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Understanding fields

From: Acrobat X: Creating Forms

Video: Understanding fields

In this finished form, let's take a look at some generalities about forms. We have text fields, we have checkboxes, we have radio buttons, some buttons, and not quite so obvious, we also have a hyperlink up here. This is why that Select Object tool is so handy; when you click that, you can see everything interactive that's in place, whether it's a hyperlink or it's a form field, and you can also see the names of your form fields. This document was created with the auto recognized feature and a little bit of handwork. So you'll notice that it's named this field Phone (optionals), it's named this Email (optional).

Understanding fields

In this finished form, let's take a look at some generalities about forms. We have text fields, we have checkboxes, we have radio buttons, some buttons, and not quite so obvious, we also have a hyperlink up here. This is why that Select Object tool is so handy; when you click that, you can see everything interactive that's in place, whether it's a hyperlink or it's a form field, and you can also see the names of your form fields. This document was created with the auto recognized feature and a little bit of handwork. So you'll notice that it's named this field Phone (optionals), it's named this Email (optional).

That's okay, but what if you want to change it? Pretty simple! Just double-click the field, click in the Name field, and modify it. Notice this other little field that says Tooltip, what does that mean? Well, I will show you. I am going to modify it now and then click Close. I am going to switch back to the Hand tool and as I hover over that, that's the tooltip. Each field, if it has a Tooltip option chosen, is going to give this little flag, when the user waits for just a second and hovers over the field. Usually, it just repeats the name of the field, that's the default in Acrobat, but maybe you want to use it to give somebody additional information.

For instance, under Email, maybe I want to make sure that it's their work Email. So I can choose a Select Object tool, double-click. While I am in here, I'm going to shorten the Name just for grins, and then here I will say, Use work email. And when I switch back to the Hand tool, we look at the results. So these are just niceties, and again, it's about trying to make it easy for the person filling out the form. I've checkboxes and I've radio buttons, and here's a difference between them. Checkboxes, allow you to check multiple checkboxes.

If you want to uncheck one, you just re-click on it and that clears it out. Radio buttons though exist as sort of families, and they are mutually exclusive. So in this little radio button family, I can check Yes or I can check No. I can't check both of them. I have some buttons down here; the Reset button will clear out the form. So notice that now all my little fields are clear, and then a Submit button which brings us to another topic. If you are just going to have somebody email information back to you, that's very easy to do; if you want them to print this out and fax it to you, that's the old-fashion way, but that works too.

If you're creating a form that's going to have to interact with some sort of a server process that somebody else has set up, an ASP or PHP or some other acronym based process, that's something you are going to have to work out with them. It's beyond the scope of this course, but it brings up a consideration. Think of it like catch and throw. You're throwing data at some sort of server process; it's going to catch it and do what it's supposed to with it. You need to work with the person or persons creating that other end of things to make sure that you've named your form fields, something that's going to work with their process, and that you're exporting the sort of data that that process understands.

It's not just you working alone; you are going to have to coordinate your efforts with somebody on the other end. You'll find that you can assign actions to some form fields, notably buttons. For instance, that Reset button under Actions, it says Reset a form. So that's why I can clean out the form fields. So any button can have an action applied to it. You can even apply actions to text fields, doesn't usually make sense, but it is possible. We will take a quick look, notice that you have all these little tabs when you're looking at a text field.

When you look at a checkbox, you see rather a different set of tabs, and when you get to buttons, you see a different set of tabs. So each species of form field is going to have its own kinds of options, and as we dig deeper into the individual field types, you'll see how those are different, but this is just a general view. Switch back to the Hand tool, now you can fill out the field, and that's one thing you are going to find if you are in work mode, while you are modifying fields, you can't test them. You always have to switch back to your little Hand tool and then you can fill this out.

You can hit your Tab key, and go between your fields. I am not going to bother to type anything sensible. You can check your little checkboxes, check your little radio buttons, Submit, if that's what you need to do, and in this case, I am just going to Reset. So this is just a quick overview, mainly to show you that Tooltips can be kind of handy, and to show you some of the general types of form fields you are going to be creating. I will tell you that the ones you create most often are going to be text fields, and checkboxes, and radio buttons, and the occasional button, but there are many more kinds. So, this was a quick overview and in subsequent movies, we are going to look at each type of form field individually, so you can create and modify them.

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Acrobat X: Creating Forms

38 video lessons · 15733 viewers

Claudia McCue
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