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Creating Interactive PDF forms in InDesign CS6
David Smith on Fri, August 24th 1 comments
Creating Interactive PDFs using InDesign used to involve exporting to Acrobat. In CS6 it just got a whole lot easier! David Smith demonstrates the simper workflow for InDesign CS6 users.

Interactive PDFs are not a new feature for Adobe, anyone familiar with Adobe Acrobat may have been creating them for some time. Problem was, for InDesign designers, they had to create designs for interactive PDFs in InDesign, then transfer the page to Adobe Acrobat to be turned into an interactive PDF. As well as being a damn nuisance, it might also involve additional costs if the PDF creation has to be outsourced. 

Adobe have made life a lot simpler for the beleaguered InDesign user with the release of InDesign CS6 with the addition of Interactive Forms. Brilliant! Let's have a look at how to get a basic one made. 

Step 1 - Draw a Text Frame

I have a page already created, you should create your own. Then in the space you have created, draw a Text Frame. 

Text Frame added

Text Frame added.

This will be where information can be added.

Step 2 - Create a Text Field

Select the Text Frame and open the Buttons and Forms Panel (setting the Workspace to Interactive for PDF opens all the relevant panels quickly).

Text Field Menu

Text Field Menu.

Set the Type menu to 'Text Field' to convert the text frame into a text field. Name the field 'Name'. It's important to name these field sensibly as it will make the job of analyzing Data much easier when forms are submitted.

Step 3 - Make More Fields

Add more text frames to the areas your design specifies. For my form I have created one for an Address and one for a Phone Number. 

More Fields created

More Fields created.

Use the Buttons and Forms panel to turn each text frame into a text field and give each one a name that reflects its purpose on the form. 

Step 4 - Type an Option for a Radio Box

The second part of the Form will involve radio boxes. To start the process, add text to the form for the first Radio Box.

Radio Form Text

Radio Form Text.

Style the text to match the rest of the design Tip: Use a Paragraph style to save you time with this. I have decided to use age groups for this information. 

Step 5 - Create more options for more boxes

Add 3 more text frames with different options indicated.

Lined up Text

Lined up Text.

Open the Align panel Window > Object & Layout > Align or press Shift-F7 and use the Align Vertical Centers and Distribute Horizontal Centers options to space the options out evenly. 

Step 6 - Add the Radio Boxes

Select the Rectangle Frame Tool (press F) and draw a small square beside the first Radio Box text. Hold down Option and drag the box over so it is next to the second radio box option. This creates a duplicate. Continue this until all the text options have a square next to them.

Multiple boxes are created

Multiple boxes are created.

Select all 4 boxes by holding down Command and clicking on each one. Then use the Buttons and Forms panel to change the groups type to Radio Box. Name the group 'Age'. TIP: It's important that the group all have the same name in order for the Radio Buttons to function correctly. 

Step 7 - Add a Submit Button

Open the Sample Buttons & Forms panel and choose a suitable button for your page. 

Button Added

Button Added.

Drag the Button to the page, and add a text frame beside it that says 'Submit'. 

Step 8 - Create the Submit Action

Select the Button and using the Buttons & Frames panel change the assigned Action to Submit Form. 

Submit Form Options

Submit Form Options.

In the URL field add the following text: 'mailto:' followed by your e-mail address. So it reads 

Step 9 - Export the PDF

Save the document, then choose File>Export

PDF options

PDF options.

Name the File 'Form 1' and from the Format menu choose Interactive PDF. 

Now you should open the PDF in Acrobat or similar and test the form. Pretty easy huh? 

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  • Boa tarde! Criei um arquivo com extensão swf (flash) no Indesign cs6, mas depois que salvo é incluida uma página em branco antes da primeira e uma após a ultima página. Como faço para tirar essas duas páginas? Obrigada! Marelisa
    • 8 years ago
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