FormMagic

FormMagic

Hassle-free interactive PDF forms straight out of InDesign

If you or your team spend time creating interactive PDF forms in InDesign, you may remember with a groan the moment it registered that designing functional and elegant form fields with carefully chosen fonts, color and default text is a waste of time because this formatting does not survive the trip from InDesign to Acrobat! All formatting must be reapplied in Acrobat, and if any edits are made to the original form in InDesign, the cycle must be repeated – again and again.

FormMagic restores sanity to this process! With FormMagic, design the form exactly as needed in InDesign, freely including font formatting, text alignment, and default form field text (even Acrobat comb fields are supported!). Ready? Export the interactive form to Acrobat, and FormMagic ensures that all these details are restored with one click!

  • “When I was developing some training programs for people who are using InDesign to make forms, the process was … ready to break! I was up a creek! … I was going to say, ‘I can’t build a process for you that works.’ Interestingly enough, in my research, I found FormMaker Pro. It’s a form formatting tool for Adobe InDesign that has a really great use in the workflow … It saved the training that I did, and I can’t say enough good things about it!
    Damian Sian - Senior Web Accessibility Advisor, Princeton University

Demonstration

1. Here’s what a simple sample form with a few text fields might look like in InDesign.

Form in InDesign

2. Here’s what the same form will look like after it is exported from InDesign and opened in Acrobat without FormMagic. The formatting in the fields that was there in InDesign has been lost: wrong font, no color, and the text that is shown had to be typed manually in Acrobat.

Form without FormMagic

3. After running FormMagic on this form in Acrobat, here’s what it looks like!

The formatting is restored, and the PDF form looks like it did in InDesign! The font is correct, the same text color is preserved, the default text is there, and notice also that the ZIP field has been automatically converted into an Acrobat comb field (one number per cell).

FormMagic and FormMaker can do much more than this. But this demonstrates the basic idea!

How to Use FormMagic

After you’ve downloaded and installed FormMagic (see below), create and style your interactive form in InDesign.

1. Run the FormMagic script in InDesign (double-click on it in the Scripts panel). If all is well, you will see an alert saying that the data has been successfully stored.

2. Continue by exporting the PDF form from InDesign as usual for interactive PDF forms, and open in Acrobat. In Acrobat, select the new FormMagic command (Edit>FormMagic – it’s a new entry at the bottom of the Edit menu).

Finished! All the formatting and styling you applied to your form in InDesign is restored to the interactive PDF form in Acrobat Pro!

3. When the interactive PDF is ready for distribution, optionally run the “Purge FormMagic data” command at the bottom of the Edit menu in Acrobat. This will purge FormMagic data from the PDF, thereby reducing the final PDF file size.

User Guide

To browse the full product documentation, click here.

Download the Free Edition of Form Magic

Click here to download FormMagic Free Edition and give it a test drive.

The Free Edition is identical to the Pro edition, except that it is limited to a single-page form, and up to 10 form fields only.

Installation Instructions

In the download package of FormMagic you will find a text file called “Installation Instructions.” Follow these instructions carefully. They will tell you how to install FormMagic on your computer.

If you need help installing FormMagic on your computer, please contact us.

If you have installed the two FormMagic scripts correctly, by copying them to the correct folders on your computer, you will see a new entry in your InDesign scripts panel called FormMagicFree, and in Acrobat you will see a new entry at the bottom of the Edit menu called “FormMagic”.

What formatting is restored by FormMagic?

FormMagic restores the font, size, color, alignment, and default text to the form fields in your interactive PDF. For rich text fields, it also restores superscript, subscript, strikethrough and underline formatting.

It can be used with rich text fields, regular text fields, combo boxes and list boxes.

Additionally, you can create combs in InDesign with FormMagic. What is a comb? It’s a type of form field where each character is separated by a vertical line, and you can type only one character per box, like this:

|D|D|M|M|Y|Y|Y|

To create a comb in InDesign, create a form text field and separate the text inside the field with the vertical bar character (it looks like this: |). It will be converted to a comb field in Acrobat when you run FormMagic!

FormMaker

Would you like to add Acrobat validation scripts in InDesign? (Validation scripts are Acrobat Javascripts that check whether a field contains the right type of data, such as digits only, or letters only, or that update another field based on the value of one field.) We have developed a corporate version of FormMagic, called FormMaker, that provides these essential functions.

Click here to see an example of how FormMaker was used to convert a user’s input into all-capital letters (just one of limitless possibilities).

Feature Comparison

 

FormMagic Free

FREE / license
  • Set font, color, alignment and more to form fields
  • Limited to 1-page forms only
  • Limited to 10 fields per form
  • No Javascript
    validations

FormMagic Pro

$ 129 / license
  • Set font, color, alignment and more to form fields
  • Create forms of any length
  • Create as many form fields as needed
  • No Javascript
    validations

FormMaker

$ 249 / license
  • Set font, color, alignment and more to form fields
  • Create forms of any length
  • Create as many form fields as needed
  • Include Javascript validations

Buy FormMagic Pro

FormMagic Pro: $129.00

For multiple licenses (5 or more), please contact us to arrange a discount.

Buy FormMaker

FormMaker: $249.00

For multiple licenses (5 or more), please contact us to arrange a discount.

System Requirements

System Requirements

  • InDesign CS6 or higher
  • Acrobat X or higher

Download Free Edition

Click on the button to download the free edition of FormMagic.

Video: FormMagic & Accessibility

From a presentation by Damian Sian (Senior Web Accessibility Advisor at Princeton University) to the A11YNYC Group in Dec. 2016, demonstrating FormMagic’s essential role in creating accessible PDFs.

Note: You may upgrade at any time from FormMagic Pro to FormMaker for the difference in price between the two products. Get in touch for an upgrade…

Instant Download

FormMagic is available in 3 editions:

FormMagic Free works with single-page InDesign documents and up to 10 form fields. Click here to download FormMagic Free Edition.

FormMagic Pro ($129.00) works with forms of any length but does not include the ability to add Javascript validations to form fields inside InDesign.

FormMaker ($249.00) works with forms of any length and has all features, including adding Javascript validation to form fields right inside InDesign!

To purchase FormMagic Pro or FormMaker Pro click the appropriate “Buy Now” button above. Your product and serial numbers will be available for instant download when you complete the purchase.

Money-back Guarantee

If you are not satisfied with FormMagic for any reason, simply let us know within 30 days of purchase for a full refund.

Buy Now

“FormMagic … saved the training that I did. I can't say enough good things about it!”

Damian Sian, Senior Web Accessibility Advisor for Princeton University

Your thoughts here
  1. Hey there!

    I’m just using the free version at this stage – but have come across something a bit odd. When I export (interactive PDF), the text goes a fluorescent version of the colour. All other coloured elements (i.e shapes) all stay the same though.
    (Basically, I’ve got a shape and text the same colour – but when exported, they show as two quite different colours….)

    Do you know what might be causing that to happen?

    Thanks,
    Briar
    p.s great work btw! My clients will love being able to create their own custom text PDFs!

    • Hi Briar,
      Glad you’re finding FormMagic useful!
      The text in the form fields of an interactive PDF uses RGB colours only. There’s no way to change this – Acrobat limitation. So, to make the text and the shape the same colour, set them both to the same RGB colour in InDesign. Otherwise, if CMYK is being used for one or the other, it is getting converted to RGB, and InDesign is deciding what RGB colour to use, and that is probably why you’re seeing a difference.
      Let me know if that solves it for you.
      Ariel

      • Oh that totally solves it!
        (I just spent far too long trying to figure it out myself! haha)
        Thanks so much for the prompt reply and help, really appreciate it 🙂

      • Just one more quick question – I have a client having difficulty editing the PDF I sent through. Just checking – to be able to edit the text and save as a new PDF, do you need to have inDesign installed or can you do it just with Adobe Acrobat (Pro DC)? (with the file in step #2 installed?)
        Thanks!

        • Once the form has been through FormMagic in Acrobat, you can send that PDF to anyone, and they can fill it in and save it as needed. However, to caveats:

          1. Unless you’re using generic fonts (Arial, Times, or Courier), they will need any special form fonts installed on their own machine.
          2. For predictable results, they should only use the Adobe Reader (free) — not one of the many other PDF readers out there.

          The most likely cause of the trouble your client is experiencing is that they’re not using Adobe’s own PDF reader to edit the form…

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