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You think you're finished with the form, and you know what happens, either you change your mind or your boss asks you to make a change or your client wants to make a change, you actually don't have to start over. I want you to think of form fields as floating on a separate layer up above the underlying artwork. Think of that artwork is sort of a substrate. Let's see how many form fields we have in this document. It wouldn't be any fun to start over and have to re-create them, and the good news is that if you need to change that underlying artwork, you don't have to start over and re-create them. Think of it like sliding in new artwork under those floating fields.
So I want to replace this artwork with another pdf. I go to the Pages tab, see my Page Thumbnails and this little icon gives you the Options dealing with pages. Click that little icon and choose Replace Pages, and then let me find my replacement file. There's my ReplacementPage, select that, I want to replace the only page I have with the only page that exists in the other document. Although, this kind of gives you an idea that if you needed to replace say pages 2 and 3 of this document with pages 1 and 2 of that other document, you could specify that here. And click OK.
You get a little alert and here's why, it's not just Acrobat being polite. This is another one of those functions for which there is no undo. So you would have to revert and start over. So anytime you see that little yellow triangle, it means you're about to do something for which there's no undo, that's why Acrobat warns you. Click Yes, and notice that the artwork has changed, but that my form fields are still there. Isn't that handy? There are other things that I might want to change in this file though. When I switch back to my Hand Tool to test filling out the form, when I hit the Tab key though, notice it takes me way down to the City field.
Generally speaking, as you're building forms, Acrobat sort of recognizes that row structure and it keeps track of the tab order sensibly for you. So, I actually messed this one up on purpose, so you can see how to fix it, but every now and then they will get out of whack. So we need to fix that. I go to Tools>Edit and then Other Tasks>Edit Fields>Show Tab Number. So this is sort of buried. It's Other Tasks>Edit Field>Show Tab Numbers. And this says now To change the tab order, first sort the tab order manually, and then you can drag them up and down.
Well, I'll show you the long way to do this and then may be a better way to start, just so you are aware of both methods. So the First Name field is 1, the Last Name field ought to be 2, when we look at this list of tab order, we can see that that Last Name field is down here. I can drag it up so that it falls just beneath the First Name, and now it's 1, 2. I could keep changing all the rest of these, but let me show you, I think an easier way to do this. I am going to Close Form Editing. I am going to go back over to my Pages Pane and this is one of those things that is really not discoverable, unless somebody tells you that it's there.
It's sort of hard to find. You actually choose the Page Thumbnail, not this little guy up here. Right click on the Page Thumbnail, at the bottom of the list choose Page Properties, and choose Tab Order, check Use Row Order. And so let's see if that cleans things up for us. This would be great. When I click OK and I collapse my little Page Panel, let's take a look at the numbers just to be sure, I am going to choose Edit, Other Tasks, Edit Fields>Show Tab Numbers, 1, 2, 3, 4 yup, it cleaned everything up for us.
So I would try that approach first over there in the Pages Panel, and then if you need to tweak it, then you can manually move them in that Tab Order dialog. I am going to unshow my Tab Numbers, I think everything is pretty good now. So I'm going to Close Form Editing, I am going to test it just to be sure, and Reset. This is always a good idea, anytime you are ready you think to deploy a form, test it yourself, maybe you have somebody who's not accustomed to filling it out tested, I think an innocent bystander is always really helpful. And I check Reset.
There is one more thing I might want to do. Maybe I want to do something to the Fill and Stroke around these fields. And I don't want to have to touch every field to do it. When I choose my select Object Tool, I can throw a Marquee over multiple fields, right-click and choose Properties. Now notice that not all the little tabs show up, up here, so you will find that there are some properties you can change on multiple fields at once, and some that you can't. But if I want to change the Appearance and I want to give each one of these fields a sort of a light green color, I can.
This is sort of arbitrary, but it's really just to show you that you can do this. I can also change the Size of the text in all the fields at once. So there are some common properties that you can change for multiple selected fields, you don't have access to all of the properties, but this still can save you a lot of work. So I will switch back to the Hand Tool, and there I have modified my form by putting in new artwork underneath my fields. I have changed the tab order by going to the Pages Panel in the Page Properties and fixing that. And I have also changed the properties for multiple text fields all at once by using a right-click and choosing Properties.
So don't give up hope when somebody asks you to Edit a form, all is not lost, you don't usually have to start completely over. Hopefully that's good news to you.
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