Designing Forms with InDesign? Acrobat’s Replace Pages Feature is at Your Service.
Along with anyone else who has to design PDF forms, one of my feature requests for InDesign CS5 is the ability to add form fields directly in InDesign. While we live and hope for that to happen, we can take some solace in Acrobat’s automated forms wizard which does an admirable job of automating the task. Of course, the feature is not perfect and usually requires some manual tweaking.
But what happens when you send the form to a client to review and he/she comes back with a couple of minor changes? These would be real easy if the form fields were in InDesign but they’re not. They’ve been added to the PDF in Acrobat and when you change the artwork, you need to start all over again….or do you?
When I first started doing these types of projects I was always afraid that I’d get the project done and then discover a typo or have to make a change. That, I thought, meant redoing work in Acrobat.
And that’s when I got one of those “there has to be a better way” moments. And so, I found out, there was. The secret is in Acrobat’s Document menu and it’s the Replace Pages command. Even if you’ve created buttons or form fields you can still generate a new PDF of the page with a problem and then simply use that command to replace that page.
After selecting the command just browse to the file containing the revised artwork and tell Acrobat which page to replace.
Any interactive or form elements will remain in place, but the InDesign generated page will be replaced. Of course, if you had to move a field on the form, you’ll have to drag that form field into its new position, but that’s a lot less work than having to redo the form from scratch.