Author Archive: Ginette Thibault

Just a button?

Buttons are an important part of designing a form. They provide a means to perform actions but what about their appearance? When creating buttons, think about characteristics that can intuitively imply their functionality and use. This blog article talks about the purpose of buttons and how to make them more engaging. Sample included!

Buttons

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A sample to help you lay out a form design

Sometimes it’s easier to lay out a form design when you start with a sample that demonstrates the layout options available to you. It also helps to know the visual feedback you can offer to users when they interact with a form. Below is a link to an article that contains tips and a LiveCycle Designer ES2 sample that demonstrates the field layout options and visual effects you can use in a form. Open the form sample in LiveCycle Designer to see how it’s done.  See Laying out a form
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LiveCycle Ask The Experts Webinars

Ask the Experts is a series of presentations with topics ranging from designing applications for accessibility to a deep dive session about the LiveCycle Collaboration service.

Get the latest topics by attending sessions or by listening to previously recorded sessions. Details here.

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Flash, HTML, and devices

Recently, there has been a lot of buzz about Flash, HTML, and new hardware devices. In response, Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch speaks about these topics on Adobe Featured Blogs. Adobe Featured Blogs is the place to go for anyone interested in what’s going on at Adobe.

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Changing the fill color of a field based on a condition

It is easy to change the fill color of a field based on a condition, such as when a number exceeds a certain amount. For example, the script (JavaScript) below changes the fill color of a field to yellow when the value is below 100 and red when the value is 100 and up.

Try it
1) From LiveCycle Designer, open the “Dynamic Purchase Order” sample form (Purchase Order Dynamic.xdp).
2) Select the Quantity field (numQty).
3) Select and the “exit” event if a user will be entering data in the field or select the “initialize” event when the field is populated with data.
4) Copy and paste the following script into the Script Editor and edit the fill color to suit your purpose. If you would like the fill color to change for both user entered data and populated data, copy and paste the script into both the “exit” and “initialize” events.

if (this.rawValue >= 100) //red
{
this.fillColor = “255,0,0″;
}
else
this.fillColor = “255,255,0″; //yellow

5) Test the script using the Preview PDF tab.

Tips
Use a numeric field with this script.
Make sure that you select JavaScript and run at the client.
Make sure that the “Preview Adobe XML Form As” property (in Form Properties) is set to “Dynamic XML Form”.
Use the “initialize” event to make the fill color change when the form is populated with data.
Use the “exit” event to make the fill color change when a user enters data.

For more LiveCycle Designer scripting samples, visit the LiveCycle Developer Center at http://www.adobe.com/devnet/livecycle/designer_scripting_samples.html/.

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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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A simple script that lets you calculate an amount based on a user’s input

It’s getting close to tax time here in Canada and I’m thinking about my retirement plan contributions. While looking at the Federal tax form online, I thought about how nice it would be if the form could calculate an amount based on my input. So I created a little script in LiveCycle Designer ES that calculates how much I can deduct based on my Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) contributions. Of course, the percentage I used for the calculation is purely fictional and the Canadian Government would never let me send in my own version of the form!

I used the response method to create the dialog box that contains the question and entry field. The following message box appears when I tab to the field.

RRSP_Message_Box2.gif

Here is the calculated field:
RRSP_Result2.gif

To create the calculation in this example:
1. In Designer ES, drag a Decimal Field object onto the form design.
2. In the Field tab, select a pattern for the field. In this example I selected a predefined display pattern (num{($z,zz9.99)}).
3. In the Script Editor, select the Enter event, JavaScript language, and run the script at the Client.
4. Copy and paste the following script into the Script Editor.
var RRSPResponse = xfa.host.response("What is your total RRSP contribution for the year ?", "RRSP Contribution", "", false);
$.rawValue = RRSPResponse * 0.536;

5. Save the form as a PDF file.

Now you try it and have fun!

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Adding common layout and background elements to a form design

You can add common layout and background elements to a form design using master pages. A form design is the design-time version of a form that you create in LiveCycle Designer ES. By default, all new form designs have a master page, which is applied to the first page. Any page that you add to the form design is formatted according to the layout of the default master page unless you create and apply different master pages to other pages.

At the very least, master pages can define the orientation and dimensions of pages. For example, you can create one master page for portrait orientation and a second master page for landscape orientation. In more complex forms, you can use master pages to adjust the size and position of content areas, add page numbering, company logos, and create single- or double-sided features (such as headers and footers).

Continue reading…

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Using LiveCycle Designer ES to create and print RFID labels

LiveCycle Designer ES lets you create and print RFID labels to capture data. RFID (radio-frequency identification) is an automatic identification technology whereby digital data that is encoded in an RFID tag or smart label is captured by a reader by using radio waves. It is similar to barcode technology but uses radio waves to capture data from tags, rather than optically scanning the bar codes on a label. Using RFID does not require the tag or label to be seen in order to read its stored data. [obtained from zebra.com.]

For example, airports use RFID labels for labeling luggage. RFID readers can accurately capture the information and flight details for each item that passes through a baggage handling system, regardless of its orientation or the speed of the conveyor. Some tags can even be immersed in water and continue to function with the same accuracy!

Continue reading…

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Adding dot leaders to a form

You can now add dot leaders to text on a form using LiveCycle Designer ES Update 1 (8.2). Dot leaders are useful when you want to create a table of contents in a form or want to uniformly align text in columns.

The following link takes you to a video clip that shows you how to add dot leaders to a form. Thanks to Stephanie Legault, a developer on the LiveCycle Designer team, for creating it!

Go to clip

To learn more about dot leaders, go to the LiveCycle Designer ES Help and search for leaders.

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