Work with automatic field detection

The Automatic Field Detection feature in the authoring environment is enabled by default for all tiers of service.


When uploading a new form to the authoring environment, Adobe Acrobat Sign evaluates the document and identifies landmarks on the page that indicate where candidate fields are likely needed.

Candidate fields that are in close proximity to a signature field type are further evaluated to determine if the field types are predictable and will attempt to place the logical field type (for example, Full names, Signature dates, Titles, Companies).

Candidate fields can be accepted as placed, deleted, or converted to other field types by the author.

How it's used

Field detection is automatic when a document is sent to the Authoring environment. This includes the process for creating a template, a web form, or during an individual sending event.

  • If candidate fields are identified, a "Place All Fields" pop-up dialog is displayed at the top center of the authoring window.
  • All pages in the document are evaluated, and all fields are placed if the Place All Fields button is selected.
  • Selecting the X at the upper-right of the pop-up closes the dialog without placing any fields.
    • If fields are manually placed where field detection initially assumed a field should go, that field will be placed and fit into the area that autodetection initially defined. This field can be resized and moved as normal.
    • If a field is deleted and then readded, the automatic size and fit of the field will not trigger, and the field placed will use the field's default size.
ML verison of automatic field detection

  • If the field placement dialogue is closed and you want to redisplay it, select the Reset Fields link in the lower-right corner of the window (above the Back and Send buttons).
Reset Fields link

  • If no candidate fields are detected, then the Place All Fields dialogue is not presented.

Field detection does not trigger if:

The author should evaluate each field to ensure the field is placed correctly and to set the field properties, particularly the field name, field assignment, and field type. Field assignment is critical when there is more than one recipient for the agreement.

  • Acrobat Sign does not intuit what the field name should be, so all fields have a generic name applied (for example, Custom Field 1). 
  • Acrobat Sign cannot determine which recipient the field should be assigned to. All fields are assigned to the first recipient in the recipient list by default
Edit the recipient and field name


Automatically placed fields support all of the normal field options like field validation rules, conditional statements, font appearance tools etc.

  1. Delete any extra fields that were placed incorrectly.

    Often there will be lines or boxes that are interpreted as field candidates that need to be cleaned away or moved to other locations.

    Delete any extra fields

    To delete a field:

    • Select the field and press the Delete key on your keyboard.
    • Double-click the field and select the Delete Field link in the properties panel.
    • Right-click the field and select the Delete option from the context menu.
    Field propeerties panel with the Delete field link highlighted


    You can select multiple fields by holding down the Shift key, and then use your pointer to click into the form and draw a box. All fields that touch the described area are selected.

    You can then move or delete the group of fields.

    To delete multiple fields after selection, use the Delete key, or right click one of the selected fields and choose Delete selected feilds.

    To move multiple fields after selection, click and drag one of the fields. All of the selected fields will move as one unit.

  2. Resize and move individual fields that are poorly placed.

    Resize and move fields as needed

    To resize a field, hover your pointer over the bottom right corner of the field, then click-drag the corner to adjust the field shape.

    Move a field by click-dragging the field to the desired location.


    In many cases it may be easiest to resize a field to a much smaller size, then move the field to place the upper-left corner in the correct anchor location. Then rezise the field again to fit the field space.

  3. Ensure the fields are identified as the correct Field Type.

    Most placed candidate fields are Text fields. However, they can easily be converted to the other common single-line field types.

    Evaluate your form for the type of content you intend for the field to capture. If it's not simple text, edit the field type and see if there is a more appropriate field type for what you expect.

    To review and edit a field type:

    1. Double-click the field to open the properties panel.
      • Or you can right-click the field and select the Edit option from the context menu.
    2. Expand the Field Type drop down and pick a type from the menu of fields.
    3. Select OK to save the field properties.


    Edit the field type

  4. Manually place any missed fields by selecting a field from the right-hand panel and drag-dropping it onto the desired location.

    The field can be resized and the position can be adjusted as needed.

    Place fields as needed


    Automatically placed fields attempt to adapt the field size and shape to the line or box that contains the field.

    Manually placed fields are placed using a default field "footprint", and are likely to need to be resized.

    If an automatically placed field is deleted, and then manually replaced, the default footprint is used based on the impression that the automatically placed field was somehow defective.

  5. Assign the fields as needed.

    If the form requires the first recipient to enter all content, then the default Assigned To value is exactly what you need.

    However, if there is a need for the sender to prefill any fields, or if there are multiple recipients, the Assigned To field should be checked and adjusted to ensure that each field is properly assigned to the correct recipient.

    To adjust the recipient:

    1. Double-click the field to open the properties panel.
      • Or you can right-click the field and select the Edit option from the context menu.
    2. Expand the Assigned To drop down and pick the recipient from the drop-down that should fill in the field.
      • Prefill fields are completed by the sender before the agreement is generated and sent to the first recipient.    
      • Anyone field can be completed by any recipient. Once the field is completed by any party, the value in the field is locked and other recipients will not have access to it.
    3. Select OK to save the field properties.
    Edit the field recipient

  6. Provide a meaningful name so that reports are easier to read, and data-mapping is easier to design. Taking the time to provide intuitive names now will improve your experience later when reports are generated.

    To rename a field,

    1. Double-click the field to open the properties panel.
      • Or you can right-click the field and select the Edit option from the context menu.
    2. Select the Edit icon  next to the field name, and type in the full name of the field. Note that field names define the column names in reports. Adding a descriptive name for the field will make reading a CSV report (without access to a visual of the form) easier to understand.
    3. Select OK to save the field properties.
    Edit the field name


Progress through the document, updating/verifying the fields as you go.

When all fields are in place, click Save, or Send to complete the authoring process.

If you are creating a template, the fields are fully editable from the Manage page.

If you leave the authoring environment before saving or sending, the document can be found on your Manage page in the Draft section, but all field placement is lost.

How to enable or disable

The Automatic Field Detection feature can be enabled or disabled at the Account and/or Group level by Acrobat Sign Support only.

Group level settings are permitted and will override the Account level values. 

Things to Know

Agreements with a total page count over 25 pages will not trigger automatic field detection.


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