Join Claudia McCue for an in-depth discussion in this video Designing forms with InDesign, part of Acrobat XI: Creating Forms.
I've been working on this form in InDesign with the intention of exporting it to PDF. And then taking that PDF into Acrobat and using the auto recognition feature in the hopes that perhaps Acrobat could save me a little work when I'm creating fields. But I need to give Acrobat better hints. So for example, where I need text fields here for names and address and so on, if I give it horizontal lines, it'll take the hint and it'll know what to do. And under sections, where I need check boxes, I'm going to need some little rectangles. And finally reception under reception, where I have mutually exclusive choices yes or no, I need to give it some little circles so hopefully it takes the hint and creates radio buttons.
So I'm going to start with the lines. Now, I can take my line tool and draw lines or I could use my Pen tool, but honestly the sane way to do this is with tab stops and tab leaders. So first, I'm going to show my hidden characters by going to Type, and Show Hidden Characters, and you can see that there aren't any tabs in place. So, I'm going to press my tab key here at the end of the first line. You'd have to look really close to see that anything happened, but trust me, I entered a tab. Same for the next paragraph and on down through email.
Okay, so I have tabs there, but they don't have an official place to stop, that's where tab stops comes in. So I'm going to select all of these paragraphs, and open my tab panel by going Type and Tabs. Now tabs live in this little narrow band, up above the ruler. And what I want is a line that goes all the way out and I want it to end in the same position in each paragraph, so I'm going to used my right aligned tab, click around the seven inch mark. There, you can see some movement, but I don't have a line yet. And, that's where the leader comes in.
So, I'm going to click in the Leader Field, type one under score, you don't need more than one, and there you go. There are my lines. But, I need to do some additional work between first name and last name. I need another line there. So I'm going to click to the left of the L in last name. And press my Tab key again. Now, the only Tab Stop in that paragraph is that riding line tab. And I need another one to create the line between first name and last name. And another one, to continue on from last name to the end of the paragraph. Now, notice that there's a light around my tab stop up here.
What I want to do, is create a Left Tab Stop. To the left of last name. You could actually do it with a right align or left align tab, but I tend to think of it this way. I want to know where the left end of this little clump of text is going to fall, so I'm going to create a left justified tab. If I select that option now, I'm going to change the nature of this tab stop. So little word of advice, just ruff in the next one. Then, change it's species. There, there is my left tab stop, and then, you can see as I drag it, I get this nice little troll line, so I can tell where things are going to fall.
That's going to need it's own little leader, so I'll click again in the Leader f=Field, create an underscore, and there we go. Now, I have no way of knowing how long somebodies first name or last name is going to be, so I'm just going to have to guess. But, I think that'll work. Now, I need you to take the same approach down in city, state, and zip. So, first I'm going to click before zip, press my tab key, click Before State, press my tag key. Not worry about what happens right now, it even runs that text to the next line, but it'll all get better when I place my new stops.
So again, I'm going to do these with left stops, and I'm just going to rough them in. And that helps at least get the text back on the same line. Now, the Zip's going to be a fairly short entry. State, well, it depends on whether they put in the abbreviation, or whether they type the name of the state. So I'm going to give them room for both. And then, of course, I'm going to need my little lines. So, I'm going to make sure that this little tab stop is selected. Click in the Leader Field and type another underscore there is one line and then we are going to highlight this little tab stop and give it a leader.
And there you go, I might reposition my little tab for the state little to the left there, I think that's better. Now down here at the bottom, for sessions and then for the radio buttons next to attending the reception, I have a couple of different ways I could do this. I could do it with type characters or I could do it with little geometric shapes. So I'll show you how to do both. But for now I don't need my tabs panel anymore. So I can close it out. These three choices for the sessions need to be check boxed.
So, I'll show you how to do it with a letter or a character rather out of a font. I'm going to click before insulating, hit my spacebar just to put a little air there and then hit my left arrow to get back before that space. Up under type, I'm going to choose Glyph and then that lets me shop through a font through characters in a font. So a glpyh is just a character. It could be a letter, could be a number, it could be a symbol, it could be a (INAUDIBLE) character. But I happen to know that wingdings and webdings have have nice little characters that might work for my rectangle.
So, I'm going to start with wingdings, now there's wingdings one, two, and three, and I'm just going to try plain old wingdings and see what I get. Now that's a perfectly good rectangle. I think that might do that job. So, since my cursor is already inserted in the text, once I found this clip, all I need to do is double click it and it gets inserted. There you go. But there's another way to do this and that is to create just a little rectangle and then copy that.
Double click, which is a nice shortcut way to switch back to the type tool, and then I'm going to paste, and then hit my space bar. And the reason I'm hitting the space is, well, for visual reasons. Of course, you don't want it too claustrophobic, but it also helps Acrobat understand oh that's a rectangle, that's some text next to it. This really calls for a check box. Now is one of these solutions going to be more successful than the other? I will say that with the auto recognize feature, I have had equal success with both of these solutions. It's up to you, although one nice thing about creating just the little rectangle, is sometimes it's easier to control the size of it.
So I'm just going to copy that again. Paste, hit my space bar, there we go. So now that you know how to use glyphs, and I've told you that you're probably going to have equivalent results whether you use glyphs or whether you use little geometric shapes, I'm just going to go ahead and do my radio buttons with this little circle. So I'm going to Copy it, I just use my keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+C or Cmd+C. Double click, which again is a nice way to switch back to the Type tool. Click before the Yes, paste and hit my space bar. And same thing for the No. Paste and hit my space bar. Another little bit of advice.
Put a space between this little clump. Think of it that way. The little circle on the yes, and the circle on the no. Put a space between those, so that Acrobat sees that these things are related to each other. If you have them all smashed up together, it wont make sense of it. And finally one last thing. I'm going to save this as an interactive PDF. But the only interactivity potentially in it, is this URL. So, I'm going to highlight that text, and you don't even have to copy it although it's not a bad idea. It saves you having to type. And then I'm going to go to Window, Interactive, and Hyperlinks.
And then I'm just going to paste and there we go. So that's going to create a hyperlink, and I put an underscore under it. Now keep in mind that in Acrobat, it's not going to be blue, then turn purple when somebody clicks on it. Acrobat doesn't support that, but chances are when anybody sees something that's underscored. They feel apparent full urge to click on it and its going to become a URL, an active clickable URL when it goes into acrobat. So I think at this point I've given acrobat a pretty good head start and so I am going to export to PDF, and then I am going to take it into acrobat and see if I saved myself some time
- Designing forms
- Exporting PDFs from Word, Illustrator, or InDesign
- Creating and editing text fields, list boxes, and more
- Adding buttons and check boxes
- Converting frames to fields
- Creating matrixes
- Adding calculations
- Enabling PDFs for Acrobat Reader