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!
- “As a support office managing over a dozen hotels and their restaurants, the single most taxing job used to be regularly updating numerous restaurant menus. We were never happy with self-publishing solutions such as Word (from a branding point of view) so when we found FormMagic, all our wishes were effectively answered: Full design control and all the editability our hotels needed to update menus at their whim. Since we implemented this process we have never looked back! What a game changer.”
- “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 FormMagic 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! “
1. Here’s what a simple sample form with a few text fields might look like 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.
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.
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.
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.
FormMagic also allow you to rotate text fields in InDesign. The rotation will carry through to Acrobat (to the nearest 90°).
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:
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 Pro includes everything that comes with FormMagic, but adds the possibility of adding Acroscripts to forms, directly within InDesign. So if you need to add validation scripts, calculation scripts, formatting scripts, or scripts triggered by keyboard or mouse events to your PDF form, FormMaker Pro allows you to add them directly in InDesign, again avoiding the crazy round-trip between Acrobat and InDesign whenever edits are made.
Click here to see an example of how FormMaker was used to add an Acroscript in InDesign that converts a user’s input into all-capital letters (just one of limitless possibilities).
Kevin BoulierJune 15, 2015 11:17 pm
Where do you instal the acrobat script with Acrobat DC?
AdminJune 15, 2015 11:21 pm
Are you on Windows or Mac?
Kevin BoulierJune 15, 2015 11:40 pm
Mac OS 10.10.3
AdminJune 15, 2015 11:55 pm
On Mac, the best place to put the Acrobat script file, so that it’s available for all users, is here:
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.
Kevin BoulierJune 16, 2015 12:02 am
JeanJune 29, 2015 6:00 pm
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!