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Are There Expandable Text Fields?

Jun 18, 2009 3:20 PM

Okay,  am new to Acrobat and LiveCycle.  I have gone through about 9 hours of videos and still can not find an answer to what I know I should be able to do.  Is there a way on a form to create a text field which has the ability to expand its size versus creating a scroll bar so when you print the form it is not chopped off and missing?      This is a 2 page form so a text box has the possibiltiy it could split between 2 pages.

 
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 18, 2009 7:05 PM   in reply to CarlVL123

    Absolutely.  TextField objects can expand dynamically.  There are a few things that you need to do:

     

    1. The TextField object should be contained in a subform that is set to Content: Flowed.  This isn't technically necessary, but if you have anything below the expanding text box and the subform is set to Positioned, the text will expand and overlay what's below.

    2. On the Field tab of the text field's Object property tab, check the Allow Multiple Lines checkbox

    3. On the Layout tab, check the Expand To Fit checkbox under Y:/Height

    4. Set the PDF Render Format under Form Properties/Defaults to Dynamic XML Form.  If you're previewing in Designer, don't forget to set the preview to Dynamic too.

     

    When you type in the text field in Reader, it will not immediately expand (and will show a scrollbar).  This is a limitation feature of Reader.  After you tab or click off of the field, Reader will redraw the form and the textbox will expand properly.

     

    I've attached a simple example form for you.

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    Jun 19, 2009 10:44 AM   in reply to CarlVL123

    The forum software runs a virus scan on uploaded files before they're released to the public.  Until the scan is run the attachment will show as Queued.  Unfortunately I don't know how often the scanner runs, but I've seen attachments queued for a day or two, so keep checking back every once in a while.  Once the queued label is gone you can download the file.

     
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    Jun 23, 2009 12:17 PM   in reply to Kevin Cavallo

    Kevin,

     

    I have tried following your directions, even following your sample, and have failed.  I could get the 2 fields (Details of Incident & Plan for Improvement) to expand and not overlap on the rest of the document, but I loose the layout.  What am I doing wrong?  Please help.

     

    text expands formatting lost.pdf - is messed up, it has the expandable fields with flowing text, none of the original layout.

    CAN.pfd - is how the form should be laid out

     

    Thanks in advance for any assistance you can provide.

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    Jun 23, 2009 12:38 PM   in reply to NLiles-

    No problem, I'll take a look as soon as the attached files are available.  I have a feeling that you just need a little more understanding of how flow layout works.

     
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    Jun 23, 2009 2:27 PM   in reply to Kevin Cavallo

    Genuinely appreciate the help.  I hate being a newbie, as I am used to being the tech-savvy one in the department.  Normally we build forms in Word, but have run into some problems… turns out not everyone has the same version of Word.  We all have the same version of Adobe!  So I thought, I let me give it a crack.  Now, I am bound and determined to get it right.  Thank goodness for forums and quick tips clips and videos.

    Thanks again for being so helpful.

    ~N

     
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    Jun 25, 2009 10:03 AM   in reply to NLiles-

    OK, this is not so bad.  You're 90% there.  You just have to get a better handle on how flowed content layout works.  It's a concept that most people have trouble understanding when they first start working with forms.  Once you get used to it and you are making a lot of dynamic forms, you'll always just lay them out with flowed content.  I rarely use positioned content.

     

    Flowed content is very simple, and if you've ever done any web page work the concept is pretty much the same as the way HTML pages are layed out.  The first object in the hierarchy is placed at the top left corner of the subform's content area.  Then, the next object is placed immediately after the first, then then next one after that, etc.  There is no spacing between objects; the next one is placed abutting the boundaries of the previous one.

     

    There is another setting that controls the layout; it's called Flow Direction and it's underneath the Content box on the Subform tab.  There are two settings: "Top to Bottom", which means that each object is placed "underneath" the previous object, not next to it on a line. This means that objects are always stacked vertically down the page.  The other, "Western Text" means that the rendering engine will try to place the next object "next" to the preceding one; i.e. across the page horizontally.  If the width of the new object is small enough that it will fit within the horizontal margins of the content area, it will be placed next to the previous one. If it's too wide, it will be place on the next line, below the previous object and against the left margin.  Please note that I use the word "line" a little loosely, it's not a line of text per se but you get the idea.

     

    The big issue with flowed layout is that there's no "spacing" between objects, since everything is placed immediately against the boundaries of the previous object.  So, you have to include spacing in your objects to separate them.  This is usually done by using the margin settings on the object's Layout tab.  It sets the amount of extra space on each of the sides that is added when the object is layed out.

     

    You can see how flowed layout makes dynamic forms work; if you type into a text box and it expands downward, the rendering engine will re-layout the page and draw the expanded box, then draw the next object below it.  No overlap.

     

    So, in your case here's what you need to do, based on your sample form:

     

    1. Set the Flow Direction of the subform that holds the expandable fields to "Western Text".  You'll see that the Type/Date/Level objects will now flow next to each other since they all fit on one line.  If you have anything that is now sitting next to a previous object but shouldn't, make the width of the previous object wider so that the next one won't fit on the same line, and it will be pushed down below.

     

    2. Add spacing between objects.  For example, select the "Details of Incident" text field and set the Bottom margin on the Layout tab to ".2".  You'll see that no matter what you type in there, the layout engine will always add .2 inches of space below the text field, which will separate it from the text box below.  You can use the left/right margins to separate things that flow horizontally on the same line without making the actual data entry area larger by widening the entire object.

     

    Something else that will make your life easier is to break up your document into logical sections using subforms, and getting the layout inside each one correct.  In fact things like the Type/Date/Level line can be made into a subform containing one set, and the subform repeated 3 times.  The same spacing idea works between subforms; set the margins on the subform's layout tab to separate it from the next one.

     

    Hope the above is helpful.  See how close you can get to the original form, and let me know if you need additional help.

     
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    Jul 14, 2009 12:06 PM   in reply to CarlVL123

    Hi Guys,

    Okay I have come to the conclusion that I am just a total idiot.  I have followed the instructions given and still I cannot get the text box to expand.  I have a feeling I am setting up my subforms incorrectly.  I have even tried a very (and I mean very) basic form so that I can try to get the expanding text box to work but it still doesn't.  I don't know what I am doing wrong. When I go to type in the box it doesn't expand I get the little plus sign in the corner.  Please help    I have attached my simple form for you to look at and let me know what I am doing wrong.  Also if I have already started a form can I change the fields to have the text boxes expand or do I have to start all over.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!

    Jodi

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    Jul 14, 2009 12:31 PM   in reply to Jodi1725

    The form that you attached was saved as a Static PDF, but I think that you need to save it as a Dynamic XML Form to get the field to dynamically expand the way that you want it to.

     

    When I previewed your form in LiveCycle Designer the plus sign was still appearing on the text box when I tabbed out of the field, but when I saved your form as a Dynamic XML Form then text box expanded to show all the text that I had entered.  See mytest2.pdf which I have attached here. Are these the results that you wanted?

     

    Kate

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    Jul 14, 2009 12:35 PM   in reply to ksherwoo

    Kate you rock!  That is what I want.  Okay now how do I save it as a dynamic PDF?  I thought I did when I changed the form properties under File>form Properties>defaults and also Preview? Is that not where I do this?

    Thanks!

    Jodi

     
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    Jul 14, 2009 12:39 PM   in reply to Jodi1725

    No that is only for Preview mode. When you do a file SaveAs you can choose to save as  a dynamic PDF in the Save As Type dropdown.

     

    Paul

     
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    Jul 14, 2009 12:59 PM   in reply to pguerett

    Ahhhh Awesome!  Thanks!

    Jodi

     
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    Jul 21, 2009 12:37 PM   in reply to Jodi1725

    Hi - I'm having a similar issue with the above.  I have managed to get 3/4 of my form to work with the expandable fields expanding on the 2nd page, however, I have other fields below the expandable fields that should be directly below the expandable fields.  I have them on the second page and cannot move them directly below the expandable fields, it moves them to the 3rd page?

     

    What I'm trying to do, is have signature fields and date fields immediately below the expandable fields but have these fields move to the 2nd page when needed.  I'm attaching the form so that you can see my issue.  I must have changed something on my first page that will not allow me to add any more fields.

     

    Hoping that someone can help me with this.  In the mean time, it's the end of the day, and will get back at it tomorrow, with hopefully some good help from the forum.

     
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    Jul 21, 2009 1:22 PM   in reply to Nick-10

    I think this is what you want. I moved the page numbering to the master page. Then I named the subform with the signatures in it to Signatures and moved it under the root subform (so it is not a page on its own). I then modified the width to fit the rest of the page and allowed the height to expand as required.

     

    See my attached sample.

     

    Paul

     
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    Jul 22, 2009 5:03 AM   in reply to pguerett

    Paul, thank you so much for fixing this for me - this is just awesome.  Can you let me know what I had done wrong that I could not move the signature fields to the first page.  Need to know so that I don't make the same mistake again as I will need to create more of these forms.

     

    Again, Thank You!!

     
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    Jul 22, 2009 5:28 AM   in reply to Nick-10

    I indicated what I did in my previous psot ....thats it!

     

    The big issue was getting that signature block off of a page subform (the page subform was set as positioned and was 8.5 x 11 inches. By taking it out of a page subform and putting it under the same page I was able to reduce its size to fit the size of all fields in the subform.

     

    Make sense?

     

    paul

     
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    Jul 22, 2009 5:30 AM   in reply to pguerett

    Thanks Paul, that is great.  Really appreciated your help, as I had been working on this for a couple of hours and was getting a little frustrated.

     

    Nicole Henry

     

    Executive Assistant

     

    Tel:  705-267-8100 ext 2287

     

    Fax:  705-360-2909 - (Note:  Ignore the voice mail and the fax will be forwarded once the fax signal is detected.)

     

    E-Mail:  nhenry@cmhact.ca

     
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    Aug 10, 2009 7:01 PM   in reply to Nick-10

    Hi all,

     

    I'm new to LiveCycle and am having trouble getting the text fields to push following content when they expand... I've attached a copy of the file... Now sure if I'm being clear or not....

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    Aug 14, 2009 2:03 PM   in reply to cornyo

    Cornyo,

     

    I made a quick example based off the form you attached.  I am assuming that my example is one of the spots you would like the ability for content to expand.

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    Aug 15, 2009 5:17 AM   in reply to JT01

    Hi JT01,

     

    That is exactly what I need... how do I go about setting up?  I need it in a few fields.  Is it possible to add bullets to field (i.e. automatically add a bullet every time you hit enter)?

     

    Cornyo

     
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    Aug 17, 2009 6:41 AM   in reply to cornyo

    Kind of difficult to explain thats why I gave an example, load the example into designer and check out how I set it up.

     

    Basically I set the group I want to have expand into its own subform.  Make sure the subform height is set as expand to fit and that all of the text fields are set as expand to fit for height as well.

     

    If you have any specific questions let me know.  The general one you asked should be able to be answered by reviewing the example.

     

    ~Josh

     
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    Nov 7, 2009 5:06 AM   in reply to CarlVL123

    Hey !

     

    The explanations here are really great even for a dummy like me and I've done my first form, but bumped into the same problem as Nick had had. I have managed to get my form to work with the expandable fields expanding on the 2nd page, however, I have other fields below the expandable fields that should be directly below the expandable fields.  I have them on the second page and cannot move them directly below the expandable fields, it moves them to the 3rd page?

     

    I've read Paul's explanation, but don't understand it ,...I don't know how to move the page numbering...I attached my form, if anybody could take a look, please?

     

    THX,

    Polona

     

    P.S. The form is in Slovene, hope that doesn't matter.

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    Nov 9, 2009 6:35 AM   in reply to leelooextreme

    Simply unwrap the page level subforms .....you will need the Page1 level but do not create page level subforms beyond that for a flowed form. The product will create the pages as required and will place them accordingly. When you created page level subforms the product was tryiong to keep the objects on that page together so as soon as page 1 overflowed, then there woudl not be enough space for page 2 (in its as it was created) so it would add a new page and then for the overflow only.

     

    Make sense?

     

    Paul

     
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    Nov 13, 2009 9:45 AM   in reply to pguerett

    You're a life saver ! Once you put it like that it's really simple. Thanks a lot !

     
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    Dec 2, 2009 1:04 PM   in reply to Kevin Cavallo

    Hi~

    I have been looking for the answer to this question for WEEKS now.  I used these instructions on a test page, and it worked Wonderfully.  However, when I went to my document, did the preview set up, my text underneath was covered up.  So, my question now is, do all my field boxes (text field, text, button, etc) need to be set as flowable?

     

    Thanks for the help.

     

    Tammie

     
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    Dec 2, 2009 1:07 PM   in reply to PO Secretary

    They don't but it is much easier if they are.

     
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    Dec 2, 2009 1:20 PM   in reply to NLiles-

    Thanks for the answer.  I don't know what is wrong then because the flowable data

    covers the data in the text box below it.

     
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    Dec 2, 2009 1:22 PM   in reply to PO Secretary

    Not sure what to tell you... I have only created one form and had to have help too.  All the best to you.

     
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    Dec 2, 2009 1:26 PM   in reply to NLiles-

    Sorry to be a bother.  My next question is do all objects need to be

    wrapped in subform?

     

    Thanks so much~

    Tammie

     
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    Dec 2, 2009 1:32 PM   in reply to PO Secretary

    I think the answer is yes.

     
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    Dec 2, 2009 1:36 PM   in reply to NLiles-

    Tammie,

     

    Can you post your form ...so much depends on teh structure that you set up.

     

    Paul

     
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    Dec 3, 2009 6:03 AM   in reply to pguerett

    Paul...thank you so much for offering to help...from what I have seen in forums...you are a God send!!!

    Could I email you my form???

     

    Thanks,

    Tammie

     
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    Dec 3, 2009 6:56 AM   in reply to PO Secretary

    Sure ...send it to LiveCycle8@gmail.com and post back here when you have sent it.

     

    Paul

     
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    Dec 3, 2009 7:08 AM   in reply to pguerett

    Here it is...thanks so much!

     
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    Dec 3, 2009 7:09 AM   in reply to pguerett

    I just emailed it to you Paul.  Thanks!!

     
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    Dec 3, 2009 9:45 AM   in reply to PO Secretary

    Are you sure you posted it to the correct address ....I have not recieved anything yet!

     

    Paul

     
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    Dec 3, 2009 12:38 PM   in reply to pguerett

    Paul,

    I did send the first one to the wrong address.  I recent it to the correct address at approximately 1 PM EST.  I was just wondering if you did receive it.

     

    Thanks,

    Tammie

     
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    Dec 7, 2009 7:55 AM   in reply to PO Secretary

    Hi~

     

    I am still not understanding how to complete my form so that all the texts move down after using expandable boxes.  My page 2 works great thanks to Paul, however, now the rest of the document doesn't work properly.  And also, when my last expandable box is expanded onto the next page, the contents of that page move to another page, how do I keep the text directly under the expanded box??  I've come to the conclusion that I just can't understand this program.  I would Greatly appreciate any help on this.

     

    Thanks,

    Tammie

     
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    Dec 7, 2009 9:58 AM   in reply to PO Secretary

    I think the issue you are having has to do with the concept of flowed versus positioned subforms. If you were designing a static form where you knew where every piece of the form went and all objects had a fixed sized then you could use a positioned subform where each object has a fixed position relative to the boundaries of the subform. In this scenario you will know exactly what objects to place on what pages hence you coudl define what objects fit on what pages. Note that this is how your form is defined. In contrast what if you defined all of the objects on your form, but did not know (or care) on what pages they woudl appear. You woudl simply define the objects and what sequence they shoudl appear in. Then Designer woudl lay them out one after like they were on a roll of toilet  paper. There woudl be no page separations. Then after all of the obejcts are layed out you coudl apply a page concept to the roll of paper and separate the roll into individual sheets. This is th eocncept behind a flowed subform. You shouls eliminate all of your page subforms and have only 1 page (at the highest level). All objects woudl be children of this Page node. The page concept is still applied but you are letting the product decide where the page breaks shoudl go (the page is defined by the Master Page). If we do this then everything will be left justified and set top to bottom. There are cases where we want to have objects beside each other. In these case we woudl wrap the objects that go together in another subform and make it positioned. This allows us to move the contents of that subform any where we want will in the boundaries of the subform. This means that you should break your form structure into managemable parts (i.e. Header, Questions, Tables, Footers) to give a few examples. Each section woudl have its own positioned subform and you can decide whether you want to allow page breaks in these sections or not. It is a different way to define a form and takes some getting used to. There are a number of good examples that ship with the product that show this concept. My favorite is the Dynamic Interactive PO sample. You can find it in the install directory of Designer in this location:

     

    EN\Samples\Forms\Purchase Order\Dynamic Interactive\Form

     

    One last note. Build your sections first inside of a Positioned Page1 subform. Then when you have it layed out (making sure that all of your sections (positioned subforms)  are the width of the page, then make your Page subform flowed. As I mentioned earlier. It will try a left justify these positioned subforms so if they are the width of the page then they will not move.

     

    This is alot to digest so take it slow and do little bits a time and test as you go. Hopefully you will find this helpful.

     

    Paul

     
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