Introduction to AEM Forms as a Cloud Service Communications frequently-asked-questions

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Communications capability helps you to create brand-approved, personalized, and standardized documents such as business correspondences, statements, claim processing letters, benefit notices, monthly bills, or welcome kits.

The capability provides APIs to generate and manipulate the documents. You can generate or manipulate a document on demand or create a batch job to generate multiple documents at defined intervals. Communications APIs provide:

  • streamlined on-demand and batch documentation generation capabilities.

  • capability to combine, rearrange, and validate PDF documents on-demand.

  • HTTP APIs for easier integration with external systems. Separate APIs for on demand (low-latency) and batch operations (high-throughput operations) are included.

  • a secure access to data. Communications APIs connect to and access data only from customer-designated data repositories, making Communications highly secure.

A sample credit card statement
A credit card statement can be created using Communications APIs. This sample statement uses same template but separate data for each customer depending on their usage of credit card.

Document generation

Communications document generation APIs help to combine a template (XFA or PDF) with customer data (XML) to generate documents in PDF and Print Formats like PS, PCL, DPL, IPL, and ZPL formats. These APIs utilize PDF and XFA templates with XML data to generate a single document on demand or multiple documents using a batch job.

Typically, you create a template using Designer and use Communications APIs to merge data with the template. Your application can send the output document to a network printer, a local printer, or to a storage system for archival. A typical out of the box and custom workflows look like the following:

Communications document generation Workflow

Depending on the use case, you can also make these documents available for download via your Website or a storage server.

Some examples of document generation APIs are:

Create PDF documents create-pdf-documents

You can use the document generation APIs to create a PDF document that is based on a form design and XML form data. The output is a non-interactive PDF document. That is, users cannot enter or modify the form data. A basic workflow is to merge XML form data with a form design to create a PDF document. The following Illustration shows the merging of a form design and XML form data to produce a PDF document.

Create PDF documents
Figure: Typical workflow to create a PDF document

Create PostScript (PS), Printer Command Language (PCL), Zebra Printing Language (ZPL) document create-PS-PCL-ZPL-documents

You can use document generation APIs to create PostScript (PS), Printer Command Language (PCL), and Zebra Printing Language (ZPL) document that are based on an XDP form design or PDF document. These APIs help to merge a form design with form data to generate a document. You can save the document to a file and develop a custom process to send it to a printer.

Processing batch data to create multiple documents processing-batch-data-to-create-multiple-documents

You can use document generation APIs to create separate documents for each record within an XML batch data source. You can generate documents in bulk and asynchronous mode. You can configure various parameters for the conversion and then start the batch process.

Create PDF Documents

Document manipulation

Communications document manipulation APIs help to combine, rearrange, and validate PDF documents. Typically, you create a DDX and submit it to document manipulation APIs to assemble or rearrange a document. The DDX document provides instructions on how to use the source documents to produce a set of required documents. The DDX reference documentation provides detailed information about all the supported operations. Some examples of document manipulation are:

Assemble PDF documents

You can use the document manipulation APIs to assemble two or more PDF or XDP documents into a single PDF document or PDF Portfolio. Here are some of the ways you can assemble PDF documents:

  • Assemble a simple PDF document
  • Create a PDF Portfolio
  • Assemble encrypted documents
  • Assemble documents using Bates numbering
  • Flatten and assemble documents

Assembling a simple PDF document from multiple PDF documents
Figure: Assembling a simple PDF document from multiple PDF documents

Disassemble PDF documents

You can use the document manipulation APIs to disassemble a PDF document. The APIs can extract pages from the source document or divide a source document based on bookmarks. Typically, this task is useful if the PDF document was originally created from many individual documents, such as a collection of statements.

  • Extract pages from a source document
  • Divide a source document based on bookmarks

Dividing a source document based on bookmarks into multiple documents
Figure: Dividing a source document based on bookmarks into multiple documents

Convert to and validate PDF/A-compliant documents

You can use the document manipulation APIs to convert a PDF document to a PDF/A-compliant document and to determine whether a PDF document is PDF/A-compliant. PDF/A is an archival format meant for long-term preservation of the document’s content. The fonts are embedded within the document, and the file is uncompressed. As a result, a PDF/A document is typically larger than a standard PDF document. Also, a PDF/A document does not contain audio and video content.

AEM Forms offers a variety of built-in fonts that seamlessly integrate with PDF files. To see the list of supported fonts, click here.

Document Assurance doc-assurance

The DocAssurance service includes the Signature and Encyption APIs:

Signature APIs

The Signature APIs let your organization protect the security and privacy of Adobe PDF documents that it distributes and receives. The security features are applied to the document itself, the document remains secure and controlled for its entire life cycle. The document remains secure beyond the firewall, when it is downloaded offline, and when it is submitted back to your organization. You can accomplish the following tasks using the Signature APIs:

  • Add a visible signature field to a PDF document.
  • Add an invisible signature field to a PDF document.
  • Sign the specified signature field in a PDF document.
  • Certify a PDF document

Encryption APIs

The Encryption APIs let you encrypt and decrypt documents. When a document is encrypted, its contents become unreadable. An authorized user can decrypt the document to obtain access to the contents. If a PDF document is encrypted with a password, the user must specify the open password before the document can be viewed in Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat.

You can accomplish these tasks using the Encryption APIs:

  • Encrypt a PDF document with a password.
  • Remove password-based encryption from a PDF document.
  • Retrieve the type of security applied to a PDF document.
  • Return the security type applied to a PDF document.

Both Signature APIs and Encryption APIs are Synchronous APIs.

Usage Rights APIs

The Usage Rights capability is under Early Adopter Program. You can write to from your official email id to join the early adopter program and request access to the capability.

The Usage Rights capability enables your organization to easily share interactive PDF documents by extending the functionality of Adobe Reader with additional usage rights. The service works with Adobe Reader 7.0 or later and adds usage rights to a PDF document. This action activates features that are not usually available when a PDF document is opened using Adobe Reader, such as adding comments to a document, filling forms, and saving the document.

When PDF documents have the appropriate usage rights added, recipients can do the following activities from within Adobe Reader:

  • Complete PDF documents and forms online or offline, allowing recipients to save copies locally for their records and still keep added information intact.
  • Save PDF documents to a local hard drive to retain the original document and any additional comments, data, or attachments.
  • Attach files and media clips to PDF documents.
  • Sign, certify, and authenticate PDF documents by applying digital signatures using industry-standard public key infrastructure (PKI) technologies.
  • Submit completed or annotated PDF documents electronically.
  • Use PDF documents and forms as an intuitive development front end to internal databases and web services.
  • Share PDF documents with others so that reviewers can add comments by using intuitive markup tools. These tools include electronic sticky notes, stamps, highlights, and text strikethrough. The same functions are available in Acrobat.
  • Support Barcoded Forms decoding.

These special usage rights capabilities are automatically activated when a rights-enabled PDF document is opened within Adobe Reader. When the user is finished working with a rights-enabled document, those functions are again disabled in Adobe Reader. They remain disabled until the user receives another rights-enabled PDF document.

Enable or disable usage rights

The various usage rights capabilities for extending PDF Reader services are:

  • Barcodes Decoding: To decode barcodes within the PDF document.

  • Comments: To comment offline on the PDF document.

  • Comments Online: To comment online on the PDF document.

  • Digital Signature: To add digital signatures to a PDF document.

  • Dynamic Form Fields: To add form fields to a PDF document.

  • Dynamic Form Pages: To add form pages to a PDF document.

  • Embedded Files: To embed files within a PDF document.

  • Form Data Import: To import form data to a PDF document.

  • Form Data Export: To import form data to a PDF document.

  • Form Fill In: To fill form fields within a PDF document.

  • Online Forms: To access a web service or database from a PDF document.

  • Submit Standalone: To submit form data offline from a PDF document.

Extract usage rights

It helps to retrieve the usage rights enabled or disabled to a PDF document for Adobe Acrobat Reader extensibility.

Other capabilities

  • Message: The message displayed within Adobe Acrobat Reader on opening a PDF document with one or more usage rights applied.
  • Unlock Password: The password required for opening an encrypted PDF document. Typically, this is the document open password but if the PDF document is additionally protected by a permissions password, either may be used to open it.

The API reference documentation provides detailed information about all the parameters, authentication methods, and various services provided by APIs. The API reference documentation is also available in the .yaml format. You can download the .yaml and upload it to postman to check functionality of APIs.

Types of communications APIs types

Communications provide HTTP APIs for on-demand and batch document generation:

  • Synchronous APIs are suitable for on-demand, low latency, and single record document generation scenarios. These APIs are more suitable for user-action based use cases. For example, generating a document after a user completes filling a form.

  • Batch APIs (Asynchronous APIs) are suitable for scheduled, high throughput, and multiple document generation scenarios. These APIs generate documents in batches. For example, phone bills, credit card statements, and benefits statements generated every month.


Communications capability is available as a standalone and add-on module for Forms as a Cloud Service users. You can contact Adobe Sales team or your Adobe representative to request access. Adobe enables access for your organization and provide required privileges to the person designated as administrator in your organization. The administrator can grant access to your Forms as a Cloud Service developers (users) of your organization to use the APIs.

After onboarding, to enable Communications capability for your Forms as a Cloud Service environment:

  1. Log in to Cloud Manager and open your AEM Forms as a Cloud Service Instance.

  2. Open the Edit Program option, go to the Solutions & Add-ons tab, and select the Forms - Communications option.


    If you have already enabled the Forms - Digital Enrollment option, then select the Forms - Communications Add-On option.


  3. Click Update.

  4. Run the build pipeline. After the build pipeline succeeds, Communications APIs are enabled for your environment.

To enable and configure document manipulation APIs, add the following rule to Dispatcher configuration:
# Allow Forms Doc Generation requests
/0062 { /type "allow" /method "POST" /url "/adobe/forms/assembler/*" }

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