Join Brian Wood for an in-depth discussion in this video Starting a form with the Form wizard, part of Acrobat 9 Pro: Creating Forms.
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We will take a look at just how to start a form using the Form Wizard in Acrobat 9. Form Wizard is available on Mac and Windows as well as Standard Pro - Pro Extended. When you go to create a form in Acrobat a lot of times like I mentioned in previous video you started with a design somewhere else. It could be Word, it could be InDesign, it could Illustrator wherever. You make a PDF out of that program then you can bring it in here. You can open it up and start adding your form fields. Another way you can do this especially on the Windows platform. We will talk about the differences here between Windows and Mac.
Literally take a Word Document, InDesign file and things like that, not turn it into a PDF and from Acrobat have it convert to PDF and then start the form process. I have got form recognized start that PDF opened right now and if you look out here you are going to see that there's a bunch of lines going on where things are going to be located. They are going to see boxes all sorts of things. This was created in InDesign. Now what we are going to do is we are going to run through the process on how to start a form using the Wizard and then I am going to talk a little bit about design. So come on up to the Forms task button.
You will see Start Form Wizard, Add or Edit fields, Distribute form, Track forms a bunch of different things in here. The start form wizard is when you want to create a form from an existing PDF file or from something that hasn't been turned into a PDF file, native file like a Word Document, an image, an InDesign file that sort of thing. Add or Edit fields is when you want to go out and either manually add fields after you've opened the PDF file or for an existing PDF file have it run Form Field Recognition for you. Form Field Recognition is having it try and locate where the form field should be on the page and this can be very, very useful.
We are going to use the form wizard so click Start Form Wizard. Now this dialog box Create or Edit Form is going to be a little different depending on both your version of Acrobat as well as the platforms. I am on Windows. I am in Pro Extended right now. If you are on Mac you will look a little different. I want to point things out here. On Mac you will only see two different options in here as well as if you are on standard on the Windows platform you will see on Windows Pro and Pro Extended an existing electronic document so what you can do is you can take an existing PDF, Word Document, Excel just a list of probably about 50 different file formats and that's being kind of conservative and convert it to PDF and let it what's called recognize the form fields for you.
Now if you are on Mac it's going to say something like start with the PDF document. If you choose this option here and you click Next on Windows it will let you go out and find and use the existing file that we have open right now or go find another file and there's a lot of file types. On Mac it will say start with PDF and if you click Next what it's going to do is going to say OK we can either start with the PDF you already have opened and run forms on that or create forms on that or we can create it from an InDesign file, a JIFF, a JPEG, different file formats.
You will also see a paper form. All versions, all platforms should have this and that allows you to scan a form. Maybe you have got a word form. I have done this a lot of times. You have got a form that you have already printed out. It's maybe in your records kind of thing and you want to be able to turn it into a digital form. You can put it on your scanner, hook your scanner up. Make sure it's connected. Say a paper form it will try and go out and recognize your scanner and you can scan it directly in here and recognize the form fields. We will talk about that in just a few minutes. No existing form. You are only going to see this on Windows. You are going to see this in Pro and Pro Extended because Pro and Pro Extended on the Windows platform come with Life Cycle Designer , which is a separate application.
You basically get for I guess you could say free and it allows you to go over there and either take an existing PDF or if you look right here it says from scratch or from a template it has templates already pre-built that you can use. I am going to use an existing electronic document on Mac it will say start with PDF. Click Next. It can ask you. What you want to do? Do you want to use the current document open that you have out here or do you want to import a file from the file system. We are going to use the document that's already open right now otherwise you can just go browse for it. If you choose import a file from file system you could go find it and it will tell you all the file types you can pull from.
Now like I said before on Windows we have the ability to take an office document, convert it to PDF as well as lot of other file formats. On Mac we don't have as many file formats but that's OK you can take your PDF files and do the same so choose use the current document. Click next. Now when you open up a file and use that what's called a Form Wizard to create form it takes your document. If it's an original file like let's say InDesign file or Word Document and you have browsed for it and you found it it's going to convert it to PDF for you.
It's going to open it in here and it's going to try and run Form Field Recognition, which means wherever it thinks there should be a field if your design is designed in certain way it will make a field. If you look out here you are going to see this dialog box "Welcome to Form Editing mode." Now new in Acrobat 9 you have got something called Form Editing mode. Form Editing mode means you get the run of the mill here you can go in and do whatever you want add fields, edit fields without having to choose tools and this is very different from previous versions of Acrobat, this is great, you are going to see this.
If you look at this dialog, it's going to tell you that during creation Acrobat may have missed some fields or created extraneous fields. So, it recognizes where they should go, it's not going to be a perfect job everything, but it is still incredible. You have to validate that the fields are correct. If they are not named the correct thing you want to name them and it tells you how do it right here. You have got a toolbar, you can add more fields you can also right-click to edit or delete fields. Down here it's going to give you description of what's going on, so you are going to see these black boxes with the name in the middle.
The black box is the field itself that's the fillible part that somebody can interact with and the name in the middle is the form field name. Form field names are very important when you deal with forms in Acrobat and forms just about anywhere else, simply because if you decide to take this data later on and let's say you name all your form fields 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 you are going to look at the data, it's going to literally tell you Form Field 1 had Brian in it, that's the data it had. So, if you don't know what one means, it's going to be hard to tell.
OK so this is just telling you what's going on, if you click OK, take a look out here you will see that it did create these form fields for us automatically. Now look on the left side over here and you will see the field's navigation panel. You will also notice all the other navigation panels as you say have gone away that's because you are in Form Editing mode, look up top, you will notice you have your menu still but all the tool bars you had before are gone because you are in this mode. Far left over here you will see this arrow, this allows you to go in and select any other fields out here, you can edit them and you will see right double click to edit it, you can rename it, there's a lot of things we can do with this.
You are going to see Add New Field button, click Add New Field, this allows you to simply add a new field, if you choose one of these and you will see all the different kinds we can add here, just like an HTML form you can click on that go out to the page and click on the page, that's a big difference between previous versions, very useful, you can preview the form, click Preview. What that does as it takes it out here and shows you kind of what the end user might see. So you will see it right here it's highlighting all the fields once again, we have got that purple bar there, if you want to click highlight fields to hide those, it just shows you what the form looks like, if you go out there and put your cursor somewhere, you can interact with this now and try it out.
You will also notice that we have a Submit Form button, depending on how you send this to someone else, they will see this button and we are going to talk about that in a later video. You will also notice that you can zoom in, you can go to different pages, your form can have more than one page, which is incredible. If you click Edit Layout again, you will notice that button has changed. It will take you back where you were, so it will show you the Preview button. You toggle between editing it and previewing it. If you look to the far right, you will notice two more buttons. Distribute Form is when you are all done you get the form ready to go, you think it's good, you click Distribute Form.
Acrobat has a distribution method for you to to be able to send this out using a little wizard and what it does it takes the PDF and allows you to email it through group of people. So, it isn't going to put it on a website necessarily, so people can click on it and open it, but it will email it to people, they can fill it out and then what you can do is track their progress. You can track who has sent you data back, whether or not they sent you data back, what time you sent it all sorts of different information. So, that's one way that Acrobat tries to make it easy on you to distribute the form. You will also notice Close Form Editing.
If you go through and you start editing the fields and you realize, you are like well I think I am done, that's it. Get it out of here maybe email it or save it or do something like that, click Close Form Editing, just to see what happens here. It will take you back into the regular Acrobat, you will see it out here, they have all of your toolbars, all your navigation panels back. If you want to edit the form again, there's a couple of ways to do this, but I typically go to the Forms task button you will see Add or Edit Fields click on that, it will time to take you back in, it will say before creating the form changes you made need to be saved, if you like to save click yes, just go ahead and save it.
It can ask you where you want to put it and I will put it on my desktop just so I don't mess with the original and it takes you into editing mode. Now we are going to go through we are going to doing a lot of editing to fields things like that. We are going to talk about that but I want to just take a second here and talk about how you can make it easier on yourself to have it recognize these fields and have it do it automatically but this didn't just happen. There are some things I did it to form to have it recognize the fields a little bit easier. I will zoom in a little bit. What I would like you to do is Preview click on the Preview button up there in the toolbars.
It will show you what it looks like as a final form here. Now the way the recognizing works I am using my scroll wheel to go down. It looks for a bit of text and some kind of box or line some kind of indicator saying here is where a form goes. Now in its simplest form you can have like first name and some black line of some line after it. You can create that at any program you want so we can do that InDesign Illustrator, Word doesn't matter. If you want to create like checkboxes let's scroll down here you'll see Mastercard, Visa, Amex, Discover.
If you put a word and then a nice little box after it of some kind it will consider that to be a checkbox, it will recognize it and it will draw little checkbox there for you so if you click in that you will see. If you come down to the lower left down here you will see are you a supplier you will see Yes or No. If you have the words Yes, No out there in a box to the right typically to the right it could be a little off up or down. It will turn that into what's called a Radio Button by default. So the Radio Button is mutually exclusive, which means you can only click on one Yes or No. If you have the words Signature or I believe Sign will work as well there's a couple of different things you can do and you have a line next to that text, it will turn it into a Signature field so you can click the Sign.
Now I have tried doing things like Pop-up Menus, Combo Boxes things like that and I didn't have it extreme success with those. So these are some helpful hints that you can use. What I would like you to do is click Close Form Editing and that will get you out of there. You will be able to see all the different fields all the different toolbars and navigation panels, click Show One page at a time to see the whole form. Now I want to show you a trick that I pulled here and this is something I learned along the way from a bunch of different websites. If you look in the left hand side over here you will see that we have the ability to look at layers.
If you don't see the Layers Navigation tab here you can right-click over here and you will see Layers click Layers, Ctrl click on Mac, it will open up your Layers. Now Acrobat 6 and later allows you to create what's called a Layered File. This is going to work effectively in programs that have Layers like InDesign or Illustrator. If you come over here and click on the Plus you will notice that I have got some Layers over here. What I have done is I have drawn these lines to indicate where fields should be. Now in my design I don't want those lines and I don't want those boxes out there.
So I drew them I put them on one layer, and then if I come over to the left here you can actually turn off all those lines and I put them on a layer called Remove and they are all gone but I still have my Form Field out there. They would just use to actually create the Form Fields. Some programs don't have layers it can be a little bit more difficult so you just you get by you do what you need to do. But being able to have a Layered File if you are in InDesign if you are in Illustrator if you Save As from Illustrator as a PDF or if you export from InDesign let say for instance if your file is already layered meaning you have got all this lines in a separate layer you would then Export or Save As in Acrobat 6 or later PDF and tell it to preserve the layers, this little checkbox and to Save As from Illustrator or the Export from InDesign.
And then when you get in here you let it run the Form Fields let it recognize them and you turn off that layer and you got yourself your design. This is being able to start with the Form Wizard, Form Wizard Auto recognizes Form Fields the best way it can. Sometimes it won't recognize anything I have had that happen before because it's just too vague, it can't figure it out. So that's a way to get started with the form running through the Form Wizard make it easy on yourself you can start to design somewhere else bring it in, open it up let it recognize the Form Fields for you.