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In Acrobat X Essential Training, author Anne-Marie Concepción demonstrates how to create, modify, review, and share PDFs in Adobe Acrobat X Standard or Pro. Starting with a tour of the new panels-based interface, the course covers the basics of the software, such as creating and customizing PDFs, searching, editing text and graphics, and extracting PDF content to use in other programs. Also included are tutorials on creating forms, inserting interactivity and rich media, using the prepress tools, combining PDFs with other types of files to create customized portfolios, and ensuring document security. Exercise files accompany the course.
Every field type in an interactive form in Adobe Acrobat has its own set of properties. Now I want to give a quick tour of the different kind of properties that you might want to manipulate for each of these field types. So to do so, we need to go into Edit Form mode. I'll open up Forms and then click Edit. To see a field's property, simply double- click it, and it will open up into a window. Now, let's look at the General tab. This is common to all the different kinds of field types. What is the name of the field, and what is the tooltip? So a tooltip is what appears when the user puts their cursor over that field, and it's great for providing instructions.
You can put as much information as you like in the tooltip. So instead of just saying Last Name, which is a duplicate of the name of the field itself--that's what Acrobat will do automatically when it does its automatic form field recognition-- you might want to say something like "Please enter your last name," so you put in useful tooltips. Also under General, is the common property, like, for example, is this form field visible or not. Or maybe it's visible, but it doesn't print. And down here, under Common Properties, you choose whether or not this form field is visible, not just onscreen, but perhaps it's visible while you're looking at it, but doesn't appear on printouts.
To the right of that is a read-only check box. You might want to create a field that's read-only if you want to put information in a form field that users can't change. However, because it's in a form field that means it's still when you export the form data that will appear in your database. One that is important to pay attention to is Required. By default, no field is required, but if you turn on Required, and that means a person cannot submit the form-- click the Submit button in the form-- unless they have filled out that field.
So if it's critical that somebody enters information in a certain field, make sure that you turn on Required. And they will get a little alert that says, "Sorry, you can't submit this form unless you fill in such-and-such a field." Under Appearance, this is the appearance of the field itself. Like, for example, if you don't want any border or fill color on it, then you choose that: no color and no fill. If there is a border color, you choose the line thickness and style. Then what size is the text that appears within the field? Auto is kind of interesting, meaning that usually the text appears at a certain size to fit comfortably within the field, but then as they add more data, like a really long last name, the text will automatically shrink to fit.
And that's usually what I keep it at the default. Then each different kind of field has its own set of properties. So, for example, for text field, you can choose whether or not multiple lines to be allowed, so that if multiple lines of text are allowed then people can continue writing when they get to the end, and it'll automatically scroll. In addition, you can say that there is a limit of a certain number of characters. You're can have people check spelling. You can enter text to appear by default, like you might say, "replace with your last name." Something like that would be kind of ridiculous.
But you can see where that might have its utility. Most of the fields have actions, meaning that when somebody does something in that field, then an action can occur. We talked about working with actions in a different video on this title. You can choose a certain kind of format. By default, anybody can type in anything they like in this field. But if you only want a number, or you only want a date, or you only want a time, and any other kind of input won't be allowed, then choose that here. If you want to validate--meaning that if somebody submits the form then it checks to make sure that it's a proper e-mail address, or the age they enter is within a certain range that kind of thing--then turn on Validate.
Finally, you can also have Acrobat create calculation fields, which is a little bit more advanced, but that's what the Calculate is for. Let's close that and look at a couple of other field properties. I'm going to close Form Editing for this document, and switch to the Exploring Form Fields document that I've created earlier. I'll go to Edit form, and then show you that with list box, and also with dropdown, you need to go to the Options panel and list all the different kind of options that should appear in that list box or dropdown menu.
For a list box, you can choose whether or not people can select more than one item. And here under dropdown, under Options, though people can only enter one item, you can allow them to enter custom text. So when they get to the dropdown field, they'll be able to enter their own data, or they can choose on that you've already entered for them. For check boxes and radio buttons-- let's double-click here really quick--under Options, there are some good instructions here about what it is that you are supposed to be entering under General and Options over here. But one that's very interesting is here under Radio Button.
If you look at Options, it says, "To create a set of mutually exclusive radio buttons where only one can be selected at a time, give the field the same name but different button choices." So that means that each one of these fields and name is T-shirt, but in Options, the button choice is Medium or Large or Extra Large. And that's how Acrobat knows that only one of these can be selected. So as you're working with interactive forms, make sure to set the correct properties for each one of your fields.
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