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 two text fields might look like in InDesign.

FormInInDesign

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 two blue form fields that was there in InDesign has been lost.

FormInAcrobatWithoutFormMagic

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

The formatting is restored, and the PDF form looks like it did in InDesign!

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.

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

$ 149 / 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: $149.00

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.

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 ($149.00) 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

“FormMaker Pro … 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. Where do you instal the acrobat script with Acrobat DC?

    Kevin Boulier
  2. Hi Kevin,

    Are you on Windows or Mac?

  3. Mac OS 10.10.3

    Kevin Boulier
  4. On Mac, the best place to put the Acrobat script file, so that it’s available for all users, is here:

    /Macintosh HD/Applications/Adobe Acrobat DC Pro/Adobe Acrobat Pro.app/Contents/Resources/JavaScripts/

    You will need to right-click on the app and choose to show package contents.

    I hope that works out for you. Please post back to let me know.

  5. Thank you

    Kevin Boulier
  6. Having trouble installing the script into Acrobat Pro X on a Mac 10.10.2, don’t see the folder structure in all the suggestions. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

    • Hi Jean,

      I’ve emailed you at the address you provided. Please keep an eye out for an email from id-extras.com. Thanks.

      • Could you please send me the answer to this question (i have the same problem not finding it:

        Having trouble installing the script into Acrobat Pro X on a Mac 10.10.2, don’t see the folder structure in all the suggestions. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

        Thank you

        • Hi Patrick,

          Usually the answer is that you need to right-click on the Acrobat app, and then select “Show package contents”. You should then be able to find the proper folder.

          If you still have problems, post back or drop me a line…

  7. This thing is a godsend. Seriously. Been looking for a solution like this for ages.

    But. There’s one maddening issue. After exporting to interactive PDF then running the script in Acrobat, the baseline shifts upwards for all text in editable fields. Have you seen this problem before? I’ve tried it on 3 different machines now with the same result. (For my main setup, I’m on a Mac with the most up-to-date OSX, Indesign version, and Acrobat DC.)

    This is unfortunately a show-stopping obstacle for complex forms. Any ideas on solutions?

    Thanks!

  8. Hi Shaun,

    Acrobat DC (and I think earlier version too) centers vertically the text in a form field.

    So, when designing the form in InDesign, if you want it to look like it will in Acrobat, make sure to set all text frames to be aligned center (so that the text hovers between the top and bottom of the frame). And set the first baseline (in the text frame options) to “Cap Height”.

    Do this for all frames in InDesign, especially the labels for the editable fields, and you should find that everything lines up nicely in Acrobat.

    Ariel

  9. Hi,

    Is there a way I can batch process FormMagic from acrobat? Currently I have to open every file, apply FormMagic and save it. This is not so great since I have hundreds of files to do.

    Any help would be great!

    Thanks

  10. Summer, great question.

    Yes, it is indeed possible to automate applying the FormMagic data in Acrobat to a whole folder-full of PDF files. Easily accomplished by using an Acrobat Action. I hope to write a blog post soon to explain how this should be done, but meanwhile, if anyone needs this, please email me.

  11. Hi, I’m testing the free version of Form Magic and can’t figure out how to get Adobe Acrobat Pro DC to run Form Magic. I followed the installation instructions and restarted Acrobat Pro but when I open my test form in Acrobat,I don’t see Form Magic under Edit

    “In Acrobat, select the new FormMagic command (Edit>FormMagic – it’s a new entry at the bottom of the Edit menu).”

    Here’s the path to the Form Magic js in the Acrobat folder on my computer:
    /Applications/Adobe Acrobat XI Pro/Adobe Acrobat Pro.app/Contents/Resources/JavaScripts/FormMagicAcrobat1.6.Min.js

    Do you think I missed something in your instructions or has Acrobat Pro changed how I access Form Magic?

    I didn’t have any problems with the InDesign script and it shows that ran because I see Form Magic mentioned in the pdf I’m testing in the File>Properties>Custom menu. I’m just stuck now that I’m on to the Acrobat part of things.

  12. For anyone who sees my question above, the mistake was all mine. I had the js in Acrobat XI, not Acrobat DC’s javascript folder. The Form Magic team was very responsive and helped troubleshoot that for me. Now it works like a charm and I need the paid version. This will save a ton of time, especially if a complex form needs edits. I dreaded making changes and having to set the form field properties up again.

  13. This tool works great but there is one last thing I’m having trouble with. Is there anyway to get rid of the blue background that fillable forms inherit? I make the background black, and everything else such as the font size and colour is kept with Magic Form, but the background is still blue.

    Jim Thompson
    • Hi Jim,

      The blue background highlighting fields in a form is actually a Reader preference. This is something the user can choose to turn off or on (Edit>Preferences>Forms>Show border hover color for fields).
      The only way I know of to make sure it’s switched off is to include a document-level script that runs whenever the document is opened and switches this preference off (some users may not appreciate a document modifying their preferences, though!).
      FormMagic could probably be updated to include the option to attempt to switch this off (by adding the necessary startup script). It doesn’t have this feature yet, but it is definitely something I want to look into.

  14. Is there a way for text styles to be applied without activating the form fields using the type cursor?

    Currently I’m using an object style linked to a paragraph style, but the text styles are only kept if the field is “activated” before being converted to an interactive text field.

    • Hi Valter,

      Sorry for the delay in replying.

      What objects are you using? If they’re graphic objects then no, the text styles won’t be applied, since a graphic page item can’t have a paragraph style attached to it in InDesign (even if the object style has one defined).

      But why not use text frames? If you were to use text frames, you wouldn’t need to “activate” them. Just apply the object style, and since it is linked to a paragraph style, FormMagic will be able to pick up on that.

      Ariel

      • Thanks for the reply Ot does make sense and how could I forget to style the text boxes instead of regular rectangles 😉

        Thanks

  15. Hi Guys,

    I really like the tool, but, im wondering (I cant work it out thus far) does FormMagic copy across line-height data? Its the biggest pain and it seems to be something that everyone is whining about in the adobe forums. Cheers

    Blake Bennett
    • Hi Blake,

      If you’re referring to the “Line Spacing” property that is available for rich-text fields, then no, unfortunately Acrobat does not allow that to be modified programmatically as far as I can tell.

  16. I have an InDesign document that has been styled brilliantly by a professional. We have interactive fields in the document, and they look terrible. Would love to use your stuff to fix this problem but need to be sure that you can support the following use case..

    I have a python script that uses my template InDesign document to create hundreds of different versions in interactive pdf format. All of these documents suffer the formatting problems in interactive fields. Could I then batch process all of these documents with FormMagic? And if yes, can you send me the details?

    Many thanks
    Simon

    • Hi Simon,

      The basic answer is yes, it is possible to batch process multiple PDF documents with FormMagic.

      Here is a link to a post I have just written, describing how this is done in Acrobat: http://www.id-extras.com/formmagic-creating-a-batch-action-in-acrobat

      As for the InDesign side of things: From the way you have phrased your question, it sounds like it should be possible to run FormMagic once before running your Python script. All resultant PDFs would then have the formatting data embedded in them, and all that would be left would be to run the batch action on the PDFs in Acrobat, as described in the above link.

      However, this somewhat depends on the particulars of how your InDesign files are set up.

      I have emailed you with a more detailed answer and some questions that should help in finding the best solution.

  17. If I use FormMagic in InDesign, then give my file to my client, will they get any errors when they open the file in InDesign on their computers that don’t have FormMagic?

  18. Hi. I would love to be able to use this script and am currently testing the trial version. However, I’m required to create AODA compliant PDFs that are properly tagged for screen readers and so far this doesn’t seem to be working for me. After running the FormMagic scripts my formatting is restored, but I the fields no longer show up tagged as form elements, they show up as ‘Figures’. Basically this script won’t save me time if it fixes the formatting but then have to go and add back in all of the form field tags. Can you tell me if I’m missing something or doing something wrong? Has this plug-in been tested for exporting tags to accessible PDFs? Unfortunately this would be a deal-breaker for me if it doesn’t properly preserve the tags.
    Thanks!

  19. To follow-up to my earlier post about accessibility tags – I figured out the problem was with my document set-up, not the script. I had grouped some of my form elements and that’s why the tags were not coming through (form newbie). Script works and I still have my tags now!
    Thanks.

  20. I just downloaded the free version to test out before purchasing and I’m not getting the results in the example.

    The font always exports as Times, and it doesn’t retain the paragraph formatting.

    Not sure if I’m missing something or if I’m doing something wrong.

    Jennifer Larson
  21. And I just figured it out.

    I’m good now. 🙂

    Jennifer Larson
  22. Hi, I’ve been using your free product to get a sense of what it can do, and being able to use the font formatting from Indesign makes such a dramatic difference to the experience the viewer gets… well done!

    I’m not sure if someone has mentioned this above, but I am struggling to get FormMagic to recognise and store the leading or line height for multiline form fields.

    Any help on how I can remedy this?

    • Hi Jeremy,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Unfortunately, Acrobat doesn’t make those properties accessible to scripting (last time I checked). So FormMagic cannot set those properties (line spacing and leading) for multiline form fields.

  23. I am having problems running the paid version of FormMagic Pro. I am InDesign CC 2017 on a Mac running El Capitan. I have followed the installation instructions and can see the FormMagic script in the Scripts window in InDesign. When I double click on this script I get a modal dialog prompting me to enter a serial number. When I enter the serial number and click OK I get the following error message: “An unexpected error has occurred. Please contact admin@id-extras.com for assistance. ERROR CODE -1″

  24. Hi there,
    I tried out the free version for Indesign. I copied it into my script folder, but when I try to start it, it always brings me the registration form, and doesn’t do anything. What can I do? Its IDD CC 2015 on an OSX 10.11.6 Mac.
    thanks
    OH

    • Hi,

      You should be getting a “Thank you for registering” message at the end of the process.

      If you do not see this, it probably means that the computer isn’t connected to the Internet, or is being blocked by a firewall, and so you’re being asked to register again.

      Could it be that the computer’s access to the Internet is being blocked somehow?

      • Hi,
        thanks for the answer, but the computer is connected to the internet, and I get the “Thank you…” message. Is it possible, that I’ll need administrator privs for the script?
        thanks
        OH

        • Perhaps… just for the registration process. Not sure.
          Try putting the InDesign script into the Application folder (in the Script Panel there are 2 folders: User (which has lower privs) and Application (which has admin privs).

  25. Hello Ariel,
    sorry for the delay. You solutions works.
    Thanks a lot.
    OH

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