Skip to main content
Important COVID-19 updates   READ MORE »

(Archives) Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro: PDF Forms: Working with Combo Boxes

Last updated

This article is based on legacy software.

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.


Combo Box Characteristics

  • Only one choice is displayed at a time in the combo box. Additional choices are revealed by clicking the pull-down arrow. pull down arrow
  • Users can make only one selection from a combo box.
    NOTE: Below is an example of a combo box.

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

Creating 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 Tool. combo 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

  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

  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.
    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.

Deleting 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.

Was this article helpful? Yes No

View / Print PDF