Join Claudia McCue for an in-depth discussion in this video Designing forms in Word, part of Acrobat X: Creating Forms.
Here in the finished form, you can see that there are lines next to Last Name and First Name and Address and so forth. There are some little squares that will become checkboxes in the Acrobat form and some little circles that will become radio buttons in the Acrobat form. The differences between checkboxes and radio buttons, you'll see later on, but quickly, checkboxes let you choose multiple choices, radio buttons are mutually exclusive. They can pick only Yes or No, they can't say Yes and No or we don't know they are going to show up. So let's take a look at the beginning of this file and see how these features are added.
I'm not trying to teach you Microsoft Word, I'm just trying to give you some tips for creating these features that didn't pay off in the PDF. So how to create those lines? Well, you could press the Underscore button a bunch of times, but, A. that's no fun, and B. it's really not the cool way to do this. There is a more controllable way by using tab stops. So I'm going to highlight all of these paragraphs. Don't worry that it's selecting the artwork on the lower right; that really doesn't come into play, and I'm going to create tab stops. So I'm going to go up here to Paragraph, I'm going to choose the Tabs option.
And if you were starting from scratch, you'd have to experiment a bit to see what the proper tab stop number would be. I'm going to cheat because I already know. I want this to finish out at the 7.5 inch mark. I want to make sure it includes the Tab Leader. So notice down here under Leader, I'm checking this fourth option for Underscore, I'm going to click Set, and then OK, and we'll see what we have. There is my line. I pushed my Last Name off the page, but that's okay, I'm going to come back and clean that up later. But notice next to Address, I haven't yet pressed the Tab key.
Watch what happens when I do. See, it creates that line for me, and because I formatted all of these paragraphs with that same Tab Stop, you'll see that they all have that nice line. My artwork here is getting in the way a little bit, so I'm going to push it out of the way. See, now my lines all line up. That's much more fun than pressing that Underscore key repeatedly. But now I have to go back and clean up a little bit. I'm going to go back to this first paragraph and I'm going to add a second Tab Stop that's going to finish out my little First Name line. Again, I'm cheating, I know that if I press 4.25, that's going to work just fine.
I have to remember to check this number 4 option for Leader, Set, click OK. You notice there is not a line after Last Name. That's because I hadn't pressed the Tab key, but watch what happens when I do. See, everything lines up. Isn't that great? That's way easier than pressing that Underscore. Now I want to finish out my City, State, and Zip. I'm going to click after City, hit my Tab key, and of course, it's going to mess everything up, but that's all right. I'm going to press my Tab key after State, it's going to shut that Zip all the way off the page. But when I change my tab stops, everything will come back into place.
So when I go back to Tabs, I'm going to have to guess. I know that that 4.25 will work well for City, so I choose my 4 Leader, I click Set, and there we go. I'm going to add another Tab Stop at about the 5.5 inch mark, and I think that will work, again with an Underscore, for my City. So let's see what we have. There's my City, there's my State, there's my Zip. Everything is nice and even. Now I would have to come under Sessions and add my little checkboxes, so I need some little squares. So I'm going to choose the Insert menu here, go over to Symbol, there is a square right there, I could use that one.
But what if I want something a little more dimensional? Well, I press More Symbols and here there is a nice dimensional square. I'll use that one. When I click Insert, you can see the square appear. And I don't need to do that over-and-over again; I can just highlight that little square, copy it with a Ctrl+C or a right-click, or a Command+C of course on the Mac, and then I can just paste, paste, and there we go. Now under Will you be attending the Tasting Party, I don't want little squares, I want something that looks like radio buttons. So I'm going to click to the left of the word Yes, I'm going to go back up to Symbols, choose More Symbols, but that's going to be hard to find a little circle like I want.
So notice that it says Font: (normal text), I can pick from any font I have active on my computer. So I'm going to go down to Wingdings and see if I can't find a nice circle there. There we go! There is one with a little depth, I'm going to choose Insert, and Close, and I'm going to do the same thing I did with the checkboxes. I'm going to highlight that and copy it, click before the word No, and paste it. Now when I finish this form in Microsoft Word, it's time to convert it to a PDF. There is a little difference between the process on the Mac and the process on Windows.
It's a little bit easier on Windows. On the Mac, it's a Print feature. You choose File>Print and in that Print dialog, you'll see the option to Save as PDF. There's some interactivity that Windows will carry through into a PDF that it doesn't carry through on a Mac. It's just one of those things we kind of have to live with it. But here on Windows, you're going to see something in your menu that's created because Acrobat has been installed later than Office. So when you install Acrobat, it puts some macros into Word and also PowerPoint and Excel that make it easy for you to make a PDF.
So when I click Acrobat up here, I get my Acrobat Options. First I'm going to choose Preferences and we'll take a look briefly at some of these preferences. A lot of them don't affect your forms. Some of them are sort of superfluous and we'll see what it's safe to turn off. It might be nice to see my PDF when I'm done, so I'm going to check View Adobe PDF result. This option to Prompt for the Adobe PDF file name is kind of nice because, A. it lets you name it, and B. it lets you find out where it's going to save it. Sometimes it's easy to lose them if you don't have this check.
If you had added document information under properties, something like your author name or a date or a project name, that gets carried through if you check this. Down here under Application Settings, you could attach your Word file to the PDF. It doesn't really make sense in this case. There really isn't any need to create bookmarks, so we're not going to check that. If I created hyperlinks, I want to make sure those carry through by checking Add Links. And if you ever have to accede to something called Section 508 which is all about accessibility for people who are visually-impaired, you might want to check this Enable Accessibility option.
It adds a little bit to the file size but it also adds some flexibility into the file that pays off in Acrobat. Let's take a look at Security. If you want to add a password to this so that not everybody can open it up, you could check that. I'm not going to because I'm not that paranoid. Under Word, if I had any footnotes and endnote links, again, these are not going to be pertinent in this file because it's really not a long document with a lot of stuff like that. But you'll find that if these are checked, because maybe a previous session, you can uncheck them and you save yourself a little time in processing.
Under Bookmarks, I'm not going to convert my Word Headings to Bookmarks or any of that. So all of these are for documents, usually long documents, and you want to maintain some interactivity. They really aren't pertinent for this file. So generally speaking, you can just check the few things here and then click OK. But I still don't have a PDF. Those are just the preferences. Now to actually make that PDF, when I check Create PDF, it says I need to save the file before continuing. You may or may not see this depending if you've done something to the file and not saved it before you embarked on making a PDF.
I'm going to say Yes, I'm going to save it, and that's how fast it happens. So here's our PDF. It still isn't a fillable form, that's going to happen later. But look, all my artwork is in place and that's one of the beauties of PDF. It's always a faithful rendition of your original artwork. Now it's ready to turn into an interactive PDF.
- Designing forms in multiple applications
- Creating and editing fields
- Using auto-recognition
- Adding buttons and check boxes
- Creating and adding artwork
- Performing math in a form
- Creating an order form
- Securing forms with passwords and digital signatures
- Distributing forms via email or Acrobat.com