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Controlling button appearance

From: Acrobat X: Creating Forms

Video: Controlling button appearance

While Acrobat is not a design program, it does provide methods for controlling the appearance of buttons. You can add Label Button; you can add what's called an Icon and that means that you import artwork from another program, such as Illustrator or Photoshop. You can combine labels and icons and then the label is sort of like a caption, and then you can bring in multiple bits of artwork and populate the three button states, Up, Over and Down. So, this button actually has three little pieces of artwork applied to it that control three different appearances, which is pretty interesting.

Controlling button appearance

While Acrobat is not a design program, it does provide methods for controlling the appearance of buttons. You can add Label Button; you can add what's called an Icon and that means that you import artwork from another program, such as Illustrator or Photoshop. You can combine labels and icons and then the label is sort of like a caption, and then you can bring in multiple bits of artwork and populate the three button states, Up, Over and Down. So, this button actually has three little pieces of artwork applied to it that control three different appearances, which is pretty interesting.

You don't have to get that fancy; you can do something pretty simple and still have it look like a button. So, if I double-click this button and I go to the Appearance panel, if I apply different border color, to me that still doesn't say hey, I'm a button, but this might. If I choose Beveled for the Line Style, now it looks like a button, it's a little cheesy, but it does the job. You have some other options. You have Dashed, you have Inset, sort of looks like it's pressed into the page, and then Underline.

To me the most successful of these is Beveled and here's a tip. You actually don't have to have your Border Color be different. If you have your Border Color and your Fill Color the same, that Beveled effect still shows the edge of that. I probably need label on this, so I'm going to switch to Options, and then I'm going to just type RESET and make this a RESET button. So that's pretty simple, but let's see how this really fancy button was created. So, I'm just going to move the original out of the way and you can see how it's created.

When I go to Edit and I choose my Button Tool, I'm just going to click and drag and I'll just name it test, the time-honored name and go to All Properties. I'm going to start with my Appearance tab and I'm going to get rid of the Fill Color and the Border Color. I don't need that, because I'm going to import artwork. When I go to Options, under Layout, what Layout means is what are you going to put in this button field. Is it just going to be a label or is it going to be imported artwork, an icon or, and you saw earlier the Icon top, label bottom so forth and so on.

Well, I want to import an icon with no label. The Behavior is not what the button does; it's how it behaves when somebody clicks on it. So, if I choose Push, then I get three states, Up, Down and Rollover. If I just choose Outline, all it does is just show an outline of the shape. Invert, it looks like the button is pressed into the page. All of these are kind of cute, but I think the one with the most potential is Push, because I want those three different states. So, for my Up state, I go shopping for the icon, and I'm going to browse and in that folder there's a PDF called Illustrator button artwork.

Notice that it says 1out of 6 images. This is actually a six page, little bitty PDF. There's page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. So, here's an idea. Once you start creating buttons in other programs, if that's what you want to do, you might find that it's a nice idea to create sort of a repository of buttons. I use these little guys all the time, so I have this little PDF with multiple versions of that button that I use for navigational buttons. And I don't have to go hunting around for icons; I know I have that one little file that has everything I need in it.

This will be my start, I'll click OK. For my Down state I'm going to go for the blue and then for my Rollover state I'm going to go for the green. And you can double check, choose the Up, Down, Rollover and there you go. So, when I close and I Close Form Editing, choose my Hand Tool, it's always a good idea to test. As I rollover and rolloff, it changes color, and again, that's a hint to the user that, oh, this must do something.

And then when I click, again, it's just a little bit of visual feedback. It passes in a hurry, but it's just a confirmation to the user that yes, this is supposed to do something; I should be expecting something to happen after I click this button. So, you can see you can take the very simple approach or if you want to prepare artwork before you start your form, you can do some very nice professional looking buttons with very little effort.

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Acrobat X: Creating Forms

38 video lessons · 15456 viewers

Claudia McCue
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