Stefan Cameron on Forms
Building intelligent forms using Adobe LiveCycle Designer

Acrobat Pro 9 with Designer 8.2 now available!

You can now purchase Acrobat 9 Standard, Pro and Pro Extended. You can also download Reader 9.0. An updated version of Designer (8.2) is included with the Pro and Pro Extended versions.

I’ve been using Designer 8.2 for quite some time now (working at Adobe does have its perks!) and I must say it’s much more stable than 8.1 and has a lot of really nice, new features to offer such as:

  • major tab ordering UI update — we listened to your feedback and made this a whole lot better than it ever was before;
  • hyperlink support;
  • advanced text formatting with kerning, horizontal/vertical stretch, hyphenation, etc;
  • enhancements to the Fragment Library (you can now edit Fragment Info metadata without having to open the fragment and you can also delete fragments right from the Fragment Library);
  • contents of fields (text fields, numeric fields, etc.) and text objects can now be split across pages for a nicer layout;
  • authenticated web service support.

Those are only the highlights. There are many other little but very significant updates that I’ll be sharing in future blog posts so stay tuned and in the mean time, get the free trial and check it out!

Acrobat/Reader 9.0 also has a host of new features including:

  • native support for Flash (you can now embedded SWFs directly into your PDF documents);
  • assemble various files together into a cohesive, branded package called a PDF Portfolio;
  • and many more features that will enhance productivity and collaboration.

As usual, there are enhancements to XFA-PDF forms in Acrobat/Reader and I’ll be highlighting a few of those as well in future posts.

PS: Note that the standalone version of Designer has not been updated yet. I suspect it’ll be updated very soon however at this time, it looks like the only way to get Designer 8.2 is by downloading/purchasing Acrobat 9.0 Pro/Extended.

Posted by Stefan Cameron on July 3rd, 2008
Filed under Acrobat,Designer
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25 Responses to “Acrobat Pro 9 with Designer 8.2 now available!”

  1. Julie Houston on July 5th, 2008

    Hi Stefan-
    I have been charged with a huge data collection process of which I am a novice using Acrobat. I now have upgraded to 9.0; and have created the form, I have set up a MySql database on my server and want to make sure that since this will collect from over 1500 organizations, that the form correctly connects and interfaces with the database. I thought I verified the export of content with an Adobe agent into a spreadsheet for identification of fields and captures, but in fact it returns some erroneous data which I don’t understand.
    If I could find or be mentored through this one setup and process, I would be clear about exactly how this is accomplished. I have reviewed a few of your articles and thought that I would give out a shout in case you had a more specific tutorial available. I now have the form set up to return to my email IN the original form itself, not just as .xml schema. I am handling this collection process for a state cancer agency whose web person knows less than I so I only want to collect the information, preserve its format in a pdf form, export the information in a database for storage and then convert it into the word template that we must publish in hard copy for a resource guide. The goal of course is to ease updating processes and maintain the data through the database itself and provide user responses on the site based on that database.
    I could send you the file if it helps but after multiple calls to Adobe and hawking many of their tutorials, it leaves a lot to be desired for first timers.
    Thank you so much!

  2. Ian Hockett on July 8th, 2008

    We’ve been using LiveCycle to create forms that are 508 Compliant and have found a major issue with creating a document in LiveCycle and saving it as a PDF. When brought into Acrobat there are several options that have been lost in the Form Properties menu. Under the advanced tab the Reading Options Language has been grayed out and has no value. Actually, everything in the Advanced tab has been grayed out with no values present. This is a problem because this effects how the Screen Reader interacts with the PDF.

    I’ve been in touch with Adobe and JAWS (the screen reader) and neither of them have noticed this issue, though they both agree it is not good. Is there anyone with any sort of solution to this problem; maybe a third party software that rights this wrong or a way around it? And does anybody have an idea of what would cause this? Is there a known problem with integration between LiveCycle and Acrobat?

    Also, has anybody been able to test the how a Screen Reader works with a Form done in Acrobat?

  3. Stefan Cameron on July 13th, 2008

    Julie Houston,

    That sounds like an interesting project! I’m sorry you’re having a difficult time getting started. Based on what you wrote, it sounds like you’re wanting to create a PDF form that allows you to enter data you receive from another source into your MySQL database. If that’s the case, then you should have a look at my tutorials on ODBC (database) data connections: connecting a form to a database, selecting specific database records and displaying all records in a database. It so happens that I used MySQL databases for all of these tutorials so the material should be relevant to your situation.

  4. Stefan Cameron on July 14th, 2008

    Ian Hockett,

    That’s certainly very frustrating! Unfortunately, I don’t have any advice to offer on that issue but for the benefit of other readers, are you seeing this when you use Acrobat 9.0 or an earlier version?

  5. Debbie Freshwater on August 23rd, 2008

    Hi Stefan,

    I love the LC tutorials and blogs. Really outstanding information and help. Although I’ve studied them all, I’m still having trouble with a simple LC form to add/insert records to an Access database. I want the form open to a new record (using an enabled usage rights Adobe Reader 7), so I’ve inserted the AddNew script in various events: Form-Ready, or Initialize event of the Update Button.

    The problem happens when opening in Adobe Reader (any version 7, 8, or 9), even though I’ve extended the usage rights to enable import/export to databases–the infamous Script failed error reports 2 errors, 1 for the .addNew() and the other “. . . Error: accessor ‘$sourceSet.DataConnection.update()’ is unknown.” I’ve developed my forms in LC version 8 and also in the trial version 9, but still I run in to the same issue. I’ve tried system DSNs (which fail silently and DSN-less connections which work great in Acrobat Standard 8–except for a few instances of Acrobat wanting to update to a newer version–which is not allowed–IT holds the only administrator privileges) My time is running out for making this work. It needs to work in Adobe Reader 7.

    Any help you can give me and I will be your friend (and Adobe’s for life)!
    But please keep in mind, I cannot do the adobe ES server option. My company only employs < 80 and resources are extremely tight! I need this application for Document Control Requests. Requests will be made via the form into the database where the requests to revise, update or create new documentation will be tracked and prioritized. The database will send confirmation emails once they submit their requests via the Adobe LC form opened in Reader version 7 on most machines. We are audited by the FDA for CGMP compliance and our systems have software that been validated using Reader 7 in conjunction with the validated software.

    Thanks in advance for your help!


  6. Debbie Freshwater on August 23rd, 2008

    Hi Stefan,

    One more note about the Adobe Reader 7.0 database connection failure. I was able to stop the infamous accessor errors in Adobe Reader for the $sourceSet.DataConnection.addNew() and Update by adapting the connection script for the submit to database button. The connection works great in Acrobat 8.0 with a system DSN and with a DSN-less connection string, but silently fails to connect to the database in Adobe Reader (there are no error messages). Here’s my test form script (just testing 3 fields) which was adapted from one of your earlier posts:

    —– form1.#subform[0].Button1::initialize: – (JavaScript, client) ——————————–


    —– form1.#subform[0].Button1::click: – (JavaScript, client) ————————————-

    // Database control button >> update the current record with any changes.

    $record.DataConnection.Title.value = Title.rawValue;
    $record.DataConnection.Instruc.value = Instruc.rawValue;
    $record.DataConnection.Just.value = Just.rawValue;


    Again, this works perfectly in Acrobat 8.0 Standard and Adobe Professional 8 and 9, but it will not work in any Adobe Reader I’ve tried. I uninstalled and installed 3 different Reader versions on my test computer at home (7, 8, 9)–they all fail to connect to the database even though I’v extended the usage rights via Adobe Professional before trying in Adobe Reader.

    Also, in case anyone would like to know how to do a DSN-less connection for a Microsoft Access Database that works in Acrobat Standard or Professional, here’s the instructions (also adapted from an earlier post by a blogger):

    Create a new form in Adobe LC. From the menu: File / New Data Connection. At the Dialogue Window, select OLEDB Database and click Next. In the field “Connection String” paste in the connection string below (after you change the path name, folders, and database name to the location of your Access Database: you may also use a UNC \\server\share\ instead of a drive Letter):

    Provider=MSDASQL;Persist Security Info=False;Data Source=MS Access Database;Extended Properties=”DSN=MS Access Database;DBQ=H:\DocControl\DCRManager\STL\DCRManager_STL.mdb;DefaultDir=H:\DocControl\DCRManager\STL\DCRManager_STL;DriverId=25;FIL=MS Access;MaxBufferSize=2048;PageTimeout=15;”

    After you paste in the corrected connection string. select the radio button for table and use the drop down menu to select which table you’d like to connect to in the database. If you don’t see any tables, then check the connection string to be sure you have the path and names correct. After you select the table, click next, I leave the fields empty for User and Password and click finish.

    You should see all of the fields from the database on the left in the Data View Palette. I select the purple colored Data Connection to drag and drop all of the fields onto the blank form. It’s a quick and easy way to get the form started.

    Switch to preview PDF view and check to make sure the connection works. Then you just need to add the Javascript (above) for the submit to database button and everything should work fine in Acrobat Standard or Adobe Professional. I only wish it would work in Adobe Reader. I’ve tested the DSN-less connection on other computers at work in Acrobat Standard and everything is perfectly peachy–but not so for Adobe Reader.

    If you have any suggestions, Stefan, or if anyone else knows how to solve the Adobe Reader connection to a database Riddle, please let me know. I need to get my form working, or I’ll have to start from scratch again and develop something like Data Access page. Remember, I must go low cost for this solution.

    Thanks again!


  7. Stefan Cameron on August 25th, 2008

    Debbie Freshwater,

    Unfortunately, the problem is that the free Reader cannot, on its own, connect to a database and import/export data. This functionality must be either (1) enabled in the PDF using LiveCycle Reader Extensions ES or (2) supported on the server with LiveCycle Forms ES.

  8. Andi Mitchell on September 5th, 2008

    Hi Stefan,

    I’m having difficulty with an issue and would appreciate any assistance you might be willing to provide.

    I’m trying to hide blank text field from printing. I have no problem hiding other types of fields – I just can’t figure out how to hide a text field. I’ve inquired on the Designer ES forum, but the response did not work either.

    I’ve tried the following JavaScript on the Preprint option to no avail:

    if {this.rawValue == ” “} this.presence = “hidden”;

    if {this.rawValue == Null} this.presence = “hidden”;

    if {this.rawValue == Null()} this.presence = “hidden”;

    if (this.rawValue == “”) {field.presence= “hidden”}; (from Adobe Forum)



  9. Steve Pence on September 11th, 2008

    Hi Stefan,
    I am trying to follow your select specific DB records tutorial.
    I am using Livecycle 8.2 with the Adobe pro extended versioon of acrobat.
    I can connect to my database (Access 2007) and I select a table to populate my drop down list.
    I use the custom drop down list and replace the database connection, hidden name, text name with my particular info.
    I preview the form and I can see the text names in the drop down list and select them without any problem.
    When I go to the change event and use the xfa.event.newText to view the selected text, it populates a textfield with
    the selected text in the drop down list.
    Everything works as I would expect up to this point.
    When I try to view the hidden value of the selected text, I get a blank(Empty) field.
    I use Textfield2.rawValue = $.boundItem(xfa.event.newText) and have tried Textfield.rawValue=this.boundItem(xfa.event.newText).
    I have looked at the values being presented to the addItem in the initialize event and both are being presented to the addItem.
    It seems as if the value is getting lost or is made empty.
    This seems so simple…can you explain why it would not work. How would I know if the addItem is doing it’s job creating the two columns
    or the boundItem is failing to read the value column?
    Thanks for your help

  10. Stefan Cameron on September 12th, 2008

    Andi Mitchell,

    You’re close. Try this, and make sure the script language is set as “JavaScript” (FormCalc is the default):

    if (this.rawValue == null || this.rawValue.length == 0)
        this.presence = "hidden";

    This will check to see if the value of the field is null (no value specified) or if it’s an empty string (length == 0). If either of those conditions are true, the text field’s presence will be set to “hidden”.

  11. Stefan Cameron on September 12th, 2008

    Steve Pence,

    Unfortunately, the probem isn’t readily apparent to me although I will point-out two things: First, if your script language is set to “JavaScript” (which I recommend using over FormCalc), you cannot use “$” in your scripts. You need to use the “this” keyword to refer to the object in context. So


    is the correct way to access the bound item of the new selection in a list object’s Change event.

    Second, since you’re using Designer 8.2 and Acrobat 9, you could try using the new List Object API, available since Acrobat 8, to access the bound item and also to verify the structure of the drop down list.

  12. Steve Pence on September 15th, 2008


    Thank you for your reply and this website. They have been very helpful.

    I have tried your suggestions but unfortunately still have the same issues. The problem I am seeing can be reduced to a simple
    test. I am using WinXP SP3 with LiveCycle 8.2 and Acrobat 9 pro extended.
    I use a blank form and add a Standard ListBox and a Textfield.

    In the initialize event for the listbox I add the following code,


    In the change event for the list box I add this code,

    TextField1.rawValue = this.boundItem(xfa.event.newText);

    When I preview the form it shows the “test” displayed in the listbox and when I select “test” in the list box it displays “it” in the Textfield1 box.

    This is working as it should. The problem occurs when you place the addItem in a loop.

    var i;

    for( i=0; i<10;i++){


    The result of this loop is to fill the listbox with 10 test choices, but when I select them there is no value appearing in the TextField box.

    This is the same problem I find when I try to use the custom drop down list. I have found that when the; command is executed the
    addItem fails in the same way.

    Am I missing something basic here or is this a major bug?

    Thanks for your help Stefan.


  13. Steve Pence on September 15th, 2008

    Hi Stefan,

    I have tried the loop on another computer and it works there. Sorry about that. I stll have the failure when the; is executed though.


  14. Stefan Cameron on September 24th, 2008

    Steve Pence,

    Have you tried having a look at what the items in the list look like after the call is executed? Perhaps the items aren’t what you think they are?

    You could place a button on your form with the following script in its Click event (using the list object API where “myList” is the name of your list object):

    console.println("myList contains " + myList.length + " items:");
    for (var i = 0; i < myList.length; i++)
        console.println("item " + i + ": " + myList.getDisplayItem(i) + " / " + myList.getSaveItem(i));

    Run your form, open the database connection, click on the button and then press "Ctrl + J" in Acrobat to show the JavaScript console. In there, you should see something like this:

    myList contains 2 items:
    item 0: text1 / value1
    item 1: text2 / value2

    which would show you what items are in the list. Are there any items? Do they have the values you're expecting?

  15. Blair on October 27th, 2008

    i am using livecycle desinger 8.0 for the first time and just want my returned files to be in pdf format instead of the .xml format. how can i do this?

  16. Stefan Cameron on November 4th, 2008


    Use a regular button, set it’s “Object palette > Control Type property” to “Submit” (a “Submit” tab will appear in the Object palette at this point), then set the “Object palette > Submit tab > Submit As property” to “PDF”.

    Note, however, that submitting the PDF is akin to saving the PDF, functionality that is not available by default in the free Adobe Reader. In order to export data in the PDF format in the free Reader, you’ll need to extend your PDF using Adobe LiveCycle Reader Extensions.

  17. Xancholy on January 5th, 2009


    Sorry if this is misplaced !

    How can I calculate working days between the values supplied in datetimefields StartingDate & EndingDate ?

    Basically it should count business days that are not public holidays or Sat/Sun weekends.

    Is there a function in Javascript or FormCalc that you can point me to ?

    Thanks !

  18. Stefan Cameron on January 6th, 2009


    There are date and time functions available in both JavaScript (the Date object) and FormCalc (see the XFA spec for the FormCalc date/time functions) that you can use to calculate the number of days between two dates but nothing that I know of that takes in account holidays and weekends. That’s intelligence you would have to build-in yourself.

  19. Vikhasini on August 4th, 2009

    Hello Sir,

    I need a solution for how to create a placeholder in LC.

  20. Vikhasini on August 4th, 2009

    Hi Sir!

    How to insert .flv files in LC.

  21. Stefan Cameron on August 8th, 2009


    Do you mean you want to insert a Flash movie (or Flex app) into a PDF? If so, you can only do this as of Acrobat/Reader 9 and I believe you do it as a multimedia attachment of some sorts.

  22. qais on December 10th, 2009

    hi sir
    how can add record after connect i need script under java in adobe live cycle used access database (odbc).


  23. Stefan Cameron on December 14th, 2009


    If your form is connected with an ODBC data connection, using the connection’s addNew() method will add a new record and what you type into the bound fields will go into that record.

  24. gAdobe on March 26th, 2010

    I’m trying out Livecycle, which seems pretty neat so far. I have created a form with data binding to my SQL Server database via DSN. Text boxes seem to work fine, but I cannot get the drop down boxes to work, I am not sure what I am doing wrong.

    Steps I have done:
    1) Create the DSN, add the data connection. I know this is working because text boxes that point to a table show the value.

    2) Drop a drop down box, then click on List Items (Object/Field tab).
    3) Select data connection dsOrigination
    4) Item Text: Source
    5) Item Value: sourceID
    6) Save the file as PDF on my desktop
    7) Double click the PDF on my desktop. Navigate to the drop down box but it doesn’t display any value for me to select.

    What I have done:
    1) File/Form Properties/Preview:
    a) Preview Type: Interactive Form
    b) Preview Adobe XML Form as: Dynamic XML form
    2) Tools/Options/Data Binding
    a) Show dynamic properties is checked

    What the heck am I doing wrong? I really want to proof this so I can get my boss to buy it me. It will save a boat load of time of filling in forms rather then creating webpages but right now I cannot show him the neat form I’ve created cause I can’t get the drop down to work.

    Thanks in advance!

  25. Stefan Cameron on April 3rd, 2010


    Are you opening the PDF in Acrobat or Reader? If you’re using Reader, data connections will not function (unless you extend the PDF to enable this functionality in Reader for this PDF).

    If you don’t have Acrobat, you can get the 30 day trial to do your demonstration.