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Acrobat Forms vs. LiveCycle Designer Forms

This table covers the usage differences, not the underlying technical differences.

AcroForms vs. XFA Forms
  Acrobat Pro (AcroForms) LiveCycle Designer (XFA forms)
Form Design Created in separate program; form fields are added in Acrobat. (Note: Adobe InDesign can create form design and add basic fields; forms are generally fine-tuned in Acrobat.) Forms are created from scratch in Designer, eliminating the "double-work" of AcroForms.
Expandability AcroForms are static, however, they can support Form Templates, which allows the duplication of entire pages. One of the main features of Designer is the ability to create expandable forms--or forms that add in pages automatically based on user input.
Tables Acrobat does not create tables, but it can create multiple fields semi-automatically on a table designed elsewhere. Designer can create it own tables.
Extended Reader Rights Done with Save As Other. Note: using this feature adds some legal restrictions on the number of users. Requires Acrobat Pro or LiveCycle Design Enterprise.
Save Form Data with Adobe Reader
(Does not affect Acrobat Pro users)
Acrobat XI, DC, and higher can save AcroForm data without saving with extended rights. Older versions of Reader need to have extended rights enabled. Form data can only be saved with extended Reader rights (unless using separately-purchased LiveCycle Enterprise options).
Adobe Reader for Mobile Devices AcroForms will work, but some JavaScript might not. Cannot work on mobile devices. Designer forms can work as HTML with LiveCycle Enterprise services.
Advanced Scripting JavaScript JavaScript and FormCalc
Form Distribution and Data Collection Built in Requires Acrobat Pro or LiveCycle Enterprise.