Stefan Cameron on Forms
Building intelligent forms using Adobe LiveCycle Designer

Complex Validations

A couple of days ago, Michael Ramirez asked me how to do complex validations on forms. He asked how one could have a validation as follows: Given 3 text fields A, B and C and a check box E, A is mandatory only if B and C are filled or if E is checked. I thought this would make a great little sample of both complex validation scripts and what I like to call the “Two Button Submit” technique.

Download Sample [pdf]

Minimum Requirements: Designer 7.x, Acrobat 7.x.

The Plan

First, let’s figure-out what the plan is before we start scripting. The idea is to place these fields on a new form along with a submit button such that the user cannot submit the form unless the validation rules succeed. Since Field A isn’t always mandatory, we can’t default it to be User Entered — Required by using the Value tab in the Object palette. We’ll need a way to make it required only when Fields B & C are filled or when Field E is checked. Furthermore, we don’t want the form’s data to be submitted unless these rules are met.

The easiest solution that comes to mind is one that’s passive as the user is entering data into the fields but aggressive at the point when they try to submit it by putting the validation script on the submit button’s Click event. The catch here is that there’s no way of stopping the submission process once the Click event has fired so regardless of whether your validation succeeds or fails, the form is going to be submitted. That’s where the “Two Button Submit” technique comes-in to save the day.

“Two Button Submit” Technique

Thankfully, there’s a scripting method called execEvent that lets you programmatically cause an event to be executed on a field. With this in mind, you place a regular (non-submit type) button on the form, make it visible and set its caption to read something like, “Submit”. Then you place the actual submit button (could be email, HTTP or even print) on the form and make it invisible. Please note: make it invisible, not hidden or else the execEvent call on it will fail because Acrobat won’t know it exists in the XFA Scripting Model. For this example, let’s call it “EmailSubmitButton”.

Now that both buttons are on the form, in the regular (fake submit) button’s Click event, put the following script (FormCalc or JavaScript works just the same):


With that script, when you click on the fake submit button, you’ll cause the Click event on the actual submit button to fire and the fake submit button will, to the user, behave just like a normal submit button.

The advantage of this is that you now control if and when the real submit button’s Click event is executed and therefore if and when the form is submitted.

If you were to add the following JavaScript statement before the execEvent line:

if (FieldA.rawValue != null && FieldA.rawValue.length > 0)

the form wouldn’t submit unless Field A was filled.

Validations Prior to Submitting

Using the “Two Button Submit” technique, we can now perform any kind of validations — really simple to very complex — we want and have total control over if and when the form may be submitted.

Given our example of fields A, B, C and E, we can do something like this:

var bCanSubmit = true;

if ( (IsSpecified(FieldB) && IsSpecified(FieldC)) ||
    IsChecked(FieldE) )
  if (!IsSpecified(FieldA))
  {"Please fill Field A.");
    bCanSubmit = false;

if (bCanSubmit)
  EmailSubmitButton1.execEvent("click"); // submit the form

This will prevent the form from being submitted if Field A isn’t filled when Fields B & C are filled or Check Box E is checked.

Posted by Stefan Cameron on August 24th, 2006
Filed under Scripting
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51 Responses to “Complex Validations”

  1. smvo on September 6th, 2006


    I was looking for a discussion topic similar to my question, and I hope this is the right one.

    I was trying to find out why the number of digits that one can enter in a numeric field is always different from that indicated with the leaddigits? (is indiferent if we use Designer 7.0 or 7.1)

    For instance, if I make this:

    this.value.decimal.leadDigits = “1”;

    I will be able to write 4 digits in the field

    If I make this:

    this.value.decimal.leadDigits = “3”;

    I will be able to write 6 digits in the field… and not 3

    This difference depends on what? decimal places? (counting with the decimal separator).

    My problem with this is that when one inserts more digits than those specified by the leaddigit (for instance 4 instead of 3 without decimal places), the value will not be accepted and I don´t see where I can get that value if it is not accepted.

    I need that value because I shouldn´t just not accept the new value without telling the user that the value he entered as not been accepted.

    The rawvalue in this condition is still the previous value on the field… Maybe there is an uncommited value that I can get?

    Thank you!


  2. Stefan Cameron on September 11th, 2006


    The use of the leadDigits and fracDigits on the <decimal> value type can be a little confusing.

    As far as Acrobat is concerned, it looks at the leadDigits and fracDigits and combines them, including the decimal character, to create a maximum length for the field.

    Since the default value for decimal.fracDigits is 2, when you specify

    decimal.leadDigits = 3;

    , Acrobat sets a maximum length of (3 lead digits + 1 decimal character + 2 frac digits) 6 characters for that field.

    When the user is entering the value into the field, it doesn’t prevent them from entering a value that violates the lead and frac digit settings. Rather, it simply discards entries which don’t match the lead and frac digit settings, which is why you can enter “123.45”, “123456”, “1234.5”, “12345.” and prior to not being able to type characters any longer while “123.45” would be the only one accepted/committed by Acrobat. Is it the best user experience “out of the box”? Certainly not!

    Luckily, the Change event can help you out in this case because it occurs every time a key is pressed on the keyboard, regardless of whether the character gets entered into the field or not. In that event, you can see what value the user is entering as they enter it by accessing the


    property. If you then store that value into a Form Variable (see Form Variable Tip for information on using Form Variables in scripts), you could look at the entered value in the Exit event (which occurs when the Enter or Tab key is pressed, after the value is committed to the field). By comparing the saved value with this.rawValue and doing a little bit of parsing against the saved value given decimal.leadDigits and decimal.fracDigits, you should be able to determine if the value committed was the same as the value entered and display an error message using the


  3. smvo on September 11th, 2006


    That was what I needed!

    Thank you!

  4. Alessio on September 18th, 2006

    Sorry for the question, that I think it’s very stupid, but not so stupid to make me find a solution.

    How is it possible to implement the same kind of validations that are automatic when there is a submit botton in the case I have a execute button?

    I submit data to a WebService, but even if I made some fields mandatory, when I press the button I send the data without any kind of validation.

    Thanks for helping,

  5. Stefan Cameron on September 19th, 2006


    I believe you should still be able to use the “Two Button Submit” Technique which I described in this article: Just make your actual execute button invisible and use the click event of a regular button to trigger the click event of the execute button once you’ve completed all validations in the regular button’s Click event.

  6. Jo on November 9th, 2006

    I’ve implemented your “two button submit” technique in my pdf form but I got a “ReferenceError: EmailSubmitButton is not defined” when the validation function succeeds. I’ve double-checked my 2nd button properties and the name is correct (same characters, same case, form field visible). Any idea?
    Btw, I’m still using Acrobat 6.1 Pro, could it be the source of the problem?

    — Jo

  7. Stefan Cameron on November 11th, 2006


    I don’t believe Acrobat 6.1 would be the problem. The script required to make the “two button technique” work should be supported in that version of Acrobat.

    You error sounds more like a syntax error or a scoping problem to me. You say you’ve verified that the name of the submit button is, in fact, “EmailSubmitButton”. You should therefore be accessing it using the following script in another button’s Click event:


    If this isn’t working, then is it possible that the email submit button is in a separate container? If it’s not a sibling to the other (regular) button in the form’s hierarchy (see the Hierarchy palette), then you’ll have to access its container prior to accessing the email submit button itself. For example, if it was on the page itself at the top and the regular button you’re using to do the validation and execute the email submit button’s Click event is located on a subform one level deep from the page, then you would have to write the following script (shown here in JavaScript):


  8. John Nesbitt on November 12th, 2006


    Is it possible to change the target URL of the submit button at runtime?

    We have different development environments (Dev, UAT, Prod) and would like to be able to set the submit button’s URL property to the current environment’s endpoint.

    It would be nice if the URL property was a dynamic property but it doesn’t seem to be in Designer 7.1.


  9. Stefan Cameron on November 13th, 2006


    It’s certainly possible to change the target URL of a submit button at runtime — you just need to know a little about XFA in order to do it.

    Essentially, submit buttons are regular buttons which have a Click event (<event activity=”click”>) with a <submit> node as its one-of property. The submit node is where you’ll find the “target” property which you can use to modify the target URL.

    Here’s a JavaScript script that you can use to set the target URL of a submit button:

    var oEventList = SubmitBtn.resolveNodes(“#event”);

    for (var i = 0; i < oEventList.length; i++)
      var oEventNode = oEventList.item(i);
      if (oEventNode.activity == “click”)
        oEventNode.resolveNode(“#submit”).target = “new URL”;

  10. John Nesbitt on November 15th, 2006


    Awesome – it worked perfectly!

    Thanks for your help,

  11. Chalmal on January 2nd, 2007

    Dear Stefan,
    I have the same requirement. I’m using Designer 7.0. I tried the same. But, have some issues.
    Kindly clarify more details on the above Javascript. Which button should we use? Http Submit button? Also, in which event of the button, we have to add the Javascript?


  12. Chalmal on January 4th, 2007

    Dear Stefan,

    Thx. Now it’s working. I have put this code in normal Submit click event and executed the event of HttpSubmit button. It’s working fine. Thx. for your information.

    But I have few more requirements. I need to restrict the input (key-in) into the Text fields (like allow only numerics, characters, or dates…).

    More details are as follows:
    I’m using Adobe Professional – Live cycle designer 7.0 to design pdf form. Also, I’m using an existing pdf (supplied by the customer), which is designed through teleform designer (with adobe 6.0) model for this design. In the existing one, the javascript methods are working fine for restricting keys, validation, etc. But these scripts are not working in designer as the designer is using XFA model.

    For eg. a function used in the teleform version:
    function TFTemplate_KeyStroke( mask )
    if (event.willCommit) {
    var value = AFMergeChange( event );
    if (!mask.test( value )) {
    event.rc = false;
    app.beep( 0 );

    I’m trying to restrict the key inputs (like only numbers/characters should be entered). But I couldn’t find the equivalent statements for some of the statements (which are used in the teleform pdf).

    For eg.
    event.rc = true. – Allows keystroke to be added to entry. – event.rc = false. – Prevents keystroke being added to entry in the following function:

    I couldn’t find the matching statements in Designer for event.willCommit, AFMergeChange(),event.rc, etc.

    If I get, I can restrict the inputs.

    Expecting any solutions from you…

    Thanks in Advance…


  13. Stefan Cameron on January 9th, 2007


    Fortunately, it should be possible for you to limit the characters that can be entered into a field. It won’t necessarily be as easy as the script you’ve quoted but you should be able to achieve similar functionality.

    The trick lies in using the change property of the xfa.event object (available in all XFA events) in the Change event.

    This property behaves slightly differently depending on the type of field you’re using. For this explanation, I’ll assume we’re talking about a text field.

    Every time a character is entered into a text field, the Change event fires. The xfa.event.change property then contains the character that was typed into the field and which will be added to the field’s current value. If this property is set to an empty string, no character is appended to the field’s value.

    Knowing this, you could, say, prevent the user from entering the character “a” into a text field with this simple script in the text field’s Change event:

    if (xfa.event.change == “a”)
       xfa.event.change = “”;

    You may also find it useful to use the xfa.event.newText property which, in the Change event, contains the entire new text to be set in the text field. This means that as you type, “a”, then “s”, then “d”, the newText property has the following values, in sequential calls to the Change event: “a”, “as”, “asd”.

    Note that if the user erases a character, both the newText and change properties will be empty strings.

  14. Angelo Veraldi on February 7th, 2007

    Hi Stefan – I’ve been researching the adobe forums regarding my issue and have found your posts helpful, though they pertain to a slighlty different situation than my own.

    Using your Highlight Required Field document as reference: I have a series of exclusive groups of radio buttons. Instead of printing the form after validating user input for these groups, I would like the data to be emailed (xml or pdf w/ digital signature). I have seen your posts regarding the two button submit technique but am not sure how to alter the code to still validate the groups/buttons, then trigger the click event to submit.

    I am not an experienced LiveCycle user, so I have pieced my form together from examples that partially address my needs.

    I have even inquired to companies I have seen online to have them produce my form based on a static pdf version of it to no avail. They don’t even respond my initial inquiry. I am willing to pay someone to help me…please.


  15. Stefan Cameron on February 7th, 2007


    I’m sorry to hear you’ve had such a difficult time designing your form.

    You should be able to achieve this quite simply by following the “two button submit” technique as I describe it in this article but instead of using an email submit button, you’ll need to use a regular button and then convert it into a submit button.

    To convert a regular button into a submit button, simply add a regular button to your form and then select the “Submit” radio button on the Object palette’s Field tab. Doing so will cause the Submit tab to appear in the Object palette.

    On the Submit tab, set the URL property to “” (where “” is the email address to which the data should be submitted), set the “Submit As” property to “XDP” and check the PDF and “Document Signature” check boxes in the Include section. This will result in an XDP containing 3 packets: the form as a PDF with the data filled-in, the digital signature(s) (if any) and the form data.

    Once you’ve set these properties on the button, just hide it and execute its Click event from another regular “non-submit” button’s Click event after you’ve validated the exclusion groups.

  16. Angelo on February 23rd, 2007

    Hi Again…

    Thank you for your guidance on my previous issue – the form is up and running! I was so excited after clearing that last hurdle that I have started a new project.

    There’s a post on the Adobe forum from last May ( where you address making fields mandatory if a certain field is filled in. My form is similar in that there are multiple sections that may or may not be filled in. I understand the theory of it, but without seeing a working sample, I’m having trouble applying it to my needs. Instead, I have modified the sample of Complex Validations so that if fieldA is filled in, then succesive fields are required. The problem I am experienceing is that even if FieldA is not filled in, the user can input data into some or all of the other fields and still print or submit the form with incomplete fields. Another scenario is that if FieldA is filled in, I can skip several fields but fill in the last field and it will still print/submit. I would like to make all fields dependent on each other so if any one is filled in the others are required, no matter in what order that may occur. I hope you are able to follow what I’m trying to explain, because I feel like I am talking in circles.

  17. Angelo on February 28th, 2007

    Hey Stefan –

    I hope you enjoyed your time away!

    I can save you some time and let you know that I finally solved my complex validation issue. I’d try to explain how I accomplished it, but there are so many steps that I lose my train of thought halfway through. I can send you the form and you can check it out if you like. My labeling is a little off, but I’m scared to clean it up right now for fear of wrecking it.

    Since it works, I am now trying to improve on it. One of my text fields is designed to display file pathh using this code :

    var myDoc =;
    var sPath;
    var myDataObject = myDoc.getDataObject(sPath);

    TextField1.rawValue = myDataObject.path;

    I can locate any random file on our server. What it displays is only the file name and extension ( How can I expand the functionality to display either the entire file path (\\igsserver\igs\\igs.clients\a-f\\2007\…) or preferrably display the last 4 or 5 levels of the file path.


  18. Stefan Cameron on March 6th, 2007


    Yes, I enjoyed my little break very much although it went by way too fast!

    I’m glad to hear that you solved your first problem. Did you use the “Two Button Submit” technique I described in this article? That would let you create your own validation such that you could validate all fields and decide if and when to allow form submission to occur. As for printing, you can’t really lock it down since there are too many ways to print within Acrobat and you can’t disable all of them programmatically.

    As for your next question with regards to displaying the file path, try using the or properties. “path” should give you the device-independent file path and “URL” should give you the path in the “http://” or “file://” format.

  19. Shawn Forney on March 7th, 2007

    if (xfa.event.change == “a”)
    xfa.event.change = “”;

    Unfortunately, the script referenced above simply doesn’t work, at least in Acrobat 7.x. You can put that in the change event of a text field and type a’s like they’re going out of style. Any changes to xfa.event.change or xfa.event.newText are simply ignored by the application. Considering this behavior directly contradicts all documentation regarding these properties, it seems like a bug.

  20. Angelo on March 7th, 2007

    Stefan –

    I’m obviously missing something, because when I edit the code to this:

    var myDoc =;
    var sPath;
    var myDataObject = myDoc.getDataObject(sPath);

    TextField1.rawValue = myDataObject.path;

    nothing is happening, not even the browser window opens. Can you elaborate please, maybe give me a little more context as to how the is used?

    As for my previous issues, yes, the Two Button Submit worked. But, I had posted another message about making multiple fields mandatory after data is input into a field.I have four different sections in my form, two in which all fields are always mandatory. The problem I had was getting the third & fourth sections to respond. If the user entered data into one of these sections, whether the field was in the begining, middle or end of that section, I then wanted to make all empty fields mandatory. It took some head scracthing but I finally narrowed it down to the processes contained insided the { } & ( ) and figuring out where & when to use &&, ||, IsSpecified & !IsSpecified. Like I said in my other post, I kept getting lost in the code. But now, I’m pretty proud of myself and wanted to share it with you if you’d like to take a look at it. It’s kind of a complex-complex validation.

    Now, if we can just figure out the damn file path thing.


  21. Stefan Cameron on March 14th, 2007


    I copied and pasted the script you posted directly into the Change event on a text field and tried running the form in both Acrobat 7.0.9 and Acrobat 8.0 and the script worked just fine.

    The script you posted in obviously in JavaScript. Is it possible your Change event’s Script Language is still set to FormCalc (in which case, the script wouldn’t be executed)?

    What exact version of Acrobat 7 are you testing this with? Is it Reader and what version?

  22. Stefan Cameron on March 14th, 2007


    I’m sorry for misleading you: I originally thought you were looking for the path to the PDF form which is executing the script. In that case,

    would give you that.

    By changing the first line of your original script to “”, you’re assigning a string to the “myDoc” variable — not the Doc object. That’s why you no longer get the file picker dialog (the script interpreter doesn’t know what to do with a string object when you call “importDataObject” on it).

    I believe what you’re after is the full path to the file that was imported. If that’s correct, then your original script should work, although I would recommend giving a name to the data object (the first parameter of the “importDataObject” is the name you want to assign to it):

    var myDoc =;
    var myDataObject = myDoc.getDataObject(“DataObject”);

    TextField1.rawValue = myDataObject.path;

    Unfortunately, this still only yields the file name and extension, excluding the full original path even though the API documentation states that it returns “the device-independent path to the file that was embedded.”

    Although you could look at this as a bug in Acrobat, it’s actually like that for security reasons (all the way back to Acrobat 6, I believe) since the path to the file could contain sensitive information like a person’s username (depending on where the file was located). Therefore, once the data is imported, all that remains available is the original file name and extension. I will report the error in the documentation.

    As for your solution to your validation problems, normally I would say I’d love to have a look at it however I’m still back-logged with comments to respond to so I’ll have to pass this time. I’m glad it’s working for you, though.

  23. Shawn Forney on March 20th, 2007

    We were using Acrobat 7.0 and Reader 7.0.5. After talking with Adobe support, the change event bug must have been fixed somewhere around version 7.0.8.

  24. Alex Schultz on September 6th, 2007

    I’d prefer to post a new topic, but this long thread seems to be the right place to start without digging in too deep.

    I’m a novice at scripting, but more and more am being asked to manage and occasionally create dynamic forms for corporate e-mail invites, so digging in is something I have to do. I am trying to get a grasp on dynamic forms and am working on a historical quiz PDF with the following requirements.

    1. Users enter a specific year or a name to answer a question. I have these set up as Text Fields. The entry has to match for the user to move on to the next question.
    2. Upon entering the last question correctly, the user is presented with a “Congratulations, You passed the Quiz” message.

    Can somebody push me in the right direction to some source material that would outline the steps necessary to create such a form in Acrobat 7?


  25. Todd Jackson on September 7th, 2007

    Hi Stefan,
    I’m a LC newbie and I’ve set up an application form (3 pages) which is connected to a webservice (thanks to your tutorial) and this is works fine, but I require applicants to upload a photo for ID so have implemented the “two button” submit method which will eventually validate most fields, but importantly make an “upload image” button visible once the fake submit botton is clicked, as this assures the required fields have been filled and adds the student id to the “upload image” buttons’ querystring, the response form the webservice advises if the application was submitted sucessfully (or not).

    The idea is to send them off to a web based upload form with their student id in the querystring generated from the pdf form (If you know of a better solution then please advise).

    However I can’t make this button appear, even if I use the full hieracy syntax. I can do the opposite and make the button dissapear but not vice versa??

    I have implemented this solution successfully on your “TheOtherField_Acro7x.pdf” pdf where it works fine, so that rules out any bug problem in LC Designer (version is 8.05).

    var bCanSubmit = true;

    if (F.P1.studentid.rawValue != null && F.P1.studentid.rawValue.length > 0)
    F.P1.UploadBtn.presence = “visible”;
    //F.P1.UploadBtn.mandatory = “error”;
    //“Student ID is :” + F.P1.studentid.rawValue);

    F.P1.UploadBtn.presence = “invisible”;
    //F.P1.UploadBtn.mandatory = “disabled”;
    bCanSubmit = false;

    I have used the javascript debugger but no errors are generated during runtime.
    For something so simple this is causing alot of grief, would appreciate any assistance in making this work.



  26. Todd Jackson on September 9th, 2007

    Ok, the problem was that I saved the form as the default static pdf form type and not as a dynamic form type. Problem is that by doing that I’ve practically doubled the file size. Is there any way of compressing this, as this has added alot of overhead?

  27. Stefan Cameron on September 16th, 2007

    Alex Schultz,

    Sounds like an interesting project. Unfortunately, the things you need to know in order to create your quiz form will likely be scattered through a few references you’ll find online however the new Designer book would be a great place to start to learn how to use Designer.

    The basics are that you can use JavaScript to compare values entered into various fields against the correct answers and, to keep this really simple, you might want to do everything on the click of a “verify my answers” button on the form. Let’s say you have 3 questions with the answer fields (all text fields) being Answer1, Answer2 and Answer3. In the Click event of a button object, you could write JavaScript like this:

    if (Answer1.rawValue == "answer1" && Answer2.rawValue == "answer2" && Answer3.rawValue == "answer3")"Congratulations, you passed the quiz!"); // message box -- success
    else"Please try again."); // message box -- failure message

    This would check that all three questions were correctly answered and show the “congratulations” message in a message box if so.

  28. Stefan Cameron on September 16th, 2007

    Todd Jackson,

    You asked,

    Problem is that by doing that I’ve practically doubled the file size. Is there any way of compressing this, as this has added alot of overhead?

    I don’t know of any way to reduce the file size. Once you make the form dynamic, there’s a lot more information that needs to be stored in the PDF file in order to give the form it’s dynamic functions. When you save it as a static PDF, only print and basic form information is needed in the PDF layer, hence the smaller file size.

  29. Alyssa on April 10th, 2008

    This post has helped me out a lot. (Actually all of your posts have!) I have this process setup and working perfectly. I’m now trying to adjust it slightly to see if I can use one button and a signature field. The button would check all required fields. If all filled in, I’d like for it to execute the “click” on the signature field to prompt them to e-sign the document (else display a message with which fields are required). I have it set up this way but can’t get it to work. I’m guessing it’s something in the way that signature fields are set up.

    Hopefully this is enough information. Is there any way to work out what I’m trying to do?

    Thanks so much!

  30. Stefan Cameron on April 20th, 2008


    I looked around to see if there was a way of doing this but signature fields are different from submit buttons. As far as I know, you can’t trigger the signature field using script in your form. The best I can suggest is that you hide the signature field and only show it if all validations pass when the user clicks on the button.

  31. John Hamlin on June 19th, 2008


    Keep up the great posts! This was just what I was looking for. I’m having trouble finding a way to redirect the user to a “success” page after submitting the form. The form is set up with a My Credentials for Adobe certificate and is returned secure. Because it is secure a “Submit Secure” button appears in the certification info bar at the top of the page. To avoid confusing the user, I have the HTTPSubmitButton1 visible for print only and Button1 is invisible. (It seems the HTTPSubmit button needs to be visible or the form can’t be returned secured – I get a “can’t find submit button” when I try to save and distribute the form – it will be posted on a website.) Which event would execute the redirect code? As I am a novice, can you point me in the right direction for redirect code examples for this? I would greatly appreciate any help on this!

    Thanks much,

  32. Stefan Cameron on June 25th, 2008

    John Hamlin,

    If you’ve setup your form with the “two button submit” technique, then I assume “Button1” is the regular button that executes the HTTP Submit button’s click event. To do a redirect after that, you should be able to use the function call right after executing the submit button’s click event:

    submitButton.execEvent("click");"", 0);

    I must admit I’m not quite sure what’s going on with the secured form and the button in the certification info bar though it sounds like clicking that button will execute the HTTP Submit button directly which isn’t what you want for the “two button submit” technique. If that’s the case, then you could try putting the call in the HTTP Submit button’s PostSubmit event. This event should get executed after the form’s data has been submitted to the server. You may not need “Button1” if this is the case.

  33. John Hamlin on June 26th, 2008

    Thanks so much for your help! I am using the two button technique to require a text field when a “No” radio button is selected. I have discovered that now that the form is submitting as secure, the validation doesn’t work. It appears that the “Secure Submit” button in the certification info bar does execute the HTTP Submit button directly. This is actually more of a problem that the redirect issue. Do you have any ideas on how to configure this validation using the single submit button?


  34. John Hamlin on June 26th, 2008

    Also, I don’t seem to be able to find the PostSubmit event for the http submit button.

    Thanks again,

  35. Nathan on June 26th, 2008


    I need to display an error message if the http submit button fails to connect to the URL either due to internet connection or server outage. How do I verify a faulty connection?



  36. Nathan on June 27th, 2008

    Additional Information

    I’m using the two button submit method. The hidden submit is an HTTP submit and sends the data as an XDP. I have had successful submits, but if the server is down, or I forget to connect to the internet, I’d like to have a connectivity failure message. I thought that it would be automatic but right now the cursor just goes to hour glass mode and then returns to the form.

    Hope this additional info helps.

    Thanks again,


  37. Nathan on June 27th, 2008


    Correction, it’s a regular button with a submit control type set to submit aa XDP to a URL


  38. Stefan Cameron on June 29th, 2008

    John Hamlin,

    That’s what I suspected about the secure submit (that it executes the HTTP Submit button directly). The only way around this issue that I can think of is to use the same technique to prevent submissions when a required field isn’t filled as you would do to prevent the form from being printed. If you read the article, you’ll see that there’s a setting to prevent forms from being submitted just like you can prevent them from being printed. Of course, this requires Acrobat 8 at the very least. Unfortunately, prior to Acrobat 8, Acrobat didn’t properly support the prevention of printing/submission when required/mandatory fields weren’t filled (hence why I had been using the “two button submit” technique).

    As for the Pre/Post Submit events, you should be able to see those in the “Show” drop down list in the Script Editor palette (where you can choose which event’s script to edit). If you don’t see it listed when a field is selected, it’s possible that event wasn’t exposed by Designer if you’re running an older version (6.0 or even 7.0, I’m not certain).

  39. John Hamlin on June 30th, 2008

    Thanks, Stephan, your help is greatly appreciated! On the Pre/Post Submit events, I have the preSubmit event, but no postSubmit event in the Show: drop down. I am using LiveCycle Designer version 8.05. Here is what is listed: initialize, enter, exit, calculate, validate, preOpen, mouseEnter, mouseExit, change, full, mouseUp, mouseDown, click, preSave, postSave, prePrint, postPrint, preSubmit, docReady, docClose, form:ready, layout:ready, indexChange. If I do a search in the LiveCycle Designer Help, for postSubmit, I get “no topics found”. When I google “LiveCycle postSubmit” I get one return that leads me to which isn’t really what I’m looking for. It seems to me that redirecting to a success page has to be easier that all of this and I must be missing something!

  40. Stefan Cameron on July 4th, 2008


    I’ve been waiting a few days now for an answer to this one since I don’t know myself. I had a look at the various APIs that you could use (both on the XFA and AcroForms sides) and unfortunately, I don’t see any submit methods that actually return a status of some kind that you could use. At this point, I don’t think it’s possible to know. If I do get a positive answer, I’ll be sure to post here as a comment.

  41. Stefan Cameron on July 4th, 2008

    John Hamlin,

    I have to apologize: I’ve discovered that the PostSubmit event is new to XFA 2.8 which means you can’t use it until Designer 8.2. I’m afraid I don’t know what to suggest in your particular case since you can’t use the “two button submit” technique. I don’t know of a way to do post-processing after a form submission before XFA 2.8 (Designer 8.2).

  42. John Hamlin on July 7th, 2008


    Again, thanks for your help. I am working on some work arounds and if they pan out I’ll post them.


  43. Nathan on July 7th, 2008


    Currently we have the form receiving confirmation from the server when the form is submitted and received. Right now I think the only thing I could do is to have a message box pop up after submitting stating if they don’t receive the confirmation message after a set time to check their connections and try again or call the office to verify the submission.



  44. Pumice T on July 17th, 2008


    I’m not sure if your 2-button method is overkill for my need. All I want to be able to do is if a check box is checked, the user must fill in a text field. You see it all the time on paper “[ ] No [ ] Yes If yes, explain: _________”

    How can I do this in LiveCycle? Does this REALLY require scripting, or am I missing some simple setting somewhere? Odd as it may seem, this topic doesn’t come up with many results when searching the Web for an answer.

    Thanks for any answer you have for this seemingly simple validation!


  45. Stefan Cameron on July 20th, 2008

    Pumice T,

    Unfortunately, you’ll need to use a little script to mark the text field as “required” when then “yes” checkbox is checked and “optional” when it’s not checked. In the “yes” checkbox, put the following script (using the Script Editor palette) in the Click event in JavaScript:

    if (this.rawValue == "1")
        TextField1.mandatory = "error"; // make the text field required
        TextField1.mandatory = "disabled"; // make the text field optional

    where “TextField1” is the name of the text field that should be required when the “yes” checkbox is checked.

    With the explanation field marked as “required” (or “mandatory”), an attempt to submit the form without filling this field will cause Acrobat/Reader to issue an error message to the user indicating that a required field is empty and must be filled.

  46. Thomas Laursen on July 30th, 2008

    Great site, very helpful already. If I may ask a question of my own please. Using LC 8.0 and have a simple issue but am stumped. The form is filled in by the user, they click a button to submit it to an email address, the recipient gets the email with the pdf attached. Works fine. However, I need the recipient to be unable to edit/delete the form field’s data, simply open/close/view/print only.

    Is there an onsubmit script to flatten or lock/readonly everything?

    Thanks in advance.

  47. Stefan Cameron on August 5th, 2008

    Thomas Laursen,

    First, you need to have a way to remember if the form should be disabled or not. I suggest you use a hidden checkbox that you can set in the PreSubmit event. You would then have an Initialize script on the root subform (named “form1” by default, located at the top of the tree in the Hierarchy palette) to check the value of that checkbox. If it’s “1”, then disable the form. Otherwise, do nothing:

    if (hiddenCheckBox.rawValue == "1")
        // disable the form

    So how do you “disable the form”? If you’re using the latest release of Designer and Acrobat, you can do this easily by disabling the root subform:

    this.access = "readOnly";

    That will disable all fields in the form in one shot. If you’re using Designer/Acrobat 8.1 or earlier, you’ll have to write a script that “walks” through the form and disables each field individually. You can use my Process All Fields script to do that.

  48. Lisa on June 16th, 2009

    Hi Stefan.
    I have, maybe, a stupid problem, but I can’t solve it alone. I need to check if all mandatory fields have been filled in, but the users who have to fill data in the form, will not have to send the filled form via mail, or submit to a specific URL. Therefore I can’t place a submit button on the form, but I need neverthless a check proving that all the mandatory fields have benn filled in.
    Thanks in advance

  49. Stefan Cameron on June 22nd, 2009


    What are the users doing with the form that you still have to validate that they have filled all mandatory fields? Are they printing the filled form? If so, you can prevent printing if there are un-filled mandatory fields.

  50. Rick on August 6th, 2009

    Hi Stefan ,

    Great work.Just a small help required.Actually i want that all the error messages are displayed in a single window for the mandatory fields check,when the user try to save the form.I had made a function which is being called by the fields at their pre save event for the mandatory check and all the error messages are been taken into a global array and displayed.But the problem is that the error message window is displayed only when the form is saved for the first time and subsequently no mandatory check up is done.What might be the issue with my logic or you can provide any other pointers that how all the error messages can be displayed in a single window in the end ?

    Thanks in advance

  51. Stefan Cameron on August 18th, 2009


    I tried creating a simple XFA 2.8 (targetting Acrobat 9) form in which I placed a text field with a PreSave event on it. This even is executed every time a change is made to the form and the form is saved, in Acrobat/Reader 9. Are you using earlier versions of these applications?

    Also, in XFA 3.0, significant changes have been made to the form validation notification mechanism such that you can, in effect, have all “invalid field” messages automatically reported in a single message box.

    You can also prevent the user from saving the form if a mandatory field isn’t filled in Acrobat/Reader 8.0+.