Join David Blatner for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding PDF forms, part of InDesign: Interactive PDFs (2013).
It was only a couple of years ago that making digital interactive PDF forms was a chore that every designer hated. Generally, if you wanted a form field in a PDF, you'd need to create it in Acrobat, or Adobe's LiveCycle Designer. Neither of which were really designer friendly. InDesign users rightfully argued that if InDesign was being used to layout the design of a form, then InDesign is where the form field should be added. But Adobe apparently finally got the message in 2011 when the head of the London InDesign user group, Tony Harmer, wrote a 16 stanza poem called InDesign Should Have Support For AcroForms. He performed this poem on stage at Pep Con, the printing and publishing conference in front of hundreds of InDesign users. Who cheered him on so wildly, that the Adobe product managers in attendance moved PDF forms way up on the priority list.
The next year InDesign CS6 was released with Acrobat form fields as one of top new features. Making forms was overnight transformed from something to be avoided to something actually really fun. InDesign can add text fields, popup menus filled with list items, check boxes, radio buttons and more. And best of all, these form field work great when you export a PDF and open it in Adobe Reader, even on a tablet. PDF is a great way to collect information from people, because it's now so easy to create a well designed, nicely laid out form.
Something inviting, that people are drawn to fill out and submit. And Adobe Acrobat has made it super easy to collect your data, and get it into a format like a spreadsheet that you can use and analyze. Let's take a look at how you can make form fields in InDesign, starting with adding editable text fields and lists.
- Creating a new interactive document
- Linking to URLs and mail addresses
- Creating bookmarks
- Adding buttons with rollover states
- Adding text, list, and submit fields to forms
- Embedding audio and video
- Adding page transitions
- Best practices for exporting high-quality interactive PDF files
Skill Level Intermediate
Q: I am trying to turn objects in a layered InDesign document into buttons, following the lessons in Chapter 3, but they don't show up when I export to PDF. What's wrong?
A: This is a known issue with InDesign, stacked layers, and buttons. The final stacking order in your PDF is actually determined by the order the buttons are created, not the stacking order of the layers in your document. David Blatner has researched and proposed a solution to this issue on his InDesign Secrets blog. Read more about it here.
Q: This course was updated on 01/17/2014. What changed?
A: The author updated three movies in the "Links and Bookmarks" chapter, since the behavior of hyperlinks has recently changed in InDesign CC.