InDesign CS6 New features, PDF Forms

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InDesign CS6 New features, PDF Forms

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.

 

InDesign form

InDesign form

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

InDesign Buttons and Fields panel

InDesign Buttons and Fields panel

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.

 

Screenshot of scrolling text field

Scrolling text field

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.

Screenshot of InDesign button and field library

InDesign button and field library

 

Drag the required objects to the page.

Screenshot of library items

Drag and drop any item on to the page

 

Screenshot of scale tool

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.

Screenshot of scale tool

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.

 

Screenshot of InDesign interactive PDF options

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.

Screenshot of form in Acrobat

Form viewed in Acrobat