Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon


Forms online are popular, but the author of the form doesn't usually think about the privacy of the users data. We must consider this on every form.

When we get a form request, or a PDF or Word doc form to publish, we must consider a number of items before we publish it. Just because it is a PDF or Word doc does not mean it should stay that way.
  1. Does the form require a signature? If so, it must be a PDF or Word doc form.
    • If you know all users will have MS Word (such as a form for PCC staff), you might keep it in MS Word which can be filled out on the computer and provides more flexibility for the user.
    • If your users won't all have MS Word, the form must be a PDF.
      • It can be a fillable PDF, but we don't create them. The Print Center can do that.
  2. If the form does not require a signature, it can be a web form.
    • Does the form ask for private information, like SS#, student ID, birth date?
      • If so, it must be a secure web form which will require the involvement of the programmer and is put on a much longer timeline. A secure form that we will consider building is one that won't be changed and that has frequent use by students.
    • If the form doesn't require a signature or ask for private information, it can be an html form the emails the results.


  1. Staff Development forms are Word docs. currently, but they wanted them as web forms. The main problem is that they require signatures, so right away html forms are off of the table. They could be a PDF, but since only PCC staff are using these forms we left them as Word docs to make filling the form out easier for the user.
  2. Student Records came to us with a Word doc. that they wanted converted into a PDF form. It didn't require a signature though or ask for any private information, so we turned it into an easy email web form. (The problem with converting a Word doc. into a PDF form is that if they make any changes, we are going to have to make the form again, which isn't as easy as simply converting a doc into a PDF. The Print Center can do that conversion for them, but sending us a fillable PDF form doesn't mean that's the format we will use. We still must scrutinize it as described above.)