Adobe Forms

My first “real” session of the conference was on Creating Forms with Adobe Acrobat (specifically versions 7/8) by David Williams from Chester County, Pennsylvania.
The first thing I discovered was that users could save typed up forms in Acrobat Reader – if they had the proper extension. There was some discussion that this might only apply to version 7 – 8 may let them do it natively. I’ll have to check when I get home – if that extension is available, I’ll put it on our PCC machines! The next thing I learned was the Forms –> Form Field Recognition command. That will save me a BUNCH of time when I’m creating all the forms that came to mind as being useful to us at MRRL during this session! He then gave a tour of the editing form field process and properties, much of which I was pretty much unfamiliar with…
He showed us, during that tour, a neat trick with the fields – if you control-click and drag a field, you will copy and move that field so that you have a fully filled in field in a new place that only has to be tweaked, not completely re-edited. Pretty darn cool! He also showed us the comb feature – you know those forms that have boxes that require one letter or digit per box? Adobe will recognize those and make ’em work just like they are supposed to.
He went through customized field masks and how to create arbitrary masks to define your own data formats. He also showed how to create groups or hierarchies of fields that you can then use to make other actions like calculations easier. You can make this happen just by naming the field with the group.field naming convention.
Buttons can submit form to an URL (perhaps to a III Patron API URL that would let us auto-add library card apps to III….)
There was some discussion of the signature option, which creates a completely un-verified local signature for the user. When asked later about the legality of that, he suggested that we each check with our lawyers!
A final trick he showed was to make small changes to a form, add the new form using the Document –> Replace Pages command to slide the new document below your existing form fields so that you only have to tweak, not completely recreate the form.

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