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Reviewing the new Form tools

From: InDesign CS6 New Features

Video: Reviewing the new Form tools

By far, one of my favorite features in InDesign CS6 is the ability to completely create forms right in InDesign, not just the pretty backgrounds, but also the form fields themselves. Now I am going to be getting to the form field tools in a minute, but what I want to show you is how it used to be. And maybe you've never actually created an interactive form. I am talking about those PDF forms that you could fill in online and then you can print out or submit. Up until now, this is what we had to do. First of all, all forms that you see in Reader or Acrobat that you fill in had to be designed somewhere. You can't design them in Acrobat.

Reviewing the new Form tools

By far, one of my favorite features in InDesign CS6 is the ability to completely create forms right in InDesign, not just the pretty backgrounds, but also the form fields themselves. Now I am going to be getting to the form field tools in a minute, but what I want to show you is how it used to be. And maybe you've never actually created an interactive form. I am talking about those PDF forms that you could fill in online and then you can print out or submit. Up until now, this is what we had to do. First of all, all forms that you see in Reader or Acrobat that you fill in had to be designed somewhere. You can't design them in Acrobat.

So they are either designed in Microsoft Word or InDesign or a similar kind of program. So if you are in InDesign, you might, for example, design this form that prospective students of Roux Academy could download from the Roux Academy website and fill in to schedule a campus tour. So we created all of these holders for their name and email address and so on, but we can't actually create the fields in any version of InDesign, up until CS6. What you are supposed to do would be to design this and then rely on the Acrobat Form Wizard, which has been around for a couple of versions.

And I talk about it at length in my Acrobat 10 Essentials Training and also Acrobat 10 Tips and Tricks, but let's see how this works. I am going to export this to PDF. From the Export menu, choose PDF Interactive, right up onto the Desktop. We are just going to accept the default values, okay, and I am going to click OK. And here it is, open up in Acrobat 10. It basically works the same way in earlier versions as well. So it's just a normal PDF; it's not a form. You're supposed to then go to the Form area and choose Create.

And it says, how do you want to do this, should we use the current document, yes, please, yes, the current document. And then it scans it and it says, okay, I'm done. Now you're in Form Editing mode. And how many fields was it able to detect? One, one whopping little radio button right here. See, it found the XLarge radio button, but not Name or the E-mail address or Comments or this Submit button. You would have to re-create these yourselves with the form tools in Acrobat. Now reason that it didn't recognize it is because it's too beautiful. Acrobat is used to very plain and simple kind of forms.

So there are many video tutorials, including mine and blog posts and articles, all about how to create a form in InDesign that the Form Wizard will recognize. Basically, you have to create a really simple form, like this one. You put boxes or lines next to the labels, and then we export again to PDF Interactive. I just press Command+E or Ctrl+E. It's a shortcut. We'll accept the defaults. Click OK. Fit in window and go to the Create Forms Wizard. Next. Yes, I said this one.

And now it did a much better job of recognizing the fields. So designers were resigned to creating very simple forms in InDesign if they wanted to be able to leverage the wizard in Acrobat. No, I don't want to save you. Now let's see what's new in CS6. Here is another form that looks just like that first form. Remember the one that Acrobat didn't recognize? Except this one has fields in it, fields that I created with the tools in InDesign. Let's export this guy to PDF. You use the same defaults. And check that out.

It's already a form. We don't have to run the Form Wizard; it is a form. We can enter our name here, AM Concepcion. We can tab to the next field, where I can enter my E-mail address, and it was outlined in red because it's required. That was something that I set up in InDesign. I can say yes, I'm interested in seeing the classrooms and the dorms or the library. There we go, classrooms and library. My T-shirt size is extra large. I have a bunch of comments I might want to enter, and I write really long, so you I get a little scrollbar.

This, again, I did in InDesign. The year that I'm going to be attending Roux Academy is, and I can choose from this list, and even that tooltip. When do you expect to enroll? I did that in InDesign. 2014. And then I can Submit. And this Submit button I added in InDesign. And it's going to submit the filled-out PDF form via an attachment to an email, so it's asking, which email program do I run? So I am not going to go that far right now, but I just want to show you how much we were able to do right in InDesign. Now, there are still some tweaks that you might want to do in Acrobat, and I'll be getting to that in another video in this chapter.

But let's jump back to InDesign, and let me show you where all the miracles happen. So I'll change the view to normal mode. First let's switch our Workspace from Essentials to Interactive for PDF, where most of our tools will be located. And you can see down here that the Buttons panel has been renamed to Buttons and Forms. So when you make something into a button, just by dragging it out of shape or selecting an object on the page, and you come to Buttons and Forms and you click the friendly little icon to convert it to a button, you can go under the type of button and choose these form fields.

So I want this thing to be a combo box, for whatever reason, or a text field or a radio button. It's nice that you can just switch from one to the next. You don't have to remove it, you know deconvert it from being a button and re-apply it. You can just switch among types of buttons. I love that. In addition, InDesign has added a few more actions, such as Clear Form, so you might make a button that says Reset and then assign this action to it. Print Form and Submit Form, that's the one that I used down here.

Part of the Interactive for PDF workspace has this library that's been around ever since we had an Interactive for PDF workspace. It used to be called Sample Buttons, and now it's called Sample Buttons and Forms. They have some preset form buttons up at the top. All the regular buttons are below. So if you want to create a series of radio buttons really quickly, you can just use these if you wanted to. I could select this one and then just drag them out here and drop them on the pasteboard and resize them as I'd like. And they have already been set up, if I select one and go to Buttons and Forms, as a radio button with a Normal and a Rollover On and a Normal Off, so whether it's selected or not selected. It's really nice.

A couple of other places that have been updated to deal with the new forms features are up here under the Object menu. So if you go to the Interactive flyout menu, that's also a place where you can take any kind of button and convert it to a form sort of button, or convert it back to an object. And the Set Tab Order now applies to the actual fields that you add. In your forms, you can set the tabbing order right here and it's maintained. And then that export to PDF dialog box, let me bring that back up, call this 2, you see right here that under Media, it used to just say Media and now it says Forms and Media. So you want to Include All, rather than Appearance Only.

So if you are at all familiar with working with buttons in your InDesign files, then changing those to actual form fields is very easy to do. And even if you've never created an interactive form in either InDesign or Acrobat, it's really simple. So, one of my top features of InDesign CS6 is this one right here, creating form fields, interactive forms, right in InDesign.

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This video is part of

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InDesign CS6 New Features

34 video lessons · 17747 viewers

Anne-Marie Concepción
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 59s
    1. Welcome
      57s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 2s
  2. 14m 23s
    1. Exploring interface tweaks
      6m 56s
    2. Examining the new tools and dialog boxes
      7m 27s
  3. 32m 41s
    1. Working with the Conveyer tool
      10m 7s
    2. Linking objects
      12m 11s
    3. Mapping styles
      10m 23s
  4. 50m 5s
    1. Understanding flexible layouts
      8m 16s
    2. Working with Alternate Layout
      12m 52s
    3. Understanding Liquid Layout rules
      7m 30s
    4. Using the basic Liquid Page Rule options: Scale, Re-center, and Based on Master
      6m 52s
    5. Applying guide-based Liquid Layout rules
      8m 10s
    6. Applying object-based Liquid Layout rules
      6m 25s
  5. 14m 51s
    1. Working with flexible columns
      3m 27s
    2. Auto-sizing text frames
      5m 28s
    3. Exploring the primary text frame
      5m 56s
  6. 8m 15s
    1. Accessing recently used fonts
      2m 9s
    2. Applying Keep settings to spans and tables
      2m 45s
    3. Fitting frames to different types of text content
      3m 21s
  7. 28m 27s
    1. Using advanced EPUB 2 export controls
      9m 12s
    2. Exporting an EPUB 3
      9m 16s
    3. Inserting HTML and Edge content
      9m 59s
  8. 28m 4s
    1. Reviewing the new Form tools
      7m 21s
    2. Creating and previewing a basic form
      14m 40s
    3. Testing the form in Acrobat
      6m 3s
  9. 21m 24s
    1. Aligning selections to a key object
      2m 17s
    2. Using Save As to create a file for earlier versions of InDesign
      1m 40s
    3. Retaining table headers and footers
      2m 58s
    4. Importing RTFD and exporting to PNG
      4m 38s
    5. Using smart math in fields
      2m 13s
    6. Exporting interactive PDFs as pages
      1m 9s
    7. Previewing and exporting grayscale PDFs
      2m 22s
    8. Using the new world language support
      4m 7s
  10. 1m 6s
    1. Next steps
      1m 6s

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