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Activating buttons

From: Acrobat X: Creating Forms

Video: Activating buttons

Let's take a look at some of the most commonly used button actions, Execute a menu item. In this case, the menu item is File>Print. Go to a page view, in this case it takes you to the second page of this document, and there's another button here that takes us back to page one. Open a file, in this case it opens another PDF, but it can be used to open any file type, except an executable. It can't launch an application. You can't hook that button up to let's say the Illustrator application or Microsoft Word application, you hook it to a document like a Word file or an Illustrator file, and then the system of course opens the appropriate application.

Activating buttons

Let's take a look at some of the most commonly used button actions, Execute a menu item. In this case, the menu item is File>Print. Go to a page view, in this case it takes you to the second page of this document, and there's another button here that takes us back to page one. Open a file, in this case it opens another PDF, but it can be used to open any file type, except an executable. It can't launch an application. You can't hook that button up to let's say the Illustrator application or Microsoft Word application, you hook it to a document like a Word file or an Illustrator file, and then the system of course opens the appropriate application.

Open a web link. There is a little screen that shows up that tries to intercept you. It's to keep bad things from happening. Let's say we are trying to connect to lynda. com, which is of course, a really good idea. You can tell it to remember this action for that particular site for all PDF documents, which will make it easier in the future, or if it was a URL that you didn't want to go to, of course, you could click Block. If I want to import form data, for instance, if I want to pre-populate a number of forms with commonly used data like my Name, my Address, my Phone Number and so forth, I can store that data as what's called an FDF file, Forms Data Format file and then invoke it with this button.

If I want to clean up the form, I can press Reset Form. If I want to submit this form by email, it gives me the option to choose my Desktop Email Application or Internet Email, and whichever I want to choose. So all these actions have been assigned to these buttons when these buttons were created. Let's see how we do that. I'll get my Select Object Tool and we will look at this first one, Execute a menu item. In the Actions tab you choose a Trigger and then you choose the Action that that trigger sets off. The trigger is what happens with the mouse.

Mouse Up, most common trigger, it's when you click, let go of your mouse button. Mouse Down is as the mouse button bottoms out. That might seem a little early to some folks that might catch people by surprise. There are times when it's appropriate, but Mouse Up is the most common trigger. Mouse Enter and Exit, if you think of the button as sort of a hotspot area, Mouse Enter is as your cursor enters the area of the button, Mouse Exit is as you roll out of the area of the button. On Focus and On Blur, you may never use this, but here is what they mean.

If you are tabbing through a form, from field to field to field, a button field is a field as well. So if you hit Tab and you land on a button, that's the On Focus moment. If you hit a Tab again and you jump off the button, that's the On Blur moment. Execute a menu item is the action that's been applied. Let's see how we add an action. I am going to Delete this. Don't worry that it keeps executed menu item populating that Select Action field, that's just the default, it's at the top of the list. We have to sort of ignore it. So I am going to choose Mouse Up and then for my Action, maybe I'll say Open a web link.

So when I choose that, you have to remember not to hit Close, you actually haven't done the job yet. You have to hit this Add button and here is why? You can actually have multiple actions attached to a single mouse click. You could set a bunch of stuff in motion. When I click Add it says, well, what's the URL? I am going to send everybody to lynda.com. When I click OK, you can see that that's been added, and when I close now it no longer executes a menu item, now it sends somebody to a URL. But now you can see it when you test it.

Always test your buttons, make sure that they do what you want. If you're asking it to open a file, make sure that the directory path to that file is still intact, otherwise, you are going to surprise your end user. But this gives you an idea of the power of buttons. They really are the engines in forms, they make stuff happen.

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Acrobat X: Creating Forms

38 video lessons · 15566 viewers

Claudia McCue
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