In Acrobat, you create a form field by choosing one of the form tools. For each field type, you can set various options through the form field Properties dialog box.
The form editing mode displays the Form task pane. Using the options in the Forms task pane you can add new fields, edit existing fields, and perform other form-related tasks.
- If you created a new form, it opens in form editing mode by default.
- For existing forms, choose Tools > Forms > Edit
If you have selected the Keep Tool Selected option in the forms toolbar (visible in the form editing mode), the Field Name box doesn’t appear after adding a field. Each time you click the page, a new field is added to the form. To exit this mode, press the Esc key or click the Select Object Tool button . To modify the properties of the field, double-click the field.
You can use grids to help position form fields precisely on a page. You can define the grid spacing, color, and position. You can also choose whether to have the boundaries of a form field snap to grid lines when you’re editing the form field. Grid lines don’t print.
You can create copies of a form field on a single page of a PDF form. You can also copy a form field and paste it onto other pages. When you create duplicate form fields, replicas of the original field are added to one or more other pages. The duplicate fields are always in the same position on each page as the original. Both copies and duplicates can be dragged to different locations on a page, but not from one page to another. Using the
Both copies and duplicates are created with the same basic name as the original form field. Copies and duplicates pasted using the Duplicate Across Pages command also have a number appended. All form fields with the same basic name share the same user data and action properties. Consequently, when a user adds or edits a response to a copy or duplicate field, the response appears in all fields with the same basic name.
If you change the properties of any one of multiple versions of a form field with the same basic name, those changes affect only that copy of the form field. The exception is when you change an Actions listing if the trigger isn’t a mouse action.
To prevent a duplicate or copied form field from reacting in unison with the original field, change the name of the new form field.
To change the number of copies being created, enter different values in the Copy Selected Fields Down and Copy Selected Fields Across options.
To change the dimensions of the original field and all the copies, enter different values in the Change Width and Change Height options.
To move the original field and all the copies, click the Up, Down, Left, and Right buttons.
To duplicate the form field on every page in the form, select All, and click OK.
To duplicate the form field on a limited range of pages, click the From button, and type the start and ending pages on which you want the form field to appear. Then click OK.
note: Including or not including the page on which the form field originally appears doesn’t affect the duplication process. Including that page won’t create a second copy on top of the original one, and not including it won’t remove the original form field.
Selecting multiple form fields is the first step for several tasks, such as creating copies, aligning form fields, and adjusting the spacing between form fields.
To select all form fields of all types, choose Edit > Select All.
To select a range of form fields, click the first form field in the range, and then Shift-click the last form field. All form fields between the two form fields are selected.
To select individual form fields in different parts of the PDF page, Ctrl-click each form field.
To select all form fields in an area of the page, use the Select Object tool to drag a selection marquee around the area.
To deselect an individual form field, Ctrl-click that field.
The field that is highlighted in dark blue and displays the border handles is the anchor. When you select multiple form fields by clicking, the last field selected is the anchor. When you use a marquee, the form field that was created first is the anchor. If you Ctrl-click to deselect the anchor, the form field located in the upper left of the selection becomes the new anchor form field.
After you create form fields, you can rearrange, resize, or move them to give the page a cleaner, more professional look.
You adjust the layout of form fields in the form editing mode (choose Tools > Forms > Edit).
To resize the field manually, drag a border handle. Hold Shift and drag a corner handle to maintain the current aspect ratio of the form field.
To resize the field by one pixel, press Ctrl+Arrow key; to resize the fields by ten pixels, press Ctrl+Shift+Arrow key.
To resize to a specific dimension, right-click the field and choose Properties. Then click the Position tab, and adjust the Width and Height values.
You can move form fields by simply dragging them. For greater precision in less time, you can use special features that align them with each other, adjust the spacing between them, and center them on the page.
To move to an approximate location, drag the selected form fields to the new location.
Tip: To constrain movement to a horizontal or vertical direction, begin dragging, and then press Shift while continuing to drag the selection.
To move to a specific location, right-click the field and choose Properties. Then click the Position tab, and set the Position values.
To move either horizontally or vertically in small increments, press the arrow keys to nudge the selected form field into position.
To move the form field to the exact center of a page, choose Edit > Cut, navigate to the desired page, and then choose Edit > Paste.
note: Fields are placed in the center of the page only the first time they’re pasted. Additional pasted fields are offset from the previously pasted field.
Right-click the field to which you want to align the other fields. Choose Align, Distribute Or Center, and then choose a command as follows:
To align a column of fields, choose Align Left, Right, or Vertical. They align respectively to the left edge, right edge, or vertical axis (center) of the anchor form field.
To align a row of fields, choose Align Top, Bottom, or Horizontally. They align respectively to the top edge, bottom edge, or horizontal axis (center) of the anchor form field.
To center the fields, choose Center Vertically, Horizontally, or Both.
When you right-click one of the selected fields, it shows the border handles, indicating that it’s the anchor form field. The Align menu commands move the other selected form fields to line up with the edges of the anchor form field.
In the context of laying out form fields on a page, distributing means to give a group of form fields uniform spacing, measured from the centers of adjacent fields. The Distribute commands take precedence over the Snap To Grid command.
To distribute the fields evenly between the topmost and bottommost fields, choose Align, Distribute Or Center >Distribute Vertically.
To distribute the fields evenly between the leftmost and rightmost fields, choose Align, Distribute Or Center >Distribute Horizontally.
note: The Distribute command in Tools > Forms has a different function. Use that command to send your form to others, who fill in the information and return the data to you.