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dynamic text fields

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Word 2000 - new to Adobe Professional & LiveCycle Designer 8.0 (previously had Adobe Version 5.0)



Form created in Word with user editable fields. Converted to Adobe. Word allows expansion of the fields if the user enters data beyond what is shown as the visible field. When I converted the form to Adobe, it created static fields. I found in LiveCycle where I can select all fields and change the object properties to allow multiple lines but it doesn't print properly. Word allows expansion by adjusting the rest of the form down the page. LiveCycle seems to create the field to allow expansion but keeps the text hidden to maintain the exact positioning of the form contents. When the form is printed, not all of the text is shown.



How can I get Adobe to convert this form with dynamic text fields and allow it to re-format the form as necessary to adjust for the additional lines in the fields?



Thanks for any help on this.
34 Replies

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First,you have to save the form as a dynamic form. You also will need to wrap any fields that may expand in a position content subform and you'll need to further wrap your position content subforms in a flowed content subform. Both the position content subforms with expandable fields and the expandable fields themselves will need to have Expand to fit checked in the layout tab in order for all text typed into the field to show and to allow the form to grow as more text is filled in. When you start converting your form, keep in mind you'll need at least one position content subform for each expanding field on your form because the expanding field has to be the last field in the subform in order to allow for expansion.



Keep in mind, this is probably not everything you'll need to know to convert your form and have it perform the way you want it to, this is just the minimum to help you get started. The good news is there's plenty of help in the forums for you. My best advice is to use the forum search function to try to solve problems as they arise. The help out there for dynamic forms is extensive.



Regards,

Dave

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David,

Thank you for the information. I will have to show my ignorance with Adobe by saying that I don't understand most of what you said! But you have given me enough direction and the proper syntax so that I should be able to do further research and hopefully figure out how to do this.

Laura

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I'm not sure what Dave is talking about either, but I'm curious to see if I can figure it out.



I use floating fields when I need user entered data to fit into a block of static text. To add one of these, click into the text object as if you wanted to edit the text. Then right-click where you want to add the field. Then select 'floating field' from the menu that pops up.



Floating fields are a bit different from ordinary entry fields, so there are a couple catches. First, the user can't directly type into a floating field (as far as I know), so you have to let the user enter the data somewhere else, then you copy it into the floating field. Second, floating fields don't automatically update their displayed values in every setting, so you may have to update/refresh the layout after you put the new data into the floating field.

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If I can help either of you out further, please don't hesitate to ask. If you need help getting started, my email is allendavid@co.kane.il.us.

If your first attempt at a Designer form is going to be a dynamic form, I would strongly suggest making it first as a static form, then wrapping it later in subforms to make it dynamic (after saving your original static version). Static forms are much more forgiving than their dynamic counterparts.



Regards,

Dave

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Dave & Charles,

OK - I have learned about text fields, allow multiple lines, expand to fit and subforms. I can create a new form and get it to work like the expanding fields the user has in their Word document. But, back to my original question...The file has already been created by another user in Word and when I convert it to Adobe and then try to edit it using LiveCycle, I don't have the option of saving it as a dynamic form. I can select the fields and do Allow Multiple Lines but the Expand to Fit is greyed out. If I create a new document and save it as a dynamic form, then I can cut & paste from Word but lose all the table cells & formatting. I have worked to re-create the document from scratch in LiveCycle but there just are not enough word processing/formatting options available. This is a 10 page employment application and what I am ending up with in LiveCycle is not pretty!



The floating cell option wouldn't work well for our form because of the need to have to type the text somewhere else as Charles mentioned. (And because I couldn't find anywhere to select Floating Field - is this in LiveCycle or Adobe itself? My choices with I right-click within a text area do not include Floting Field.)



Am I missing something here that would enable me to edit a converted Word document to designate it as a dynamic form, apply Layout/Object parameters to specific table cells and wrap each section in a subform so that it flows down the page?



Our main objective in trying to get the fill-in Word documents to be a fill-in Adobe form is to eliminate the need to publish two documents on our web site. Currently we publish one fill-in .doc and one print only .pdf. At this point, what I have been able to create from scratch using LiveCycle is not exactly "publish-able" and is taking alot more time then I anticipated. If there isn't a quicker method, we are probably better off just publishing the two different files.



Laura

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I've converted forms from FormFlow to Designer, but never from Word so I'm not really sure if there's a quick and easy method of conversion. In my experience converting forms from FormFlow however, I've found that if the document is more than 3 pages, it's usually more trouble to convert the form than it is to simply remake it in Designer. Most fields get re-formatted and some are just plain unusable after conversion. If you choose to try converting your Word form, you might be able to get by with deleting any objects that don't perform the way you want them to and re-adding them using Designer objects from the standard library. Bear in mind also that any calculated fields (e.g. today's date fields, calculated totals) will need to be either remade completely or at the very least will need scripting added to perform properly.



Regards,

Dave

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Hmmm... delete the field and then insert a Designer object.... nope, didn't work. I still don't get the option to expand the field to fit. I think we're going to stay with the original plan. One form in Word format with user editable fields and one as a print only option in PDF.



Thanks for your help. Every project is a learning experience. It never ceases to amaze me how much I don't know!



Laura

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As long as your form isnt a sensitive document, email it to me. Ill take a look at it and see if I can offer any suggestions.

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Laura,



You will have to set the main subform to flow content, and you will have to have all your form fields in a subform that is set to positioned. You also will have to select the fields you want to expend, and under the layout tab you will need to make sure you have expand to fit box checked. I can send you a simple form as an example for you to pull apart if you would like.



Aaron

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Oh, I hope someone can clarify a couple of issue for me. Niall tried to help me on one issue(thank you soooo much!!!), but I'm still not successful. And I'm getting confused reading the posts that discuss issues that are somewhat like mine.



I have a 30 page application form built in Acrobat 7 Designer by someone else (and worked on by two LiveCycle newbie folks before me), which I needed to edit and reposition elements in. It is saved as a dynamic form. We are OK there.



My first issue is: I have expandable text fields, and they do expand for the (User Entered - Optional) text in the pdf, but they will not push the following text down, they expand over it instead. I've put positioned subforms around the question (static) texts, and flow subforms around the fillable text fields (with all the appropriate attributes applied to that field: text anchor top/left, expandable text box, allow multiple lines, expand height to fit), and then enclosed all of the page items in a flow subform that has the "allow page breaks within content" option on. I just can't seem to get the text to flow. And, I'm facing 30 pages of this stuff: do I need to apply my page flow subform to every page, or is there a shortcut?



My second issue is: I want to put links in the form, so I go to Acrobat Professional and open it in that program. But I can't get the Advanced Editing linking tool to be active! I've tried just

opening the tool bar. I've tried selecting my (to be) hot text. I've tried opening my target page on the web and copying the url. Nothing will make the little link icon active.



I have such a headache. I hope I have explained my situation clearly. What am I missing?



Susan

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As far as making all your pages "flowed" you want to set up your master page with all your options selected, that will apply them to all your pages.



if you would like I can send you an example of a document.



Aaron

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Have a sort-of-kinda-of problem. I attempting to convert performance appraisal forms from Word to Adobe. For the most part, things are going well. I have a main subform that starts on page 2 (page 1 is specific and nothing needs to expand). Under the main subform (set to flowed) there is from 4 to 7 sections which comprise of a title (fixed size), description (fixed size), rating (fixed size) and from 1 to 5 comment lines which need to be multiline. I've wrapped all objects for each section in their own subform (which is also set to flow) under the main subform. These comment lines (set to multiline) do expand, but not until the user tabs out of the field. Then if you go back to the field, it shriks to the last line entered and that is all you see until you tab out again. Is this the way it's supposed to work, or have I missed something?



Any and all help is greatly appreciated.



Larry

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Second question then .... is it possible to have a separate form or subform that could be called so the user could enter 'comments' in a large text area then have a submit/cancel button to put the comments back on the origianl appraisal form? The users are definately not overly thrilled by the current way it works - it's awfully difficult to write an appraisal when you can't see what you've type in the previous lines.



Thanx



Larry

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Hmmm... I suppose you could have a hidden page become visible when a user clicks a comments button and then set your original single line comment field to equal the raw value of the pop-up page when you exit the large comment field. You could then set the pop-up page to hidden again to get rid of it.



I've made a simple sample of this, if you'd like to post your email address I'll send it to you.



Regards,

Dave

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You are a life saver. I greatly appreciate your help. My email is:



larry.pierotti@stjude.org



My other option is to increase the vertical size to 5" when entering the field, then as you exit, have it collapse back, but I like your idea much better.



Larry

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Hi! I'm having a similar problem to Susan's - though I fixed part of it, but probably just enough to break another. 😉



I'm used to form creation in MSWord, though my boss just installed Adobe 8.0 with LiveCycle on the machines here...and since I'm the resident form-maker, he asked me to redesign a few things. Right now, what he basically wants is the word form transported into Adobe for a dynamic form - users fill in the blanks and it adjusts accordingly.



Well, I got as far as text fields allowing multiple lines when paragraphs started overlaying sections below them. Okay, I tried putting these fields in-table and now when they expand with large amounts of text, the table expands/adjusts appropriately. Sort of. I cannot, though I have tried, figure out how to get the table to bump to the next page! It kinda just runs off the page into the ether. (And over my footer, which I can't have either.) I know it can be done; it says it can be done; but I haven't quite mastered how it can be done. I've tried wrapping with subforms - no luck. No subforms - no luck. I've tried going through the included help and I just can't find what I need to figure this one out. I need to have the form be adjustable so that if page one suddenly sprawls to three pages, everything after page one stays in proper order/format.



Tell me this is possible and most importantly - how? Many, many, many thanks in advance!



Lia

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hi thank you i get it how to do the expandable field but can you tell me how can i expand a field in next page if i have other fields on next page. Because i am trying to make form which is like 12 page long and on my 3rd page at the end i need to put a text field which should be expandable.

if somebody can help for this that would be greate

Thank you

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Hi Dave,



Can you pl. send me the sample code for pop-ups.

My email id is, sap.msr@gmail.com.



Appreciate the help.

Thanks.



MSR