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Complicated dropdown, effecting several textboxes

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Level 2

Hello everyone. I have searched high and low for something talking about exactly how to do what I want - but I'm not finding anything thats quite right. Simply put, I want a drop down (with potentially hundreds of choices - I would love to limit the number but there really is no way...) where someone can pick  their selection, then, based on that choice, several other text fields get filled in with the corresponding info. I would like to have a database file with the drop down choices, then somehow define what field and then what information goes in the next text box. that way you can pick something in the drop down and the other boxes get filled in correctly. Is this possible?

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Level 10

Hi Joel,  I reckon, if the information doesn't change much then your best bet is to keep the form as self contained as possible, that is have the information contained within the form.  There are a number of connectivity problems your users could experience with an external data source.  I would not expect performance to be an issue, I have developed forms with thousands of selections in a drop down, you may find the sample I made of a searchable dropdown list helpful in the Adobe cookbook section, http://cookbooks.adobe.com/post_Drop_Down_List_Control_with_auto_complete__Searcha-18402.html, if your data contains a hierarchy then there are a number of examples around of dependent drop down lists to try, such as this one http://thelivecycle.blogspot.com.au/2011/01/multi-level-dropdown-list.html. I'm glad you found my comments helpful, Regards. Bruce

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6 Replies

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Level 10

Hi Joel,

If you are trying to populate a dropdown field dynamically from a data base then this post might help, http://blogs.adobe.com/formfeed/2009/10/populate_a_listbox_from_a_web.html.

If you are taking the data from the database and adding it to the form at design time then this sample shows two ways of doing that, https://acrobat.com/#d=BgXrrCR3IkelMhRn*6DYMw

Regards

Bruce

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Level 2

Thats actually very helpful! One question though, the raw information I want to put in to the form would consist of several hundred entrees with 7-8 fields each. Would it slow things down to have them built in to the form or would an external database be faster?

Also, with that many possible choices, can you point me in the direction of something that might facilitate finding the correct choice faster ie. a menu system or a wizard type thing?

Thanks again! This was exactly what I needed

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Correct answer by
Level 10

Hi Joel,  I reckon, if the information doesn't change much then your best bet is to keep the form as self contained as possible, that is have the information contained within the form.  There are a number of connectivity problems your users could experience with an external data source.  I would not expect performance to be an issue, I have developed forms with thousands of selections in a drop down, you may find the sample I made of a searchable dropdown list helpful in the Adobe cookbook section, http://cookbooks.adobe.com/post_Drop_Down_List_Control_with_auto_complete__Searcha-18402.html, if your data contains a hierarchy then there are a number of examples around of dependent drop down lists to try, such as this one http://thelivecycle.blogspot.com.au/2011/01/multi-level-dropdown-list.html. I'm glad you found my comments helpful, Regards. Bruce

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Level 2

Sorry about gushing, but this is absolutly perfect! I had no idea this was possible and now I should be able to incorperate it in to what I'm doing. Really its even better then I was hoping for. If you have a chance would you mind checking out a previous post I made:

http://forums.adobe.com/message/4335273#4335273

I don't really need to know how to do each thing, what I'm looking for is some kind of confirmation from an expert that its possible and if they have any suggestions as to what direction I should research to make it as efficiant as possible. OK, thanks again!

Joel

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Level 10

Hi Joel,

Quite a wish list you have.  Feature 1 would probably require some central database or webservice, so the different forms can access the same data, though you could try the approach described at http://blogs.adobe.com/formfeed/2010/07/shared-data-in-packages-part-1.html.

I guess you are on top of feature 2 now.  You can't do any drawing in a PDF form, though this sample might help for simple stuff, which allows the user to draw an X on a map  https://acrobat.com/#d=2qgv56rOCT65AnXtLZXJmw.  Maybe you can look into a Flash object http://blogs.adobe.com/formfeed/2010/12/flash-in-xfa-sample-column-chart.html but I don't know much about that.

Signing documents is a standard part of an PDF form, so you should be ok with feature 4.

Feature 5, I think some of the older versions of Reader had trouble with text fields spanning multiple pages but there's no problem with the latest ones.

A menu system can be implemented, here is a good example http://www.assuredynamics.com/index.php/portfolio/accessing-pdf-menu-items/.  You can also add buttons to the Reader toolbar as described here http://blogs.adobe.com/acdc/2010/06/acrobat_javascript_extensions.html.

Feature 6, If your NCIC application has a webservice then you can access the information.

Audio notes can be added to a 'normal' PDF using the commenting function, but this doesn't work with LiveCycle Designer forms, maybe it works with AcroForms, but I think you will have to add them as an attachment.

Good luck

Bruce

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Level 2

Once again, this was exactly what I needed. Its pointing me in the right direction and I'll figure out the details. Thank you very much. I have the next six months on graveyards so I know what I will be doing all night!