InDesign has always been an excellent application for generating forms but, until now, adding the form fields themselves had to be done in Acrobat Professional, a process that could be time consuming, especially if you were creating complex forms. InDesign CS6 now includes built-in form field support, making form creation much easier and faster.

In this example I am using a quote request form for a fictional design company

The form has been designed and text boxes have been drawn in the areas designated for responses.

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To convert the text boxes to form fields, select Window>Interactive>Buttons and Forms.

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Select a text box and in the Type drop down menu, select the type of field required. Note that it is not possible to select a specific kind of text field within InDesign. Ideally this field would be formatted for dates (dd/mm/yyyy). This attribute must be applied using Acrobat Professional.

Make sure to name the field – this is very important for editing and viewing responses later.

At the bottom of the box, you can set field attributes. As this is a date field, no scrolling will be allowed and the required check box is on, making it a mandatory response.

Continue selecting and defining the fields as required.

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For the Quote Details field, I have allowed scrolling so the end-user can type as much information as necessary. Specific character limits can be set using Acrobat Professional.

The last question calls for an either/or response i.e. the user must click any one of the radio buttons.

There are two ways to create this. You can simply draw a box and use the Buttons panel to convert it to a radio button. To ensure the correct, either/or response, you need to draw all three boxes, then select them and convert to fields simultaneously. This will apply the same name to them, effectively creating a group of objects.

A second way to achieve this, is to select the Buttons panel menu and select the Sample Buttons and Forms option. This displays a library containing form fields and buttons.

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Drag the required objects to the page.

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Drag and drop any item on to the page

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It may be necessary to scale library objects

On selecting them you will find they have functions already embedded and, in some cases, rollover states as well.

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Rollover functions

When you have completed the field specification, save the document and go to File>Export.

From the Format dropdown select Interactive PDF. From here you will be presented with a screen allowing configuration of the PDF.

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InDesign interactive PDF options

After exporting, the PDF is a fully functional PDF form. You can make further adjustments to the fields using Acrobat Professional’s Form editing tools.

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Form viewed in Acrobat

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