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Print, submit, and signature buttons

From: InDesign Insider Training: Interactive PDFs

Video: Print, submit, and signature buttons

Okay, our form is really coming together now. I have version three of my Flyer file open. And the various fields are all in here. There's just a couple more things we need to do. I'm going to show you how you can add a signature field and then I need some way to get this data from the person filling it out back to me. To do that, I'm going to add a Submit button. First the signature field. Let's go ahead and select this frame and zoom into two hundred percent with Cmd + 2 or Ctrl+ 2 on windows. And I've decided that I don't really need that combo box.

Print, submit, and signature buttons

Okay, our form is really coming together now. I have version three of my Flyer file open. And the various fields are all in here. There's just a couple more things we need to do. I'm going to show you how you can add a signature field and then I need some way to get this data from the person filling it out back to me. To do that, I'm going to add a Submit button. First the signature field. Let's go ahead and select this frame and zoom into two hundred percent with Cmd + 2 or Ctrl+ 2 on windows. And I've decided that I don't really need that combo box.

That little pop up menu down there anymore. I could just delete it and then put a different frame in its place. But the cool thing about indesign is that I can change one kind of field into another kind of form field. So if I want to make this a signature field instead of a combo box, I just select it on the page, open my Buttons and Forms panel and change the Type Popup menu from Combo Box to Signature Field. When I do that, all of those list items just get thrown away and this field is now a signature field. There aren't really any options or things to consider when you do this, although I suppose you may want to turn on required if you require a signature on here. And I should be clear here, this is specifically for a digital signature not something that somebody would sign by hand.

Digital signatures are a feature that you can set up in Acrobat, you don't know how to do that. Check out the Acrobat Essential Training Title here in the lynda.com online training library. But in this case there is a little flyre we don't actually need a signature. So I'm just going to select that and delete it. Just press the Delete key. What we do need is a Submit button. Something that will actually tell Acrobat to send me this data. You'd expect that this would be one of the button types like text fields or check boxes, but it's not. Instead, you just make a regular button and then give it a submit action. I'd like my button to be a little prettier than I personally could draw so, I'm going to grab one from the Sample Buttons Library.

I'll open that library, grab one of these buttons, I like this gray one, and then I'll just drag it down onto my page. It's a little bit big so let's scale that down with a Cmd+ Shift or a Ctrl + Shift drag on one of the corner handles. That looks pretty good. Then I can drag it into position. Of course, nobody's going to know that this is a submit button unless I put the word submit in here somewhere. And I could make a label off to the side I suppose, but that would be kind of tacky. Instead, let's get the word right here inside the button. Remember, buttons are just regular InDesign frames or in this case a couple of frames inside the button.

To put text in those frames, I'll grab the type tool And hover on top of them. I'm going to be careful in this case, to hover over the bottom part of the frame, cause I happen to know that this is two different frames, one on top of the other, and I want to click on the larger one. I'll click on the bottom part of this button, and then I'll just type the word Submit. Let's format that a little bit. I'll press Cmd+A or Ctrl+A to select all of it i close my Sample and Buttons library and I will change the font here to Nereid Pro. Lets make it bold as well and increase the size may be 18 points, it would be nice to have it centered.

So first i will center at horizontally Control panel and centre it vertically i am going to go to the Object menu and choose Text Frame options. Remember, even though this is acting as a button, it's just a regular text frame. So you can do all your normal text frame things. Let's vertically align this to center. When I switch back to my Selection tool and open my Buttons and Forms panel, I can see that there are two different states. There's the normal state of this button and the rollover state. As I talked about in an earlier chapter this actually represents two different objects.

I have objects in the normal state and I have nearly identical objects in the roll over state. If I click on roll over then Indesign hides the normal objects and shows me the roll over objects. I want to put the same text inside the roll over state so just really quickly I'll go back to normal. Grab my Type tool, click inside that frame, select all of it with a Cmd+A or a Ctrl+A on Windows, and copy it to the clipboard. Now I'm going to go back to the selection tool, click on Rollover so I get the other objects, and repeat it. Type tool, click, and paste, Cmd+V or Ctrl+V.

That puts the text in there, but I still need to go back to the Object menu and set my vertical justification. I'll set that one to center 2, and click OK. Now, when I've returned to my Selection tool, I can see that I have text in both the normal state and the Rollover state. of course I want to make sure I name my button properly, so I'll change this from button 4 to submit, and then I need to give it an action. By default, most of those buttons inside the sample buttons and forms library have actions assigned to them automatically.

This one has the go to url action, and I don't want that. So let's go ahead and make sure that's selected, and then I'll click on this little minus button. Click on that and say okay and it deletes it. The action that I do want the sign to here is something different all the way on the bottom of the Action panel, you can see submit form. There are some other form options in here to that you should know about like clear form. Clear form is great for setting a form back to its default state basically just deleting everything that somebody typed in there.

Print form is helpful because sometimes you want to print a form out. Really all that does is when somebody clicks on it it opens the print Dialog box and let's them print. I'm not going to worry about that now. I want submit form. When you choose submit form in design displays the URL field and this is the only trick about submitting forms. If you know that you have some sort of software running on a web server that can accept HTTP form data. Then you can type the URL in here, but honestly most of the time, what I recommend people do, is just type in a mail to address. I'll just type mail to colon, and then my email address. This way when someone clicks a Submit button, Acrobat will actually save the data and email it to me.

Alright, I think we're done. Let's go ahead and go to the File menu and choose Export. I'll save this out as an Adobe PDF interactive document, and it'll open up in Acrobat. And I'll see that all my form objects work great. I can choose whether I'm going to be there or not. I can type my name. Type my email address. (SOUND) You get the idea? Turn my check box on or off. And then finally, submit. When I hover over there, Acrobat actually shows me where this is going to submit it. Now if everyone you know uses Acrobat 11 or later, then you're done. But if you think that some people who need to fill out your form don't have Acrobat Pro or if they have an older copy of the free reader app then you've got one more step.

You need to save your PDF in a reader enable form. To do that I'll go the File menu and choose Save As Other. Then I go to reader extended PDF, and finally, I'm going to choose enable more tools. When I choose that, Acrobat tells me what's going to happen, and it warns me. It says, when you save this, some things will no longer work, like you can't edit the PDF anymore. That's fine. I'll click Save As, but I do want to make sure that when I save it. I'm going to save it with a different name so that I don't overwrite my original, because I might want to go back and edit that PDF.

I'll just add the word reader to that one and click save. By the way, I should point out that there's a completely different option when it comes to adding a Submit button. Instead of using InDesign or Acrobat to add your submit button, you could sign up for Adobe FormsCentral. FormsCentral has free and paid subscriptions that give you different kinds of features for collecting and analyzing form data. Once you've signed up, you could actually upload your PDF form and have them insert a special kind of submit button inside it. And then you could take that PDF and distribute it to people. So, if you're going to go that route, then you'd skip the step of adding a button in InDesign.

However, make sure you follow their, kind of, strict rules about where you need to leave space for their Submit button. But for now, I'm going to switch back to Acrobat, because I'm happy with the form just the way it is. And now that I've saved this, I can put it on a website or I could email it to people and just wait for their responses. When I get their files back, I could even merge all their data together and put it in a spreadsheet. To do that I'm going to go to the tools area inside Acrobat, make sure I look at the forms area and inside more form options I can choose merge data files into spreadsheet.

But, you know, that's a bigger topic and a subject for another day.

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InDesign Insider Training: Interactive PDFs

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David Blatner
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