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Types of forms in PDF templates

Engracia Villar

Engracia Villar

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Find out the types of forms you can implement in your PDF templates

When you are generating new documents, you may need to display their label information in an orderly manner. You may want to place specific data in specific places of the document and the document will have a personalized look and a certain aesthetic. You may also want to display the data in a data table or on multiple pages.

At Gladtolink you have two types of templates at your disposal: PDF and XML templates. PDF templates are static, since the fields to fill in will always be the same and will always be in the same place, while XML templates are dynamic and, by specifying conditions, it is possible to show only certain elements in the final document.

In this tutorial, you will see how to create a PDF template using Free Office and Adobe Acrobat Pro. The elements that differentiate a PDF with a fixed content from a template are the form fields. Currently, almost all Gladtolink tag fields can be entered in text fields (text, numeric, date, time, image, etc.). The main exception is the Yes/No or Boolean fields, which require a check box. Additionally, you can add a signature field, explained in this link.

Once you have created your template, following the instructions in this entry, you can upload it to Gladtolink and map or link the fields of your interest. This link explains how to carry out these actions.

Form Fields in Free Office

After personalizing the document to your liking, with fixed text, table/s, header, images … etc, you can create form fields. The first thing you have to do in Free Office Writer, is activate the forms design mode, (in case it is not activated). To do it, go to the top bar, select the “Form” option and then “Design Mode“.

Once “Design mode” is activated, you can use the different form fields that Free Office Writer offers. In this case, as previously stated, you only need the text box and the check box.

To enter a text box, you have to click on the “Text box” option in the form menu and then draw the box. You can create the text box the size you want and adjust it to suit your template. In addition to resizing it by dragging the box from any of its corners/edges, you can select it and drag it anywhere on the template.

Now that you have the field where you want and with the desired size, you will proceed to change its name. This step is very important since the name you choose will be the one that will appear in Gladtolink when linking the tag data to your template and it should be as descriptive as possible. To change the name of a form field, you must double-click on the field or right-click on it and choose “Control” option from the drop-down menu that will appear. Once you have done one of the two actions, a small configuration window will open.

See in this configuration window that the field of your interest is the first one, called “Name“. Choose a descriptive name and enter it, so that you can easily identify the field to fill when you configure your template in Gladtolink.

To correctly match a Yes/No or Boolean field, you need a check box. Select the “Checkbox” option from the form menu and place it where you want.

You will see that it has an associated text that is displayed on the right side of the box. That text can be changed (or deleted) in the control menu, where the name of the field hast to be changed (to identify it in Gladtolink).

Once you have placed the form boxes and changed their name, you are ready to save the template as PDF and upload it to Gladtolink. To save your template as PDF in Free Office Writer, click on the “File” option in the top bar, then “Export to” and finally “Export directly to PDF“.

Form Fields in Adobe Acrobat Pro

To implement form fields in Adobe Acrobat Pro, open the document where you want to add them and select the “Prepare Form” option from the side menu.

A new window will open where you have to select the document and save a copy of it,  in which the form fields you specify will be placed. Now you have a new toolbar at the top where you can select the text field and the check box.

Clicking on the text field or on the check box will allow you to drag the field and place it wherever you want (once placed you can change its size or replace it where you prefer). The first time you place it, it will ask you the name you want the field to have (name that will appear in Gladtolink).

Once you have placed all the text fields and check boxes and changed their names (you can also change the name of the field by double-clicking on it), click on the save icon on the top icon bar to save a copy of the PDF with all the form fields you have entered.

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