Using Acrobat to Create Online Forms

To create an online form, first load your create your form layout and load it into Acrobat using PDF writer, Acrobat Distiller, or use your scanner to scan it in from paper. This gives you a PDF that contains your form that people can print out and then fill out by hand.

To allow people to fill the form out online you need to add interactive form fields over the top of the fields that you have already drawn on your page. There are six different form fields that Acrobat supports, these are:

To add any of these fields to your form choose the Form Tool from the toolbar. Next you drag across the area of your form that you want to designate as an updateable field. When you release the mouse button the Field Properties dialog box will appear allowing you to define the properties of your new field.

Properties that you can define include the field's Appearance where you can select border colour and width, background colour and type, text font and size, and field visibility; Options where you can select attributes specific to the field type; Actions where you can specify the action to take when the user selects or clicks on the field; and for text fields, Format, Validate, and Calculate where you can further define what can be entered in the field.

You can also duplicate an existing field by selecting the Form Tool then hold down the ALT key and click the field that you wish to duplicate. With the ALT key still held down, drag to where you want the new field to be. Release the mouse button before releasing the ALT key.

You can add Print, Submit, and Reset buttons to the bottom of your form to allow the person filling out the form to print the completed form, send the contents of the form to a specified email address (or web page), and clear the contents of the form respectively. It is also possible to set these fields visibility on the Appearance page of their properties so that they will appear on the screen but not on the printed document.


This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.

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