Updated authoring environment when sending agreements

Overview

The new Adobe Acrobat Sign in-application authoring experience is designed to improve the user's overall process of building documents.

  • Field placement has been dramatically improved with the ability to place multiple fields of the same type without the need to drag and drop them individually.
  • Field properties (size, color, and style) are persistent after being configured, so individual field configuration is significantly reduced.
  • Editing the default field value has been improved to simply click into the field and type the value.
  • Field properties are listed in the left-hand rail to expose the options better.

Availability

  • New Acrobat web accounts and free Acrobat users enable the environment automatically.
  • Enterprise tier accounts in the Acrobat Sign solution can enable the new authoring experience in Account Settings > Global Settings
New authoring controls

Piezīme.

While the new environment is currently useful for most transactions sent through the Acrobat Sign system, it is still being developed. Improvements to the experience will be coming in the following releases.

There are several limitations that users should be aware of, mainly that the environment is only available when sending an agreement (vs. template building), and only the most common field types are available. A more exhaustive list of limitations is below.

Recipients and field assignment

The recipient list is at the top of the left-hand rail and displays a color-coded dot corresponding with the recipient's assigned field color. The box surrounding the selected recipient is color-coded when the recipient is selected for field placement.

Selecting a recipient informs the Acrobat Sign system to assign any placed fields to that recipient, allowing the rapid placement of all fields for a recipient.

Color coded fields

Changing field assignment

The field assignment can be changed for any placed field by double-clicking the field you want to change (exposing the field options menu), mousing over the Change recipients option, and selecting the new recipient.

The color-coded relationship is also visible in the recipient selection menu options.

Change recipient assigned to field

Placing fields

To place fields into the form structure, select a field type from the left-hand rail, and then click into the form where you want to put the field.

  • The top left corner of the field is placed on the spot you click.
  • Every time you click in the form space, a new field is placed.
  • Each field replicates the field height and font size, color, and style of the previous field of any type, excluding signatures, checkboxes, and radio buttons (which maintain their own height characteristic). This type of field property inheritance allows you to configure the first field you place and then populate the rest of your form without individual field customization.
Placing fields

Moving a field

You can move a field by mousing over it and click-holding it. (The cursor changes to a four-directional arrow.) While holding down the mouse button, move the field to any location. The field will remain in the new location when the mouse button is released.

Move field

Adjusting field size

You can adjust the field size by selecting the field and mousing over any edge of a field to expose the resizing arrow. Click and drag the field edge to the appropriate size. When the mouse button is released, the field size is set.

Adjust field size

Clone and link fields to automatically populate repetitive fields

Suppose you have a set of documents that asks for the same information multiple times (e.g., Name, Address, etc.). In that case, you can clone and link the fields so that when the recipient enters their information in one field, it is automatically populated to all of the other lined clones.

To create cloned/linked fields:

  1. Double-click the field to open the menu of options.
  2. Select the ellipsis.
  3. Select Clone and link fields.
This produces one additional field that is linked.
Clone and link fields

Checking the cloned field exposes the menu of options where you find additional controls to manage the cloned fields.

  • Click the clone icon (highlighted below) to add a third clone (or more. Highlighted below).
  • Clicking Previous or Next arrows jumps to the next (previous) cloned field in the series.
  • Under the ellipsis, there is an option to delete all instances of the cloned field (including the original).
Cloned field menu

Repeat a field on every page

There is an option to replicate a field in the exact x/y coordinates on every page in the document set.

  • These fields are not cloned and linked; they have unique field names and can accept unique values.
  • Individual fields can be deleted if you only require the field on some (but not all) pages.
Repeat field on all pages

Inserting default values

Fields that accept text allow for default values to be inserted.

To insert a default string, double-click into the field, and it becomes an input field.

Type in your default value, and click outside the field to save it.

Insert default value

Making a default value read-only

To make a field read-only, insert your default field value, and after you click outside the field, there is a lock icon at the far right of the field.

By default, the field is not locked so that the participant can interact with it.

If you click the lock icon, it changes to indicate the field is locked and is read-only for the recipients.

Lock default value

Field options and properties

Double-clicking a field (or right-clicking) opens a menu of field options for the field clicked.

This short menu offers quick access to the (field-specific) options most commonly used when designing a form.

At the bottom of the menu is an option to Customize field. This option opens the field properties in the left-hand rail.

  • You can also triple-click the field to open the properties.
v4 Authoring

All options in the options menu are replicated in the left rail properties (with the exception of Customize field).

Piezīme.

All field have a property called Name of field type.

This property is the name of the field and is the string used at the top of the columns when the field-level data is exported in reporting.

By default, the value is a generic field type name with an incrementing number.

Providing a meaningful field name is immensely useful if you ever intend to pull report data.

Changing field type

The field type can be changed for any placed field by double-clicking the field you want to change (exposing the field menu), mousing over the Change field type option, and selecting the new type.

Change field types

Available fields

The E-signature field captures the legal signature of the recipient in the type defined by the account settings (Typed, Drawn, Image, or Stamp).

The field has two display options, one with the recipient's email address automatically applied under the signature and one without.

The options menu allows you to change between the two styles.

The properties rail allows for the configuration of:

  • Field assigned to - Defines which recipient is assigned to the field.
  • Required field - Determines if the field is required for the recipient or not. All signing recipients must have at least one required signature field (of any type) in an agreement.
    • If there is only one signature field, the Required option will be inaccessible.
  • Field type: "Signature"
  • Signature type - Defines if the signature field is a simple e-signature or an e-signature block (which includes the email of the recipient below the signature line).
  • Name of field type - Determines the name of the field (used as the column header in exports of the field data).
Signature Field

The Initials field allows for up to four characters to be added by the recipient.

The properties rail allows for the configuration of:

  • Field assigned to - Defines which recipient is assigned to the field.
  • Required field - Determines if the field is required for the recipient or not.
  • Field type: "Initials"
  • Name of field type - Determines the name of the field (used as the column header in exports of the field data).
Initials Field

The Recipient name field is a read-only field that automatically inserts a typed version of the recipient name as provided in the signature panel.

This is commonly applied when you have a printed name requirement under a signature field. In all cases, the field should only be used when the typed name of the recipient is needed.

The properties rail allows for the configuration of:

  • Field assigned to - Defines which recipient is assigned to the field.
  • Required field - Determines if the field is required for the recipient or not.
  • Field type: "Recipient name"
  • The Name options. Allowed values are:
    • Full name - includes the full name value in the signature
    • First Name - includes the first value (before any white space) in the signature.
    • Last Name - includes all characters after the first whitespace in the provided signature name. 
  • Name of field type - Determines the name of the field (used as the column header in exports of the field data).
  • Font controls for the string in the field
    • The font style (Serif or Sans-Serif)
    • The font size in pixels
    • The font color
    • The string justification of the field (left, center, or right)
Name Field

Piezīme.

The Required field is provided but is not editable as the name is programmatically inserted based on the signature.

If you require an editable name value, use a Text field.

The Date of signing field is a read-only field that automatically inserts the date when the recipient applies their signature.

In all cases, the field should only be used when the actual signature date for the recipient is needed.

The properties rail allows for the configuration of:

  • Field assigned to - Defines which recipient is assigned to the field.
  • Required field - Determines if the field is required for the recipient or not.
  • Field type: "Date of signing"
  • Date formatting options - Select the date format your organization prefers.
  • Name of field type - Determines the name of the field (used as the column header in exports of the field data).
  • Font controls for the string in the field
    • The font style (Serif or Sans-Serif)
    • The font size in pixels
    • The font color
    • The string justification of the field (left, center, or right)
Date of Signing Field

Piezīme.

The Required field is provided but is not editable as the date the signature is applied is programmatically inserted based on when the recipient applies their signature.

If you require an editable date value, use a Date field.

The Text field is the most common input field, allowing for any character input from the recipients.

Multi-line text input is determined by the height of the text field (how many lines can fit within the height of the field).

The properties rail allows for the configuration of:

  • Field assigned to - Defines which recipient is assigned to the field.
  • Required field - Determines if the field is required for the recipient or not.
    • The Required field is mutually exclusive to the Lock field value option.
  • Field type: "Text"
  • Text Format - Enforces either an email format for the field, or allows other types of character formatting.
    • When Email is selected, the field requires the input to have the form of an email address (e.g. x@d.tld).
      • The validity of the email address is not checked, only the format of the input.
    • When Characters is selected, two additional validation options are offered:
      • Character type - Validates the input to comply with one of four character sets:
        • Any characters - All characters are acceptable.
        • Letters and numbers - All alphanumeric characters are accepted.
        • Letters - Only Alpha characters are accepted.
        • Numbers - Only numeric characters are accepted.
      • Maximum length - Defines the maximum number of characters that can be entered into the field.
  • Name of field type - Determines the name of the field (used as the column header in exports of the field data).
  • Prefill text - Allows the sender to provide a default field value
  • Tooltip - Provides a tooltip when the field is hovered over
  • Cover data with asterisks - Masks the field value for subsequent recipients as well as the final signed PDF. 
  • Locked field value - When enabled, the field is read-only. Only selectable when the field has prefill text inserted.
    • The Lock field value field is mutually exclusive to the Required option.
  • Font controls for the string in the field
    • The font style (Serif or Sans-Serif)
    • The font size in pixels
    • The font color
    • The string justification of the field (left, center, or right)
Text Field

The Date field allows a recipient to add a string that is validated in a specific date format.

The properties rail allows for the configuration of:

  • Field assigned to - Defines which recipient is assigned to the field.
  • Required field - Determines if the field is required for the recipient or not.
    • The Required field is mutually exclusive to the Lock field value option.
  • Field type: "Date"
  • Date formatting options - Select the date format your organization prefers.
  • Name of field type - Determines the name of the field (used as the column header in exports of the field data).
  • Prefilled date - Allows the sender to provide a default date value.
  • Tooltip - Provides a tooltip when the field is hovered over.
  • Locked field value - When enabled, the field is read-only for recipients.
    • Lock field value is disabled by default and only becomes selectable if a prefilled date is entered.
    • The Lock field value field is mutually exclusive to the Required option.
  • Font controls for the string in the field
    • The font style (Serif or Sans-Serif)
    • The font size in pixels
    • The font color
    • The string justification of the field (left, center, or right)
Date Field

The Number field is the second most common input field, allowing for a wide array of validations for numerical input.

The properties rail allows for the configuration of:

  • Field assigned to - Defines which recipient is assigned to the field.
  • Required field - Determines if the field is required for the recipient or not.
    • The Required field is mutually exclusive to the Lock field value option.
  • Field type: "Number"
  • Number validation options:
    • Numeric - Allows a string of numbers
      • Value range - Enforces a validation of the range that the input number must be within.
    • Phone - Provide a phone number, with or without dashes and country code
      • Nationality - Select between the US or UK currency symbol
    • Currency - Requires a numeric string
      • Nationality - Choose between the US or UK currency symbol
      • Value range - Enforces a validation of the range that the input number must be within
    • Time - Requires an hour and minute number along with an AM or PM value
    • Percent - Requires a numerical string. The percentage symbol is optional
      • Value range - Enforces a validation of the range that the input number must be within
    • US Social Security Number - Enforces a validation for a string that complies with the US social security number format
    • US ZIP code - Enforces a validation for a string that complies with the US ZIP code format (five numbers)
    • US ZIP code + 4code - Enforces a validation for a string that complies with the US ZIP codes, including the four-character extension.
    • UK postal code - Enforces a validation for a string that complies with the UK postal codes.
  • Name of field type - Determines the name of the field (used as the column header in exports of the field data).
  • Prefilled number - Allows the sender to provide a default number value.
  • Tooltip - Provides a tooltip when the field is hovered over.
  • Cover data with asterisks - Masks the field value for subsequent recipients as well as the final signed PDF. 
  • Locked field value - When enabled, the field is read-only.
    • Only selectable when the field has prefilled number inserted.
    • The Lock field value field is mutually exclusive to the Required option.
  • Font controls for the string in the field
    • The font style (Serif or Sans-Serif)
    • The font size in pixels
    • The font color
    • The string justification of the field (left, center, or right)
Number Field

The Checkbox field allows a recipient to check or uncheck the field. Checkboxes are individual fields and can be checked or unchecked independently.

Placing multiple fields can be quickly done by mousing over the right or bottom edge of the field and dragging (right or down respectively) when you see the blue plus icon.

Checkboxes can be deleted by selecting the box and pressing the Delete key, or selecting the delete icon (garbage can) from the field menu.

The properties rail allows for the configuration of:

  • Field assigned to - Defines which recipient is assigned to the field.
  • Required field - Determines if the field is required for the recipient or not.
    • There is no option to require at least one checkbox but allow multiple within an array of checkboxes.
    • The Required field is mutually exclusive to the Lock field value option.
  • The Checked/Unchecked value - defines if the box is checked when the agreement is delivered.
  • Name of field type - Determines the name of the field (used as the column header in exports of the field data).
  • Tooltip - provides a tooltip when the field is hovered over.
  • Lock field value - When enabled, the field is read-only. No recipient interaction is permitted.
    • The Lock field value field is mutually exclusive to the Required option.
Checkbox Field

The Radio button field allows a recipient to select one option from many choices. Only one choice can be selected.

Placing multiple fields can be quickly done by mousing over the edge of the field and dragging (in any direction) when you see the blue plus icon.

The properties rail allows for the configuration of:

  • Field assigned to - Defines which recipient is assigned to the field.
  • Required field - Determines if the field is required for the recipient or not.
    • The Required field is mutually exclusive to the Lock field value option.
  • Radio button style - Defines the shape of the marker that indicates the option is selected:
    • Circle
    • Cross
    • Check
    • Diamond
    • Square
    • Star
  • Name of field type - Determines the name of the field (used as the column header in exports of the field data).
  • Default radio button selected - Allows the author to define one radio button to be selected by default when the agreement is initially viewed.
  • Edit radio button name - Allows the individual selections to have unique names to facilitate understanding of exported data (and to be useful when conditional and calculated fields are supported).
  • Tooltip - Provides a tooltip when the field is hovered over.
  • Lock field value - When enabled, the field is read-only. No recipient interaction is permitted.
    • Lock field value is disabled by default and only becomes selectable if a default radio button is selected.
    • The Lock field value field is mutually exclusive to the Required option.
Radio button Field

The Dropdown menu field allows a recipient to select one option from a menu of many choices. Only one choice can be selected.

The menu list contains two or more options that can contain a custom label (the displayed value) and a corresponding export value. For example, in a list of the states in the US, California can be the displayed label, and CA can be the exported value.

The properties rail allows for the configuration of:

  • Field assigned to - Defines which recipient is assigned to the field.
  • Required field - Determines if the field is required for the recipient or not.
  • The field type: "Dropdown menu"
  • Name of field type - Determines the name of the field (used as the column header in exports of the field data).
  • Dropdown menu items - Defines the options presented in the field dropdown menu:
    • Add or edit export names - Clicking this link opens an overlay where the dropdown menu items can be paired to export values.
  • Default option selected - Allows the author to define an option in the menu list to be selected by default when the agreement is initially viewed.
  • Tooltip - Provides a tooltip when the field is hovered over
  • Cover data with asterisks - Masks the field value for subsequent recipients as well as the final signed PDF. 
  • Font controls for the string in the field
    • The font style (Serif or Sans-Serif)
    • The font size in pixels
    • The font color
    • The string justification of the field (left, center, or right)
Dropdown menu Field

Text search within the document

Searching the text of the uploaded documents is possible by clicking Ctrl/Cmd + F.

A search dialogue opens, allowing for the input of a text string that searches against the text within the uploaded document(s).

  • Only the text of the uploaded document is searched. Field content is not searchable.
  • Documents created from images produce no searchable results.
  • Strings that match the search value are highlighted, and a numerical count is displayed to the right of the search field.
  • The left and right arrows jump the view to the next or previous instance of the found values.
Text search

How to enable/disable the feature for the group/account

Pro and small business/teams tier accounts have the option enabled by default.

Enterprise and business tier administrators can make the environment available to users at the account and group level (group-level settings override account settings).

Navigate to Account Settings > Global Settings > New authoring experience to enable the feature.

New authoring controls in the admin menu

Switching between environments as a user

Users (with the feature enabled) can switch between the new and classic experience.

  • In the classic environment, the switch link is at the top of the right-hand rail (above the recipient list).
  • In the new authoring experience, the switch link is at the bottom of the left-hand rail (under the Save/Back/Send buttons).

Users can switch between the environments but must save their changes beforehand, or they will be lost.

  • Users are warned to save their updates if they attempt to switch before saving.
  • Switching from the classic experience is disabled if any field types that are unsupported in the new environment have been added to the form.
User toggles between experiences

Limitations

The feature is currently in development, and the below line items are expected to be resolved, bringing the new experience into parity with the classic experience over the subsequent releases.

Currently, the new authoring experience does not support:

  • Template building
  • Anyone assigned fields
  • Recipient groups
  • Electronic seals
  • Notary workflows
  • Self Signing
  • Web forms
  • Send in Bulk
  • Library templates
  • Text tags
  • Conditional fields
  • Calculated fields
  • Regular expression validation
  • Only two font styles
  • Field types:
    • Stamps
    • Title
    • Company
    • Images
    • File attachments
    • Participation stamps
    • Transaction numbers
    • Payment fields

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