[texhax] Newbie Question: (La)TeX Good Choice for Data Collection Forms in PDF?

Axel E. Retif axel.retif at mac.com
Wed Sep 9 07:10:16 CEST 2009

On  8 Sep, 2009, at 10:37, Jack Ort wrote:

> Hello!  I apologize if this is the wrong place to ask this question

This is definitely the right place  ---or a right place at least.  
Also, in


you can find good help.

> but I have been frantically searching for information on TeX and  
> LaTex, and whether or not it would be a good choice for designing  
> data collection forms.  Specifically these would be clinical Case  
> Report Forms (CRFs), where patient data such as vital signs,  
> laboratory results, etc. would need to be collected across multiple  
> clinic visits.  Typically these forms will have groups of empty  
> boxes (with labels) for manual entry, questions with Yes/No  
> checkboxes, lines for capturing free-text comments, and often  
> tabular data entry sections as well.
> Ideally, forms could be stored in a "library" for reuse and  
> modification as needed.

If I understand correctly, LaTeX would be, I think, an ideal tool for  
this. Other responses have stressed that LaTeX has indeed a steep  
learning curve, but it's really worth to take the plunge.

The modular approach LaTeX has with its thousands of packages makes it  
ideal for building a system to suit your needs. And again, if I  
understand correctly, the amazing datatool package, by Dr. Nicola  
Talbot might be a good building-block for your system. Take a look at  
the datatool.pdf at


(I must confess, though, that I haven't use it yet, but as soon as I  
get a chance, I will.)

I'm sure a MiKTeX ( http://www.miktex.org/ ) distribution would  
already have the package, and also the soon to be released TeXLive  
2009 ( http://www.tug.org/ ).



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