Author Archive: jdavis

Acrobat Forms tips & tricks

I came across three forms tips in the Adobe Acrobat User Community Newsletter. These tips are designed to increase your productivity when signing or creating forms.

Tip 1: Create a signature stamp to sign PDF forms
A scan of your signature converted to an Acrobat stamp makes it fast and easy to sign forms without printing them. From the Comment task pane, open Annotations. Select Custom Stamps from the Stamp icon pulldown. Select Custom Stamps >Create Custom Stamps. Import a gif of your scanned signature. Now place the stamp whenever you need to sign. It will be accepted almost anywhere that you could use a real-world signature stamp. Here’s a video that shows you how: Create a signature stamp to sign PDF forms.

Tip 2: Edit form fields without using the Form Editing Mode
Once you’ve created your form and are back in Viewer Mode, you may want to make more changes. Rather than go back into Form Editing Mode, simply activate the Select Object mode. All form fields are instantly highlighted. Right-clicking a field brings up a menu with the same option as in the Form Editing Mode. Click the hand tool to return to normal browse mode. Here’s a video that shows you how: Editing form fields in a PDF Document.

Tip 3: Change tabbing order of a form
To change the tabbing order of a form, click the Tools task pane and open the Forms panel. Click Edit and open the Fields panel. This shows all of the form fields in the document. The tab order is the order of the fields as listed. To change the tab order, simply drag and drop a field name to a different location. Here’s a video that shows you how: Getting Started: Creating Simple Forms (starting at 00.48 seconds on the timeline).

Filling in forms

A lot of people seem to be having trouble filling in forms. Does this illustration help you identify which type of form you have? (Click the illustration to see it full size). Basically, if you can’t type in the fields, and you don’t see the Typewriter tool, all you can do is save or print the form. If you have suggestions for improving the illustration, please leave a comment.









See the full Help topic here:
Acrobat X: Fill in forms
Acrobat 9: Fill in forms
Reader X: Fill in forms


Video tutorial: The Basics of Editing a PDF Document

Jon Bessant, Adobe Certified Expert and instructor, shows how to use about 15 different ways to edit text, graphics, and pages in a PDF using Acrobat X Pro. Most of the text and page editing techniques are also available in Acrobat X Standard. However, you need Acrobat Pro to edit graphics.

Adobe recommends that you return to the original document for extensive editing. However, you can manipulate text and graphics in significant ways using Acrobat X Pro. Here’s how:

Adobe TV: Getting Started: The Basics of Editing a PDF Document

We’re also addressing some common editing issues in the Acrobat FAQ.

New Acrobat X video series

InfiniteSkills has recently published an excellent series of free Acrobat X video tutorials by Mike Hoffman, an Adobe Certified Expert. The videos cover subjects like the Acrobat Pro interface, enabling Reader users to save forms, backgrounds and watermarks, Preflight analysis and fixups, custom stamps, creating PDFs using various methods, and more.

Check out the series for a video that addresses one of your issues or how-to questions:

Group one
Group two

Self-help for Adobe Reader top issues

The Adobe Reader Help and Support page has a face-lift. The page now includes quick solutions to problems you encounter when downloading and installing Reader, and when doing common tasks. You’ll also find changes to the Contact Support page and changes to specific technotes.
We covered common solutions on these pages:
Can’t download or install Reader
Can’t open a PDF
Can’t view a PDF on the web
Printing problems
Adobe Reader forums and other resources

Create your own Acrobat tutorial or tip

Many people who use Acrobat have a lot of experience and expertise to share. If you are one of those people, you might be interested in creating a tutorial or tip using the new Adobe Community Publishing System. This new AIR application lets anyone with an Adobe ID publish content on Adobe products and technology directly to
Community members can contribute tips, movies, code snippets, and more with easy-to-use templates. Contributions are moderated by community experts. Plus, everyone in the community can rate and comment on contributions.
Contributing is easy
1. Download the Community Publishing AIR application.
2. Author your content using a simple template.
3. Publish it to
Content goes live within minutes and is automatically added to community help search. Exceptional contributions will be promoted in Help & Support pages, Developer Connection, Design Center, and considered for inclusion in Adobe partner publications.
You can see all of the submissions here: Community Publishing index page.
So give it a try. I’ll link to especially good contributions in Acrobat Help.

Converting a PDF to Word format

Most of us have successfully converted Microsoft Word documents to PDF using Acrobat’s built-in PDFMaker application. If the Word document is set up correctly, then text, links, and images appear as expected in the PDF.
But what if you want to (re)convert that PDF content back into Word format so that you can reuse the content? Judging from the comments in forums and on Acrobat help pages, many users want to do this. You can convert PDFs to other file formats by using the File > Export command in Acrobat. A description of how to do this and some tips from the Acrobat community are in this Acrobat Help topic, “Convert PDFs to Word, RTF, or other text formats”.
But converting PDF to Word can be problematic. A lot depends on how complex the document is. See Duff Johnson’s blog entry on at for some things to consider.

Random forms tips

Users continue to ask interesting questions about creating, completing, and submitting forms in Acrobat and Reader. I’ve tried to address most of those questions in the troubleshooting tips in this help topic: “Completing and submitting PDF forms”.
Here are some additional forms tips, gleaned from user comments on help pages.
– If you do not see a Submit button in the body of the form, look for it in the purple document message bar, just below the toolbar in Acrobat and Reader. Acrobat automatically creates this button if the form author did not add one.
– If you received a form in e-mail and have trouble submitting it in Microsoft Outlook, try clicking the Send button. This may help, depending on which version you’re using and how the application is set up.
– Although Acrobat does not provide a direct way to indicate that a submitted form was transmitted correctly, you can use JavaScript to create an Alert box. This Alert can inform your recipients that the form submission was received. For more information on how to do this, check out Thom Parker’s tutorial at:
– The information you type into a field can extend beyond the visible space provided. The additional information is available when you click the + sign, but it does not print. You might be able to decrease the font size to display the entire contents of the field.
– You cannot edit a PDF form if you have the free Adobe Reader. You need at least Acrobat Standard to edit PDFs.
Do you have other forms tips?

New Acrobat 9 videos

Check out these 5 new Acrobat 9 videos on Adobe TV: – Customizing Your PDF Portfolio Template – Adding Flash Widgets to PDF Documents – Combining Files into a PDF Portfolio – Initiating a Shared Review in Adobe Acrobat 9 Using Microsoft SharePoint – Setting Up Microsoft SharePoint for a Shared Review with Adobe Acrobat 9
See these and other great videos about Acrobat on this videos page on

Sticky search

The new help search feature provides a consistent way to search for content that exists only in the Acrobat help system, without getting search results from the larger community. Say you find a command in the user interface and you want to know how to use it. Just enter the command in the Search field in the upper right of a web help page, and make sure This Help System Only is checked. You’ll see results only from the Acrobat help system. To run a second search for help content, you don’t have to go back to the help system and use that search field. You can enter your search term in the Search Community Help search field and see results only from the Acrobat help system.
If you want to switch to searching all content, or all community Help, you can choose those options from the Search Community Help page.
Clear your browser cache, and check it out.