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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.
Here is a simple, interactive form that we created in a previous video, an invitation to Oilfest. And this was created by creating the document itself in a different program, converting that to PDF, and then letting Acrobat's Automatic Form Recognition Field engine take over, and it has turned this into bunch of different fields: text insertion fields and also check boxes and radio buttons. But I'll tell you that most of the time you're going to have to do further editing on top of Acrobat's own automatic stuff. For example, here in the Department field, I can click in here and type the name of my department, but what if I prefer that the people are filling this out choose the name of their department from a list of six departments that I am going to offer.
Well there is no way for the Form Recognition engine to figure out what's supposed to be a dropdown menu, especially if you don't have them all listed here. So even just that one example is an example of why you'd need to edit a form. So what I want to do is go through, briefly, each of the eight different kinds of form fields that you might add to a form, or edit in one that Acrobat created for you. So to edit a form, you want to go to the Tools panel, go down to Forms and click Edit. And by the way, you can get right into the Edit Form mode for any kind of PDF.
It doesn't have to be an existing interactive form. Just click Edit, and if you get an offer to convert it automatically, you can just click No, and you'll stay in Edit mode. So once you're in Editing Form mode, you can see the eight fields across the top here. They are also in a dropdown menu here. Again, to preview what the form is going to look like without leaving Form Edit mode, just click the Preview button, and then click the Edit button to go back to editing your form. When you're done, click Close Form Editing.
So let's say that I don't want this to be a text field, so I am going to select this field, right-click, and choose Delete. Instead, I wanted to have a dropdown menu. So I will select this tool up here, which is the dropdown menu, and drag across. Let's create my own field. Give it a name. I will call this Department and then go to Properties and fill in all the items in the list that I want, all the different departments. I will be talking about properties of different field types in the next video.
But I made a little cheat sheet for you, to show you the different kinds of fields, all these eight fields, and what they are for. I have that open already, but I can't get to it because I'm in Form Editing mode, which is a little quirk of Acrobat that drives me crazy. If you want to switch to a different document, you have to close Form Editing, and now I can go back there. So I choose the exploring form fields in Acrobat X, and if you have the exercise files, this document is sitting in that chapter. The first kind of field that we have is the text field-- let me get back into Form Editing mode, so we can see them onscreen.
This is the kind that Acrobat adds most often next to any kind of label with a line next to it. This field is the kind that you see most often any form, where you just click inside and start typing. And you can have multiple lines of type, you can choose to have a scrollbar appear; it's a very flexible kind of field. Then you also have two kinds of fields that present you a with a list of pre-selected choices, and one of them is called the list box, and the other one is Dropdown. And up here in the Tools panel, this of the list box one and the one to the right next to it is the Dropdown list.
You'll see them over here again as List Box and Dropdown. See the cute little dropdown? So if we go to Preview, you can sort of see how these would work. Somebody is in the list box, and it says like, "Choose your favorite things." So they say, "Oh! I love whiskers on kittens." Well you can allow people, in Properties, to just choose more than one thing, and if so, you would say, in the instructions, hold down the Command or Ctrl key and to select additional items. So I just did so to select these two things. In a dropdown menu, like what we're talking about for our departments, you would enter in the Field Properties a list of the options, and choose which one appears by default.
Then the users would see this, and then they can select the one that they want. And again, you can offer them the opportunity--if you set this up properly in Properties--to select more than one item, or even to enter their own item. If we go back to Edit mode, we can take a peek at how this is set up. So I double-click on the Dropdown Edit mode, and you see that it's called Raindrops on Roses is the first one it should appear in it, and then these are all the other choices. I will close out of that. Then we have--I'm going to scroll down--check box and radio buttons.
The main difference between check box and radio buttons are if you aren't presenting the recipient with a list of choices and they can make choose more than one item from a certain category--like, for example, interests at this event--then you want to give them a series of check boxes. On the other hand, if they have to make one choice in a list of options for a certain category--and only one choice-- then you want to give them radio buttons. Let's see how that looks. I will switch back to Preview. So for check box, I could say, I'm interested in brining and grading.
So please sign me up for those seminars. But for my T-shirt size, I am definitely a large. Oh wait, I think I'd like to get a medium for my daughter too. Oh no, you can't. See? All the other ones become deselected as soon as you select one. We will go back to Edit mode. Then we have a button and bar code, all right. So up here, this is the button where it says "OK," and the bar code is over here. You may remember talking about the button field in the chapter on using multimedia, because a button can be used to do things like start and stop movies, things like that.
Well, buttons are also used in forms, such as submit data or clear data or send something or import something. So a button is another frequently accessed field in interactive forms. Bar codes are used with third-party software that allows you to treat a bar code field that automatically pulls in or exports information to a database. And finally, we have the digital signature field, which is this field up here with the X next to it. The digital signature field I've talked about in a few videos. This allows you to indicate where the recipient should click inside to add their own digital signature--an the actual digital signature; not something they would print out and write out themselves; something that gets created within Adobe Acrobat or Reader.
So those are the eight different kinds of fields that you can create and manipulate and modify in Adobe Acrobat.
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