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Acrobat X: Creating Forms

Using show/hide fields


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Acrobat X: Creating Forms

with Claudia McCue

Video: Using show/hide fields

The Show/Hide option for button fields lets you do some really interesting things. Notice at the bottom of the page it says, Roll your mouse over a thumbnail to see a larger image. So let's try that. As I roll my mouse over the thumbnail, a larger version of the image appears, same for all of these. This is really pretty, but think of the possibilities, if you're creating an educational file for example, you might want to show something larger, so that they see more detail, when you're trying to teach somebody how to do something. So there are some really neat possibilities with this.

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Acrobat X: Creating Forms
2h 27m Intermediate Feb 16, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

This course demonstrates how to design a form from scratch in Word, Illustrator, or InDesign—or from an existing electronic document. author Claudia McCue teaches how to add interactive fields like check boxes, buttons, drop-down lists, and digital signature fields; how to add field calculations like sum or average; and how to use JavaScript for more advanced calculations. The course also covers how to enable forms for Acrobat Reader users, add security to a form, distribute it via email or the web, and collect data from recipients.

Topics include:
  • Designing forms in multiple applications
  • Creating and editing fields
  • Using auto-recognition
  • Adding buttons and check boxes
  • Creating and adding artwork
  • Performing math in a form
  • Creating an order form
  • Securing forms with passwords and digital signatures
  • Distributing forms via email or Acrobat.com
Subjects:
Business Forms
Software:
Acrobat
Author:
Claudia McCue

Using show/hide fields

The Show/Hide option for button fields lets you do some really interesting things. Notice at the bottom of the page it says, Roll your mouse over a thumbnail to see a larger image. So let's try that. As I roll my mouse over the thumbnail, a larger version of the image appears, same for all of these. This is really pretty, but think of the possibilities, if you're creating an educational file for example, you might want to show something larger, so that they see more detail, when you're trying to teach somebody how to do something. So there are some really neat possibilities with this.

So let's see how this gets started. I'm going to go to the starting version of the file and when I choose my Select Object Tool, you can see what's in place. There are large buttons with images in them, but they're initially hidden. So the Show/Hide field function works this way. You need one field to act as a trigger, you need the other field to hold the artwork, so the trigger causes the artwork containing field to appear or disappear. So let's make a couple of sets of these. I'm going to go into Edit so that I can choose my Button Tool and I'm going to create first my large field that's going to contain the artwork.

I don't have to be really exact with this. I just need to make sure that this button field is big enough to cover that original artwork in the background. So I can approximate it by the existing button size. I'm going to go to All Properties, I'm going to start from the left, I'm going to name this Button3. Go to Appearance, I'm going to fill it with white so that it covers up any part of the artwork that's underneath. You're never going to see any two these big buttons at the same time, so that's why they don't need to be exactly the same size. I just want to make sure that they're big enough so that they hide the original artwork.

And then for Options, I'm going to choose Icon only so that I can go and select artwork. And then when I click Choose Icon, I can go browsing. So this is going to be my Image_3_Big. It helps if you name these something you're going to remember as you start constructing these things. Choose Open, click OK, and under Advanced, I'm going to ask it to scale it if it's too small, and I want to make sure that it Fits to bound. If the proportions of the image are substantially different from the button, and that's the case with this one, it's not really going to matter much.

I want it as big as possible. But if there's going to be some gap, because I've colored the button white in the background, it's going to cover up anything underneath. So everything will be okay. I need to do one more thing. Remember that we couldn't see this artwork initially, so I'll go back to General and under Common Properties, choose Hidden and then Close. Since I'm still in Edit mode, of course, I can still see it. But let's set up the trigger. Again, I choose the Button Tool and I'm going to click and drag, create a little button, go to the Button Properties.

Under General, I'm going to call this Button3a. So 3 is going to be my big button, 3a is my little button, or I could call it Button3trigger for that matter. The thinking here is that because you kind of have to keep both of these buttons in mind when you start to set up the action, it behooves you to name them something that you'll remember. Appearance, I'm going to set this to white, in case there's a little bit of the artwork peeking out underneath. I'm going to go to Options, switch to Icon only, and go choose my icon.

There's little bug that you'll see sometimes on both Mac and PC. Sometimes this Choose Icon button won't be active. It's just a little bug, it's been there for a while, and you'll learn to live with it. If that happens to you, just click the Actions tab just for a moment, come back to Options, and you'll see that this is alive. When I choose Icon, again I'm going to go hunting, and this is going to be my Image_3_thumbnail. Click Open and OK and again, I'm going to go to Advanced, set it to Scale if the icon is too small and it is a bit, then Fit to bounds and let's see if that makes a difference.

Yes, now it fills up the button. So now I've made this cute, but I have to give it a job. So I go to Actions, then I choose Mouse Enter as my Trigger. As I roll into that area, I wanted to make something happen; I wanted to show that field. As I exit, I wanted to hide that field. So Mouse Enters the Trigger, the Action is Show/hide a field, when I click Add, then I have to tell Acrobat what field I want it to show. I want it to show Button3 and click OK. I have to add a second action so that it knows what to do upon mouse exit.

It still says Show/hide a field, because it kind of remembers the last choice. I click Add again, and this time I tell it to Hide Button3. So if you sort of think of yourself as giving instructions to Acrobat, you have to remember to choose the appropriate option, Show or Hide and then the appropriate target. So you're telling Acrobat, hey, I want you to hide Button3. Click OK and Close and it's always a good idea to test. So I'm going to close Form Editing, get my Hand Tool, roll over my trigger, and sure enough, my image shows up.

So let's make another one. I'm going to go into Edit; I'm going to choose my Button Tool. First I'm going to make the big field that's going to hold the big image. And again, it doesn't have to be perfect. In this case, it just has to cover up the underlying artwork. I'm going to All Properties and start working my way over. I'm going to call this Button4. Its initial state is going to be Hidden. Go to Appearance, I'm going to give it that white Fill Color so that it covers up anything underneath. Go to Options and go shopping for my image.

Choose Icon only, Choose Icon, browse, and this is going to be Image_4_Big, and Open. Click OK. Go to Advanced and ask it to scale a bit. Fit to bounds, click OK, and Close. So it doesn't have an action, because it just sits there and waits for this other button to tell it when to show up. Back again to my Button Tool to make the trigger, click and drag and create that button area, go to All Properties, start working my way over.

And this is going to be Button4, I'll name it trigger. It's of course going to be visible. Under Appearance, I'm going to give it the Fill Color of white, again, to cover up the underlying artwork. I'm going to go to Options, choose Icon only; go hunting for my Icon, browse, and this is going to be Image_4_thumb. Now if you noticed that all of these donor graphics if you will are all PDFs. So you have to remember to save your artwork as a PDF. Open, OK, Advanced, Fit to bounds, scale it if it's too small, click OK, and then give it the job.

Actions, Mouse Enter, it's going to show that field. See, it remembers from the last session, it wants to Show/hide a field. That gives you a little head start. What field is it going to show? We have to say Show Button4, click OK. Then we want to add the Mouse Exit behavior, which is Show/hide a field again, and we tell it this time we want it to hide Button4. So when we look at the entries here, this tells you what it's going to do. At Enter, it's going to Show/hide a field. On the Exit, it's going to Show/hide a field.

So we have to establish both of those actions for this same button. Click Close and then again, always a good idea to test, click Close Form Editing, get the Hands Tool, and sure enough. So once you get the hang of this, it gets really easy. It's a little confusing at first, but just remember there's a field that you want to show and hide and there's a trigger, it's the other button that's going to show and hide that field. By the way, you're not limited to just showing and hiding one field, you can actually have multiple buttons show up when you choose that action.

But in this case, it's just the thumbnail and the large version of the image. So think how practical this could be when you're trying to create educational pieces, or even just something pretty like this.

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