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A formatted document containing blank fields that users can fill in with data. With paper forms, it is usually necessary for someone to transfer the data from the paper to a computer database, where the results can then be statistically analyzed. Some OCR systems can do this automatically, but they're generally limited to forms containing just check boxes. They can't handle handwritten text.

Electronic forms solve this problem by entirely skipping the paper stage. Instead, the form appears on the user's display screen and the user fills it in by selecting options with a pointing device or typing in text from the computer keyboard. The data is then sent directly to a forms processing application, which enters the information into a database.

Electronic forms are especially common on the World Wide Web because the HTML language has built-in codes for displaying form elements such as text fields and check boxes. Typically, the data entered into a Web-based form is processed by a CGI program.

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