Stefan Cameron on Forms
Building intelligent forms using Adobe LiveCycle Designer


Tech Talk on Database Connected Forms

Paul Guerette, a colleague of mine at Adobe, will be giving a “tech talk” eSeminar on connecting forms to databases over at on Tuesday, March 23, 2010, at 10am PST (1pm EST).

If you have been struggling with connecting a form to a database, are wanting to know what the best practices and/or security concerns are, or have some specific questions you would like to ask, I highly recommend you attend the session. It’s free to attend (and free to become a member in order to attend)!

I’ll be answering chat questions “live” as the session unfolds. I hope you can join us!

Posted by Stefan Cameron on March 10th, 2010
Filed under Acrobat,Data Binding,Designer,Scripting,Tutorials,XFA

Disabling All Fields Within a Subform

I thought I would point-out a nice improvement that was made to XFA <subform> elements back in XFA 2.8: The addition of the access property.

In days of yore, if you wanted to disable all fields and exclusion groups (for the sake of brevity, I’ll refer to these collectively as “fields” in this article) in a particular section of your form, you would’ve had to write a script that recursively drilled down into all children of that section looking for fields to disable. This is because the access attribute only applied to fields.

With this change, assuming the section in question is contained within a subform, you can now easily disable all fields contained within it simply by setting the subform‘s access attribute to “readOnly”!

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Posted by Stefan Cameron on March 8th, 2010
Filed under Scripting,Tutorials,XFA

Tip: Accessing Form Properties Preview Tab

Did you know you could quickly access the Preview tab in the Form Properties dialog from the PDF Preview tab’s context menu?

My friend Angie Okamoto (Easel Solutions) was the one who originally pointed this out to me. It’s incredibly useful, especially when you’re switching between various preview data files (or options like interactive vs non-interactive), because it loads the dialog and activates the Preview tab in a single step. This saves both mouse travel time and one click which adds-up to a lot, if you do this frequently.

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Posted by Stefan Cameron on February 11th, 2010
Filed under Designer,Tips

Tip: Inserting Line Breaks in Text

Did you know that you could insert a line break, as opposed to a paragraph break, in between two lines in a text object using the [Shift + Enter] keyboard sequence?

When editing the contents of a text object, pressing the [Enter] key will produce a paragraph break which means that any Above and/or Below Spacing you have specified will come into effect, amongst other paragraph formatting-related properties. Under the hood, the effect is the insertion of a “new line” character (\n) in a plain text object or a new <p> tag in a rich (XHTML) text object.

Sometimes, however, you need to break a line without producing a new paragraph. For example, you might have a long URL to insert and, given its position within the contents, it ends-up being broken onto another line and you would prefer to keep it on a single line, yet part of the same paragraph. To do this, use the [Shift + Enter] keyboard sequence. The result is a “soft” break to another line without moving to a new paragraph. Under the hood, this translates into the insertion of a U+2029 Unicode break character in plain text or a <br> tag in rich (XHTML) text.

Those of you using a version of Designer which precedes the 8.2.1 release should note that when using [Shift + Enter] in a plain text object, the contents of the object gets converted into rich text since previous versions of Designer would always use the <br> tag to denote a line break. Designer 8.2.1 coincided with the release of Acrobat/Reader 9.0 which provided improvements to the Text Engine in order to support the plain text U+2029 Unicode break character.

Continue reading…

Posted by Stefan Cameron on January 29th, 2010
Filed under Acrobat,Designer,Tips,XFA

Purchase Designer ES2 Upgrade

The LiveCycle Product Blog has some recent information on the availability of the Designer ES2 Upgrade which can now be purchased on the Adobe Store.

Note that, going forward, Designer will no longer be available for purchase apart from Acrobat Pro or Workbench (i.e. you will no longer be able to purchase Designer without purchasing one of these two other products).

Posted by Stefan Cameron on January 14th, 2010
Filed under Acrobat,Designer