Create forms in Acrobat

Creating forms in Acrobat combines the best of Text Tags and the Adobe Sign services Drag and Drop. Using Acrobat's form fields and alignment tools, you place the physical fields on the document. Once the fields are placed, you use a modified version of Text Tags to define the propeties of those fields.

Once the document is uploaded, the system will read in the tag and look at the dimensions of the form field and generate an Adobe Sign field in its place.

This guide covers using the various tools within Acrobat, as well as the different tag properties that you can use.

Acrobat form fields

The Forms menu

  1. Open Acrobat and click the Tools button in the upper-left corner.

  2. Select Prepare Form, and then click Add.

    Click Select a File or Scan a document, depending on whether you want to add form fields to an exsiting PDF, or start with paper document that you will scan in.

    Acrobat searches the document for underlined spaces or empty boxes and automatically place form fields in these locations. This process also names all the fields with the text found local to the field placed. Ultimately, the names of all of these fields are relpaced with tags. However, if no tag is required for a field, it remains named uniquely, avoiding any issues with cross-field pollination.

    Cross-field pollination is the process that Adobe Sign uses to copy data from one field to another, if they have identical names.

Field types

When creating a form with Acrobat, be mindful of which form fields you use. Only the below form fields  transfer to Adobe Sign, and use of other fields can cause issues with your document.

Text field

The text field is the form field you will use most often. Depending on the PDF Tag added, these fields can even be changed to Radio Buttons or Check Boxes.

Check box

Check boxes carry over to Adobe Sign, and should be used for "check all that apply" situations.

These fields have two states; checked and unchecked. In the field properties, you can set what the export value should be when the box is checked. This export valu is used in conditional statements or calculated field equations.

Radio button

Radio buttons carry over to Adobe Sign, and should be used in "choose one option in a group" situations.

You must have at least two radio buttons in a group. Each of these options can have an export value set. This export value is used in conditional statements or calculated field equations.

Dropdown

Dropdown menus carry over to Adobe Sign and should be used in "picklist" situations.

In the form field properties, you set the option available in this list. Each has what should be displayed and its export value. Clicking an option you created makes that the default option. If you do not want a default option, just click within white space of the list so that nothing is selected.

Placing fields

  1. The Acrobat toolbar displays tasks for creating and editing form fields. Click the Add a Text Field button on the toolbar.

  2. The cursor changes, as the image below illustrates. Single clicking places the field as is, in the location you click. Alternatively, you can click, hold, and drag to make the field any size you'd like.

    When the field is placed on the page, a small window appears. This box is where you can change the name of the field. For the process of adding fields to the document, you can ignore this step. You can change the field names later.

    To adjust the size of the field, drag one of the blue boxes (or handles).

Form field sizing and alignment tools

Once fields have been roughly placed on the document, you can use tools in Acrobat to make field sizes more uniform, and align their placement.

If there are two fields that are different sizes, and you want the dimensions to match, drag the cursor around the fields to select them. You can also click one field and then Ctrl click another field.

When setting the size and alignment for multiple fields, choose the menu action by right-clicking the field that is in the desired alignment or is the correct size.

In this example, we want Text4 to be the same size as Text3, so with both selected, right-click  Text3 and choose Set Fields to Same Size > Both.

Text4 is now the same size as Text3. Now we want Text4's left side to align with the left side of Text3. With both fields still selected, right-click Text3 and select Align, Distribute or Center > Align Left.

Using tags in form fields

PDF Tags are the same as Text Tags, but instead of placing the tag directly on the document, you name the form field with the tag. Also, the curly braces that enclose Text Tags aren't used in PDF tags.

You can find the Text Tags article here.

Once your document has all of the form fields added, a listing of the fields appears in the lower section of the pane on the right. Use this list to find or access any form field on the document quickly, without being on the page.

Since the names of the fields are displayed here, changing or checking your tags is easy.

Changing the name of a form field to a tag allows you to apply any of the field properties recognized by Adobe Sign, without sacrificing space on the document like a Text Tag would.

To access the properties menu for the form field, either double-click the field or right-click and choose Properties from the menu. Additionally, you can double-click or right-click the listing in the field list on the right.

The General tab on the Properties window displays the Name, Tooltip, and Common Properties of the field.

  • Name: Where the tag for the form field is added
  • Tooltip: Information that pops up if the mouse pointer is held over the field
  • Read-Only: Makes the field inaccessible and not editable; generally used if information is being pushed into that field by an integration or CSV file
  • Required: Marks the field as required so the signing process cannot be completed unless data is entered into this field

To make a multi-line field, select Multi Line Field under the Options tab.

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