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If your PDF form needs a place where users can choose items from a list, you need either a list box or a combo box. Both of which can be created in InDesign CS6. So let's start with the list box. Up here in the Personal Details section of my form I need to make a list for the states for applicants to choose to say where they're from. So over here in States, I have just regular InDesign frame. I'll go to my Buttons and Forms panel and I'll choose Type > List Box. I'll give it a name, state, and down here I need to enter the List Items.
So I need to enter the abbreviations for the various states. I can click the Plus button after each one or I can use a keyboard shortcut. So I'll enter in a state name and I hold down Shift and then press Return or Enter. This keeps my cursor in the List Items dialog box and I can just keep typing state names, and so on. Once I have my list items, I can click on an item to make it the default choice displayed in the PDF. If I don't want any default selection, I can click on an item to remove the highlighting and its default status.
If you don't choose a default with the list, then the first item is going to be visible. So here I'll just enter another item called CHOOSE STATE and make that the default. I can also sort the items alphabetically, if I want to. One thing to be aware of is that you can't edit a list item after you've entered it. So if you make a typo and enter that, you are going to have to delete the list item and then replace it with a new one. Those are the options for list box. Let's make a combo box now. I'll scroll down and here under Actual Grade, I would like to enter a combo box.
So here's where I would like the person to be able to enter in the actual grade they received in a course and I can make a list of A, B, and C grades, or I can allow them to enter in their own grade, say if they got pass or fail, A+, C-, and so forth. So right now this is a Text Field. I'm going to select from the Type menu and convert it to a Combo Box. Notice the name changed and so did some of the options? I'll enter in some List items. So I'll press A and Shift+Return, B+Shift +Return, C+Shift+Return, and notice that there's no option in the Buttons and Forms panel to allow me to allow the user to enter custom text.
For that, that's going to be one of those post InDesign processes that we have to do in Acrobat. So let's export this document out to PDF and try out our list box and our combo box. I'll press Command+E, go to my Desktop, and I'll call it LIST AND COMBO, and click OK. So here I have it in Acrobat. I have my default CHOOSE STATE or I can pick from the list of the states that I typed in, and down below I've my combo box where I can select an actual grade.
But if I try to type in some custom text to say pass, I'm unable to do that yet. So again, this is something that you have to fix in Acrobat, because you can't set custom text on a combo box in InDesign yet. So I'll go to Tools > Forms > Edit and then I'll double-click on this form field. In the options, I'll select allow user to enter custom text. I'll close the dialog box and close Form Editing.
Now let's try that. In this movie we saw how to create two similar kinds of form objects in InDesign: list boxes and combo boxes. Both of these allow the PDF user to select items from a list. Combo boxes can also be added in Acrobat to allow people to add their own custom text instead of just picking from the list that you create.
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