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Episode 53: Acrobat-Friendly Form Design, Part 2

Checkboxes and radio buttons and comb fields…oh my! After the podcast’s longest hiatus ever, and a cliffhanger gap worthy of The Sopranos, The InDesigner returns with a new episode that (finally!) finishes off the topic of designing smart for Acrobat forms.

In this episode, I take a look at adding form elements to an InDesign layout to create Acrobat-friendly checkboxes, radio buttons and comb fields, all of which can be achieved with a little help from anchored objects, GREP find/change and tables.

You may also notice new feature added to the podcast starting with this episode: chapters. You can now jump right to a specific part of the lesson using the chapters built into the video file.

Watch the episode here (15:30 | 45.5MB), or you can subscribe via iTunes.

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10 Responses to “Episode 53: Acrobat-Friendly Form Design, Part 2”

  1. Great new video!
    Did you have another baby in-between episode? j\k

  2. Ha! No…just spent a lot of time with the one I have…and working on the project…you know…all that life stuff. 🙂

  3. Nice to see you back, Mr. Murphy. FYI, this ep is not showing up on the iTunes podcast directory, nor in my subscription list. Downloading direct, though! Thanks.

  4. Yes…I noticed that, too, Jeff. I’m looking into it. Thanks for the heads up.

  5. Michael,
    Nice finish to the form design topic. I also appreciate the link to the government webinar—your walk-through of the distribution process was very helpful.
    Thanks once again.

  6. He’s back!

  7. Great two sessions on pdf forms and InDesign. Thanks for the videocasts! You do a great job!

    I have a question on the next step of forms in your tutorial and that is having fields add up and have a “total”. Say you have a list of costs and then a total amount at the end of a table. Is there a way to do this directly in acrobat or indesign? Or how do you create this?


  8. Thanks for this awesome video.. I have come across a problem however and wonder if you could tell me how to get around it.. I have a list of questions requiring yes or no and so have them listed underneath each other.. eg

    Question one O yes O no
    Question two O yes O no

    What is happening is the pdf is recognising they are radio buttons but thinks I want only one of the yes buttons ticked is all of the yes column (so it’s going Vertically down the list instead of horizontally). Do you know how I get around this?

  9. Acrobat form field recognition can be a finicky beast. I would guess that your “Yes” items, going vertically down the page are closer to each other than they are to their corresponding “No” option. Acrobat considers proximity of items when determining what goes together. If your “yes” radio buttons look more like a pair (or a full set) than the “yes” and “no” do, Acrobat will connect what looks “tightest,” rather than what you know to be correct. I would recommend bringing the “No” radio button closer to the “Yes” one, and spacing each question line just a bit farther apart (line spacing-wise). Once you do that, run Form Field Recognition again and see if Acrobat does a better job of it.