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Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro

PDF Forms: Working with Combo Boxes

Combo boxes present a list of items in a drop-down menu for users to choose from or allow the user to enter their own values. Combo boxes also use less space in a form than list boxes. This document shows you how to create and delete combo boxes in your PDF form.

return to topConsiderations

Combo Box Characteristics

Understanding Names and Export Values

When combo boxes are used in online forms, they allow the user to select an answer from a drop-down menu or type in their own answer.

The name for the form field indicates what type of information you are prompting the user for or identifies what question you are asking the user. For example, a combo box that has choices to the same question about planets may have the name "planets."

The item label for the choices is the text the user sees when selecting an item from your list.

The value of the form field identifies what option the user selected from the list. If you do not complete this text box, the export value will be the same as the item label. For example, the option "saturn" allows a user to answer "saturn" in response to a question regarding planets. By default, the export value would be "saturn."

When a user submits the form, the value of the combo box field will be matched with the name of the combo box field. The information the form developer receives will look like this: name: value

EXAMPLE: planet: saturn

return to topCreating Combo Boxes

Combo boxes are used to give users a choice from a list or to enter their own value.

Inserting a Combo Box

  1. Open the PDF file that you will use for the form

  2. From the Forms menu, select Add or Edit Fields...

  3. From the Add New Field pull-down menu, select Show Tools on Toolbar
    The Forms toolbar appears.
    Forms toolbar

  4. Click COMBO BOX TOOLCombo Box tool
    HINT: The cursor changes to a cross hairs. The cross hairs allow you to align the field with the ruler, text, or another field.

  5. Position the cursor where you want the form field to begin 

  6. Click and drag the mouse until the form field is of the desired size
    To create a form field of the default size, double click on the page
    The Field Name entry box appears.
    Field Name entry box

  7. In the Field Name text box, type a name that identifies the combo box
    NOTE: For combo boxes, the Field Name should describe the information requested.

  8. To edit additional properties of this form field, click SHOW ALL PROPERTIES
    The Combo Box Properties dialog box appears.
    Combo Box Properties dialog box: Appearance tab

  9. Select the General tab

  10. OPTIONAL: In the Tooltip text box, type a comment about the combo box
    NOTE: The Tooltip will appear when the hand tool is placed over the combo box.

  11. Select the Appearance tab

  12. In the Borders and Colors section, from the Border Color box, select a color for the border of the combo box

  13. From the Fill Color box, select the color to fill the combo box

  14. In the Text section, from the Font Size pull-down list, select a font size

  15. From the Text Color box, select the desired color

  16. From the Font pull-down list, select a font for the text in the combo box

  17. Select the Options tab
    Combo Box Properties dialog box: Options tab

  18. In the Item text box, type the name of an item to appear in the combo box

  19. In the Export Value text box, type an export value for the item
    For combo boxes, Export Value indicates the option selected by the user in response to the question.
    If this text box is left blank, the export value is the same as the Item.

  20. Click ADD

  21. To add additional items to the combo box, repeat steps 18 through 20 until all of the items are entered

  22. For additional options, select the checkboxes corresponding to the desired options

    Option Features
    Sort Items Sorts the items automatically numerically and alphabetically
    Allow User to Enter Custom Text Allows the user to enter their own text
    Check Spelling Spell-checks the information entered by the user, not the items you enter into the list
    Commit Selected Value Immediately Saves the value as soon as the user enters it. Without this option, the values are saved when the user moves to another form field or submits the form
    Locked If this box is checked, changes can't be made to your page. This can prevent accidental changes.

  23. Click CLOSE
    The combo box is created. For information on changing the appearance, size, or alignment of form fields, refer to Modifying Form Fields.

return to topDeleting Combo Boxes

If you create a combo box and later decide it is not necessary, the following steps can be taken to remove it:

  1. From the Forms menu, select Add or Edit Fields...
    The Forms toolbar appears.
    Forms toolbar

  2. Select the combo box you wish to delete
    The combo box appears with red highlights when selected.

  3. Press [Delete]
    From the Edit menu, select Delete

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