How to add instructions to a PDF form

When designing interactive PDF forms, it’s always helpful to provide instructions on how to fill out the form –  especially if the form is complicated. So when a community member posted this question:

I would like to design an intro page to a form providing a bit of instructions, or customize the purple bar above the form where the copy reads…”Please fill out the following form…”

I thought it would be helpful to provide some suggestions on how to do this.

Continue reading

How to exclude a form field from the tab order

Recently while working on an interactive forms project, I had to figure out a way to exclude a button form field from the overall tab order of a form. So, after a quick search on, I came up with a great suggestion from Acrobat Expert Max Wyss. He recommended that you “bounce” over the field that you want to exclude by using a little help from some JavaScript.

Continue reading

How to add attachments to a PDF form

Seems like it should be so easy to add a button on your PDF form so that the recipient can attach a file (.docx, .xlsx, .pdf, etc). After all, you can do this with an HTML form created in Adobe FormsCentral. It’s also easy to do if all the form recipients are using Acrobat, but not if they’re using the free Reader. However, the release of Adobe Reader version XI has made this just a tiny bit easier.

Continue reading

How to combine PDF forms that use the same form field names

This question popped up recently in the Acrobat community.

I have a single page form posted online for people to fill in.  It is a monthly budget. They select the month that they are reporting for then fill in the blanks.  I often get multiple months/forms emailed to me from an individual at one time which I want to combine into a single pdf document.  When I try to combine the files Acrobat generates an error message saying that I cannot combine the forms because the field names are the same, and that I have to use a “portfolio” otherwise is will give all the fields with the same name the same value.  Is there an easy way to combine these forms and keep the unique value in each field on each form?? Thank you for your HELP!

When you use the same form field name within your form, it can be a great timesaving feature for recipients. It means they only need to fill in the form field once and any other form fields with the same name will be filled in automatically. Sounds great, until you need to compile all your forms into one file for archiving. So, here are a couple of suggestions to address this workflow – note the second suggestion doesn’t work on PDF forms created using LiveCycle Designer.

Continue reading

Typing in online homework and quizzes

This comment came up recently on one of the editing tutorials on

I am new to Adobe Acrobat XI Pro for Students and Teachers and am attending a medical transcription course online.  I downloaded my lessons to Acrobat, but when I convert them to Word for typing out my written answers and quizzes, the format is all messed up.  How do I get them to stay in the same format as the class requirements.

My first reaction was to point out that there is a setting in the Word export from Acrobat that can correct this. Then, I thought, why are they going through the hassle of converting to Word when you can add the text in both Acrobat and Adobe Reader XI? Then I realized that these particular PDF files must not have any form fields on them, so it isn’t obvious at all how to add text to them. In fact, the handy little tools for adding text to PDF files aren’t even located in the Tools pane.

Continue reading