Extensible Forms Description Language

What Does Extensible Forms Description Language Mean?

Extensible Forms Description Language (XFDL) is an application or extension of the Extensible Markup Language (XML) that provides a standardized way of defining the layout and various data fields in a large and complex form such as those used by government agencies or businesses. It allows standardization as well as digital storage and display. An XFDL form can be easily stored or sent to a user as an XML page, which is easily accessed for display by an application or website.


Techopedia Explains Extensible Forms Description Language

Extensible Forms Description Language is a high-level language that facilitates the definition of a form as a stand-alone object by using XML elements and attributes, offering precise control in form layout and facilitating easy replacement of existing government and business paper forms with human-readable electronic ones.


  • Provides precise layout control
  • Step-by-step guided user experiences
  • Digital signatures
  • Multiple page capabilities
  • In-line mathematical and conditional expressions
  • Data validation constraints
  • Custom items and options
  • External code functions

XFDL provides the above functions through open standard markup languages such as XML Schema, XML Signatures, XPath and XForms.


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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…