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SOLVED

Is it possible to create a fillable pdf with a variable number of rows?

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Level 2

I am a very new adobe user but before my company even invests in the software we need to know if this is possible.  The general idea is that we will need to be able to create a form in adobe/livecycle that people using reader can fill out.  The problem is that each time this form is filled out it will have a different number of rows.  Is it possible to create a form that each time a row is filled out (with a description and a price) that a new row with the same fields will be generated to be used?  Creating extra rows on the form is not an option because the range can be up to several hundred or beyond in some cases and it is not realistic for us to have several pages of rows to use when the majority of the time only the first page will be used and then when the form is printed extra blank pages will be printed.  Right now we are using an excel form to accomadate our needs with the only downfall being that all of the users of the form have to purchase microsoft office.  Any help?

1 Accepted Solution

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Correct answer by
Level 10

Hi,

Yes it is possible, but you will need to make sure that you are following some best practice to ensure that the form with several hundred rows does not become slow or unstable.

There are some examples of dynamic tables here, which at least should give you an idea of what is possible. Open these in Acrobat/Reader to see the user's experience, You can also open in Designer to see how the form is constructed.

Index: http://assure.ly/lwQHm7.

Tables and sections: http://assure.ly/fItII5.

This is more detailed/instructional and shows how to set up the form for dynamic behaviour: http://assure.ly/gk8Q7a.

Hope that helps,

Niall

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7 Replies

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Correct answer by
Level 10

Hi,

Yes it is possible, but you will need to make sure that you are following some best practice to ensure that the form with several hundred rows does not become slow or unstable.

There are some examples of dynamic tables here, which at least should give you an idea of what is possible. Open these in Acrobat/Reader to see the user's experience, You can also open in Designer to see how the form is constructed.

Index: http://assure.ly/lwQHm7.

Tables and sections: http://assure.ly/fItII5.

This is more detailed/instructional and shows how to set up the form for dynamic behaviour: http://assure.ly/gk8Q7a.

Hope that helps,

Niall

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Level 2

Thank you very much!

I havn't had a chance to review the forms yet but could you just tell me

is creating these types of forms something that requires scripting?

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Level 10

Hi,

Yes, adding functionality to this type of dynamic form does require scripting. However Designer does come with an Action Builder, which will help build the script for you.

Hopefully that will not put you off the solution 😉

Niall

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Level 2

not at all I was wanting to learn JavaScript anyway I just needed to

know what books I need to start buying!

You have been very helpful, thank you

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Level 10

Great,

I would recommend JP Terry’s book “Creating dynamic forms in Adobe LiveCycle Designer”. It is an excellent starting point.

There are a lot of resources available online, which can help:
 
http://www.adobe.com/go/learn_lc_scriptingBasics
http://www.adobe.com/go/learn_lc_scriptingReference
http://www.adobe.com/go/learn_lc_formCalc
http://www.adobe.com/devnet/livecycle/articles/Adobe_XML_Form_Object_M odel_Reference.pdf
http://www.adobe.com/devnet/acrobat/pdfs/lc_migrating_acrobat_xmlform. pdf

And a very handy resource (and while it is for version 6 it is still very good because of the way it is laid out):http://partners.adobe.com/public/developer/en/tips/CalcScripts.pdf

The Help file in LC Designer can also help you with syntax and LC Designer itself comes with some great templates and examples.
 
Lastly, check out the Developer's Network on http://www.adobe.com/devnet/livecycle/

Also a book that doesn't deal with scripting at all but is very good on form layout is "Forms that Work" by Caroline Jarrett and Gerry Gaffney. The Adobe "PDF Forms Bible" is okay, but mainly focuses on AcroForms.
 
Windjack Solutions have a subscription based service for solutions and scripts at http://www.pdfscripting.com. It has a lot of AcroForm script that can be amended to suit LC Designer and a growing library of LC Designer solutions.
 
We have some solutions and blog posts on our website http://www.assuredynamics.com.

Hope that helps,

Niall

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Level 2

I did have that book first on my list my only concern was that I thought

I saw it was for older versions of livecycle than the one we would be

purchashing (ES2 was what came with the acrobat x download we have as a

free trial now). I am guessing the differences between the versions is

pretty minimal though.

Do you suggest also having a book on Acrobat X or is that really

necessary?

Most of our forms I have currently created in Microsoft Word using form

fields that tranfer into Acrobat without any problems. The only very

complicated form we have is our bid form (which was the form I was

asking about needing to be able to create new rows for) which we

currently have in excel and I have programmed with VBA code to

accomodate correctly adding new rows and some other features.

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Level 10

Hi,

JP Terry's book is still very relevant to Designer ES2 (with Acrobat X) and the latest version ADEP Designer 10. It is great book to lead you through the learning curve of setting out a form and scripting. It does not deal with some of the new features, like Action Builder, but I would not let that put you off.

I don't think you would specifically need a book on Acrobat X, unless you felt the need. Forms created in Designer are opened in Acrobat/Reader by the user, but that is pretty much as far as the interaction goes (unless you are getting into advanced techniques).

While you can import an existing Word form into Designer, I would not be inclined to recommend it, especially if you are going to need to create a dynamic form, with the ability to add rows. Imported Word/PDF forms can end up with restricted ability to have dynamic functionality. Often, it is quicker to develop a new form in Designer, based on the visual appearance of the existing form. IMHO.

Designer supports two language: JavaScript (slightly different syntax to Core JavaScript) and FormCalc. There are plenty examples and help on the forums.

Niall