Tips for creating form designs for Acrobat and Adobe Reader

Where to start
If you are new to Designer ES, start with one of the tutorials. If not, you can look at one of the sample forms installed with Designer ES. The sample forms illustrate form design techniques, from simple to complex. Each sample is accompanied by a form design, sample data and/or schema, as well as the final version of the form. If one of the sample forms suits your requirements, use it as a starting point. The sample forms are installed in the EN\Samples\Forms folder under the LiveCycle Designer ES installation folder.

See Quick Start Tutorials in Adobe LiveCycle Designer ES Help.

Build compatible forms
Make sure that you determine the version of Acrobat and Adobe Reader that people will use to fill the form. Setting the correct target version ensures that the form designs that you create are compatible.

See Target Version in Adobe LiveCycle Designer ES Help.

Design for reuse
Use fragments if you are planning to use the same element in multiple forms. Using fragments makes updating the common elements much easier.

See Using Fragments in Adobe LiveCycle Designer ES Help.

Consider security
You may want users to enter a password for such things as opening, printing, copying text or applying signatures. When designing interactive PDF forms it is important to ensure that your forms and the data you gather is secure. Designer ES includes many functions and features that provide security options for your forms.

See Setting Security in Adobe LiveCycle Designer ES Help.

Make forms accessible
An accessible form is one that is simple and usable. A simple layout of controls and fields with clear, meaningful captions and tool tips will make the form much easier for all users to fill.

See Creating Accessible Forms in Adobe LiveCycle Designer ES Help.

How it’s done
It is easier to start with the layout of the form and then add the dynamic parts, and scripting. While designing the form, preview it often. Previewing ensures that your form designs look and behave the way you intended. Here is an example of the workflow you might use to create a form design:

Set the target version.
Set the form size and define master pages.
Add the form elements (title, header, body, footer),
Set tabbing order.
Test the form with users.

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