Fillable Worksheets: Edit Form Field Properties

Once you’ve added text fields, each form field may be formatted to meet your specific needs. In order to edit the form field properties for a field:

  1. Click on the field. (Once a field is selected, the outline will be blue instead of black.)
  2. To access the properties, right click on the field and choose Properties. (Alternatively, you may double click in the field or use the keyboard shortcut Control + I.)

Form field right click option highlighting Properties option3. Once you’re in the Text Field Properties, you may make adjustments to options in the various tabs. (For the purposes of a worksheet with text fields, we’ll adjust options in the General, Appearance and Options tabs.)

Text Field Properties dialog box

General Tab

Name is the title that appears in the field editing mode and the Fields list. It’s useful to track the order in which the field appears in the document when checking for accessibility and/or tab order. The end user does not see it.

  1. Set a Name. (Something more meaningful to you than the default, which will be something like “Text1.” Be sure to be specific. If you have multiple Names that are the same, it will enter that text for every text box with the same Name.)

Tooltip is the text that appears when the cursor hovers over the field. Screen readers can read the text in the Tooltip, so to be sure the field is identified properly by the end user, add contextual text, field name and any applicable constraints.

  1. Add a Tooltip.

Text Field Properties dialog box, General Tab with Name and Tooltip highlighted(Note: While the Properties dialog box is open, you may click on another field to edit its properties without having to close and reopen Properties each time.)

Appearance Tab

  1. Select a readable font size – 12 is usually good. (If you don’t select a size, the Auto option will resize the text as more is entered, and this may create text too small to read.)
  2. Select a readable font. (Some fonts behave strangely with the multi-line option in the Options Tab. The default in Acrobat is Helvetica which should be fine.)

Text Field Properties dialog box, Appearance Tab Note: If you wish to have a border around your text field, you may add one by using the options in the Borders and Colors area.

Options Tab

  1. Check the Check spelling
  2. Especially for longer, or “taller,” fields, check the Multi-line option in order to accommodate more text. (If you don’t check this option, the end user will only be able to add one line of text even if the physical size of the text field is larger. Some fonts don’t work properly with the Multi-line option, so just use the default font, Helvetica, in the Appearance Tab.)
  3. Uncheck the Scroll long text option. (This option is often checked by default, but if you leave it checked, you may not be able to see all of the text entered by the end user, especially if the PDF is printed.)

Text Field Properties dialog box, Options tab, highlighting Check spelling and Multi-lineNote: Be sure to create a large enough text box for each of your questions. To adjust the size, click on the field, and drag the box over and or down to the desired size.

Sample selected text field\Next week, we’ll learn how to make sure the order of your fields matches the logical reading order.

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