit of measure
Ex: 22 Pounds 
animal_speciesex: Dog, Cat, Rabbit


Contains an X for the appropriate species

Age string
ex: If birthdate is provided: 2 years 1 month
If not, general age: Young

Ex: 5/15/2015

Ex: Female

Contains an X for the appropriate gender

Ex: Yes

animal_snUnspayed, Spayed, Intact, Neutered
animal_altered_sexContains a combination of Unspayed, Spayed, Intact, Neutered, and Female or Male.
Exs: Unspayed Female, Intact Male
Ex: Yes 
animal_colorColor (the detailed color from the text field)
animal_color_generalColor (the drop down color)


Adoption / Contract-related fields

Field nameDescription / source
adoption_feeAdoption fee from animal

Generating a PDF Contract

  1. Once the PDF Contract is setup for your form, go to your Submitted Forms list in your account.
  2. In the list, next to the form, you'll see a PDF icon.  It looks like a earmarked piece of paper with PDF written across it.  Click that icon.
  3. Select the adopter and animal that is being adopted.  Click Next Step.
  4. Complete the information for the form.  The values are pulled from your database, but you can change them to anything you want.  
  5. Click Create Contract. Your web browser should open the PDF document and auto-fill the form values.

Saving the Completed PDF Contract

You cannot save the completed PDF contract to your computer, or save it for later use.

You can, however, save the .FDF data file to your computer.  The .FDF file contains the data that is used to fill out the form, but does not contain the form (PDF) itself.  If you save the .FDF file to your computer, then open it at a later time, the PDF file will be downloaded from the Internet and the data from the .FDF file will be used to fill in the information on the form. 

Keep in mind that if you save the .FDF file it may be unusable at a later time if the PDF file has changed.


If you have difficulty with your PDF contract, check this list for help or contact support.

You continue to see an older version of your PDF even after update

Your web browser may be caching (keeping an old copy) the previous version of the PDF file.  To force your web browser to download the latest, most current version, press Control-F5 to refresh the document.  Check your web browser for the exact steps to hard-refresh, or contact us.

Error message "This PDF is attempting to launch..."

If you see this message you may need to disable Protected Mode.  

  1. Open Adobe Reader.
  2. Click Edit > Preferences.
  3. Click Security (Enhanced).
  4. Deselect the check box for the option Enable Protected Mode at startup.
  5. Click Yes.
  6. Click OK.
  7. Close Adobe Reader.

Using the Chrome browser

Viewing the PDF Contract may not work inside of Chrome due to an issue with the built-in Chrome PDF Viewer.  You can disable the built-in PDF Viewer.

  1. In Chrome's address bar, go to about:plugins.
  2. Click Disable next to Chrome PDF Viewer.
  3. Go back to the Submitted Forms page and generate the PDF Contract .


There is a report that after disabling the built-in Chrome PDF Viewer a reboot may be necessary.  Otherwise you may experience a warning box in an inescapable loop.

Using Firefox (versions 19 and above)

Viewing the PDF Contract may not work inside of Firefox versions 19 and above due to an issue with the built-in PDF Viewer.  Do the following to tell Firefox to open Adobe PDF files outside of Firefox:

  1. Open Firefox.
  2. Click the Menu icon (sandwich).
  3. Click Options.
  4. In the Action column for Adobe Acrobat Forms Document (application/vnd.fdf) select Use Adobe Reader.
  5. Click OK.

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