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Working with interactive actions

From: Acrobat X Essential Training

Video: Working with interactive actions

Whenever we are talking about interactive PDFs, a lot of what we are talking about is adding actions to elements in the PDF that our end user can interact with, whether they're using Reader or Acrobat. So I wanted to devote this movie just to talking about these kinds of actions that you can assign to elements. They're not immediately obvious. They're kind of quiet, but they're very powerful. So let's just go through the different places where you can assign an action and then talk about some of the different actions that you might want to consider. I am looking at a simple two-page PDF and on this PDF I have both a link, which is surrounding the title Taste of California, and I have a button which is this right pointing arrow.

Working with interactive actions

Whenever we are talking about interactive PDFs, a lot of what we are talking about is adding actions to elements in the PDF that our end user can interact with, whether they're using Reader or Acrobat. So I wanted to devote this movie just to talking about these kinds of actions that you can assign to elements. They're not immediately obvious. They're kind of quiet, but they're very powerful. So let's just go through the different places where you can assign an action and then talk about some of the different actions that you might want to consider. I am looking at a simple two-page PDF and on this PDF I have both a link, which is surrounding the title Taste of California, and I have a button which is this right pointing arrow.

Now if I go to the tools panel to edit some of these things, so I am going to Content > Select Object. Here is my link. If you double-click it, you will see that there is a tab called Actions. So if you select that, you will see that you can add an action to the link. Now the Action will not happen until somebody clicks the link. Which action can happen? Well, right now its set to Execute a menu item, and the menu item is to Open a web link. That means when somebody clicks on this link in Reader or Acrobat, it's going to open up in their browser to this URL.

The Action was added to this link from this dropdown menu up here. The very first choice in the dropdown menu and almost every place that you find an action in Acrobat will be Execute a menu item, which to me is one of the most accessible ways to add some interactivity to a PDF. If you choose Execute a menu item and click Add, you will be presented with a list of just about every menu item possible in the program. So you could select any of these and then when somebody clicks this link, it would be the same thing as if they had gone to the Edit menu and chosen Find.

Or some other actions that you might want to choose, things that don't exist on the menu, are going to a certain view, importing data, opening a file, opening a web link was the one that we used already for this one. Playing a sound, reading an article, which is a different way to read information in a PDF, run a JavaScript, turn a layer on and off, show and hide a field, all these are the cool kind of actions that you can add to a link. To the right of that we have a button. You remember that right pointing arrow? So I have a video devoted to buttons, but I just want talk about actions and buttons.

If you double-click the button, in the Button Properties, it's a little bit more complicated, not too much, the fact that you have a choice about what happens when the action occurs. It's not by default when somebody clicks the button; by the way, when somebody presses down the mouse button and then the mouse button goes up, then the action occurs. But look, you can also have it, Mouse Enter, Mouse Exit or when you are tabbing into that button or tabbing out of it, that's On Focus and On Blur. So you have more control over what triggers the action.

The action itself is basically the same as what we looked at for the links, so Execute a menu item, Open a file, Open a web link, and so on. You can add, by the way more than one action to an item, and that will just take place one right after the other. Also, a very powerful command is for the action to run a JavaScript. JavaScript is a programming language that's pretty accessible to most normal human beings, and there are people and companies that specialize in writing JavaScripts for the Creative Suite programs and for Acrobat.

If you run a JavaScript and then click Add, then you open up the JavaScript Editor in Acrobat, where if you had hired somebody to write a script for you or you want to try it out on your own, you can just enter the JavaScript right here. So when somebody clicks the button, then it would run the script. JavaScripts are written to go beyond what the program offers. Adobe includes a lot of what they called hooks inside the program via a Software Development Kit, an SDK and that can be accessed by anybody for free, and you can read about all the different things that you can script.

So it would be being able to string together various actions or being able to do things in a PDF that normally you can't do by choosing menu commands or items from the list of possible actions. In the concluding video, in this title, when I talk about different resources for learning more about Acrobat, I will include a couple of resources just for learning about JavaScripting and where to find scripts. So that was buttons and links. While I have this panel open, let's look at Forms. Now I don't have a form prepared here for you, I just want to mention that in form fields like text, input, radio button, submit, that kind of thing, you can also apply actions and I'll be talking about that in more detail in the chapter on forms in this title.

I previously set up this Employee Manual to automatically open with the Bookmarks panel open. Why would I want to do that? Not only just to let people know there are bookmarks, but also to show you a different way to add actions. You can add an action to a bookmark. Now bookmarks normally have an action assigned to them by default, which is that they jump to that page view. That's the action. If I right-clicked on this bookmark and went to Properties, and went to Action, you can see that it's automatically set to Go to a page in this document, Page 2.

But you're not limited to just those. I added a bunch of additional bookmarks at the top called Useful Links, where I showed some examples of other kinds of actions that you might want to sign to bookmarks, like, wouldn't it be nice if you received this Employee Manual that you would be able to automatically do a search? So if I click Search This Document, it opens up the high end search, rather than doing regular find. That you could jump to a web site, that you could read an FAQ. That you could even, like, select this, and let me show you what it looks like behind the scenes before we actually do it.

Properties, the Action for this is to Open up a file. So what is this file? If you click it, it opens up an employee verification form. So the Search This Document is the link that executes a menu item. Advanced search, and visit our web site opens up a URL, and FAQ might jump to a page or open up a different document, and Sign the Employee Form. So sometimes when you're dealing with a PDF, you don't have room to add links or to add buttons, to do things that you think the recipient might want to do. So a great way is to add the Action to a bookmark.

Also, because you can set it up so that the bookmark panel opens up by default. The same is true for the Page Thumbnails panel. The Page Thumbnails panel is a place where you can right-click, go to Page Properties, and choose an Action just for that page. You can set a Trigger, but the default trigger is Page Open. In other words, as soon as somebody opens up this PDF, this action will occur. So did you ever want that to happen, like maybe or as soon somebody opened up a PDF, automatically the Search field opened up? You could do that with Page Properties and adding Actions to pages.

So as you can see, Actions are very powerful ways to add high-level interactivity to all your PDFs, and don't forget that they're available to you in Links, Buttons, Form Fields, Bookmarks, and the Page Thumbnails panel.

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This video is part of

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Acrobat X Essential Training

97 video lessons · 31532 viewers

Anne-Marie Concepción
Author

 
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  1. 1m 53s
    1. Welcome
      1m 33s
    2. Using the exercise files
      20s
  2. 55m 0s
    1. Opening documents and moving them around
      6m 3s
    2. Working with the toolbars
      5m 59s
    3. Working with the panels
      3m 43s
    4. Customizing the toolbar with Quick Tools
      4m 40s
    5. Using the Pages panel to navigate
      3m 57s
    6. Selecting and copying text and graphics
      3m 24s
    7. Rotating pages
      4m 49s
    8. Changing the viewing options
      6m 12s
    9. Reviewing preferences
      7m 6s
    10. Finding words and phrases
      2m 35s
    11. Searching a PDF and working with the Search panel
      4m 21s
    12. Sharing PDFs by email and with Adobe SendNow
      2m 11s
  3. 33m 18s
    1. Creating PDFs from Microsoft Office applications
      9m 46s
    2. Creating PDFs from Creative Suite applications
      8m 57s
    3. Creating PDFs from within Acrobat Pro
      4m 27s
    4. Creating PDFs from a web site
      8m 22s
    5. Creating PDFs from the clipboard
      1m 46s
  4. 30m 58s
    1. Editing text
      8m 51s
    2. Adding text
      4m 40s
    3. Editing images and graphics
      3m 39s
    4. Changing the page number display
      3m 48s
    5. Digitally signing PDFs
      6m 26s
    6. Cropping pages and documents
      3m 34s
  5. 1h 6m
    1. Adding watermarks
      6m 17s
    2. Adding page backgrounds
      5m 41s
    3. Adding page numbers
      5m 56s
    4. Adding headers and footers
      9m 7s
    5. Adding bookmarks
      11m 30s
    6. Attaching files to a PDF
      7m 11s
    7. Adding metadata
      3m 45s
    8. Optimizing a PDF for file size and compatibility
      10m 12s
    9. Creating initial view settings
      7m 16s
  6. 37m 59s
    1. Adding hyperlinks to URLs
      7m 33s
    2. Creating links with the Link tool
      6m 9s
    3. Working with interactive actions
      6m 56s
    4. Creating and adding buttons
      6m 28s
    5. Adding video, sound, and SWF files
      7m 29s
    6. Adding page transitions
      3m 24s
  7. 27m 12s
    1. Extracting pages
      3m 53s
    2. Splitting a PDF into multiple files
      4m 13s
    3. Inserting pages from files and other sources
      5m 42s
    4. Moving, copying, and replacing pages
      8m 17s
    5. Combining PDFs
      5m 7s
  8. 27m 9s
    1. Exporting text
      8m 33s
    2. Exporting images
      6m 33s
    3. Exporting PDFs to Microsoft Word
      7m 21s
    4. Exporting PDFs to Microsoft Excel
      4m 42s
  9. 26m 27s
    1. Working with portfolios
      6m 57s
    2. Creating portfolios
      6m 26s
    3. Customizing portfolios
      7m 23s
    4. Optimizing backward compatibility
      5m 41s
  10. 32m 9s
    1. Creating an interactive form
      6m 42s
    2. Working with form fields
      6m 41s
    3. Editing field properties
      5m 34s
    4. Distributing and collecting forms
      9m 43s
    5. Enabling Reader to save form data
      3m 29s
  11. 34m 26s
    1. Adding sticky notes and other annotations
      9m 2s
    2. Using the drawing markup tools
      6m 10s
    3. Viewing, filtering, and replying to comments
      5m 24s
    4. Printing, summarizing, and exporting comments
      6m 35s
    5. Exporting comments to Word for Windows
      3m 28s
    6. Enabling extended commenting in Acrobat Reader
      3m 47s
  12. 25m 29s
    1. Understanding the different review processes
      2m 7s
    2. Using the email review process
      4m 33s
    3. Conducting a shared review with Acrobat.com
      6m 54s
    4. Using the Review Tracker
      4m 32s
    5. Using the Collaborate Live review process
      7m 23s
  13. 31m 2s
    1. Reviewing the print production tools
      5m 18s
    2. Previewing color separations
      3m 51s
    3. Using the Object Inspector to learn details
      3m 13s
    4. Working with the Preflight dialog box
      5m 34s
    5. Fixing hairlines
      3m 57s
    6. Converting colors
      2m 27s
    7. Saving as a standards-compliant PDF
      6m 42s
  14. 19m 16s
    1. Scanning a paper document to PDF
      4m 44s
    2. Setting up optimization options
      6m 48s
    3. Recognizing text in a scanned PDF
      4m 43s
    4. Reviewing and correcting OCR suspects
      3m 1s
  15. 17m 18s
    1. Using the built-in Actions for automation
      5m 32s
    2. Editing Actions
      4m 7s
    3. Creating new Actions
      4m 51s
    4. Sharing Actions with others
      2m 48s
  16. 35m 27s
    1. Choosing a security method
      5m 27s
    2. Password-protecting a PDF
      7m 28s
    3. Securing a PDF with a certificate
      5m 6s
    4. Creating a digital id
      5m 43s
    5. Removing sensitive content with the Redaction feature
      6m 52s
    6. Revealing and clearing hidden information
      4m 51s
  17. 33m 45s
    1. Opening and navigating PDFs in Reader
      7m 30s
    2. Adding comments
      3m 14s
    3. Viewing extended features
      6m 53s
    4. Digitally signing a PDF
      6m 15s
    5. Sharing PDFs
      2m 29s
    6. Using Acrobat.com
      7m 24s
  18. 3m 54s
    1. Final thoughts
      3m 54s

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