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A SmartForm is a dynamic electronic form with capabilities beyond a traditional paper or PDF form, allowing electronic completion, dynamic sections, database calls and electronic submission. The Australian government established a specialist unit called the SmartForms Developer Center[1] to encourage and assist Government Agencies to transform their current paper forms to SmartForms. The aim of this is to improve both their own internal processing as well the service they are providing to their constituents.[2]

In 2008, the use of SmartForms was named a best practice initiative by the Australian Government Information Management Office in the Review of the Australian Government's Use of ICT.[3]


  • Lower cost of processing submitted forms
  • Fewer data entry errors
  • Lower postage and mail handling costs
  • Enables the use of digital signatures for non-repudiation
  • SmartForms can be saved offline
  • Files can be attached to the form
  • Submitted forms can be easily integrated with back office systems using XML data

Use in government[]

The Federal Australian Department of Industry, Innovation and Science coordinates SmartForms initiatives across Australian government agencies.[4][5][6] Departments currently using SmartForms include NSW Local Government Agencies,[7][8] Victorian State Government,[9] NT State Government[10] and the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.[11]

The Australian Department of Finance and Deregulation is promoting a Whole of Government SmartForms solutionTemplate:Solution-inline under a $42M Australian Government Online Service Point[12] program. This SmartForm solutionTemplate:Solution-inline is based on Avoka Transact.


There are a number technologies that can deliver SmartForm benefits with varying levels of capability. These include:

XFA Forms

XFA refers to Adobe XFA Forms platform which can be used to render PDF, Adobe Flex or HTML based forms.


Xforms refers to a W3C XML Forms architecture. SolutionsTemplate:Solution-inline implementing XForms include IBM Lotus Forms, Open Data Kit (ODK) and Group Complete (ODK compatible).

InfoPath Forms

InfoPath refers to Microsoft Office InfoPath XML form technology. On 31 January 2014, Microsoft said they are discontinuing InfoPath Forms Services.[13]


  1. SmartForm Development Center
  2. Australian Government: Features and benefits of SmartForms
  3. Review of the Australian Government’s Use of Information and Communication Technology Template:Webarchive
  4. SmartForm Development Center
  5. SmartForm Center System OverviewTemplate:Dead link
  6. Science, c=AU;o=Australian Government;ou=Department of Industry, Innovation and (24 June 2016). "Get started with SmartForms". Retrieved 5 July 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Red Tape Blue Prints
  8. Red Tape Blueprints Case Study
  9. Easybiz Template:Webarchive
  10. NT Gov SmartForms Template:Webarchive
  11. Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Template:Webarchive
  12. AGOSP Program Template:Webarchive
  13. Protalinski, Emil (31 January 2013). "Microsoft discontinues electronic forms software InfoPath, will support latest version until April 2023". The Next Web. Retrieved 1 February 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

13. Avoka Transact