Thursday, June 21, 2012

Acrobat -- Apply Format to Multiple Text Fields

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If you've ever created forms in Acrobat then you've probably encountered the frustrating inability to set multiple fields to have the same Format settings. When you select multiple fields and go to their Properties, the Format tab is simply not there, which means you have to edit each one manually, an exhausting and time-wasting process.

New feature: You can now select to list either all of the fields in the document, or just those on the current page. This is helpful when you have files with large amounts of fields and you only wish to process some of them.

When selecting multiple fields, the Format tab is not available

This annoyance has prompted me to create this new tool which allows you to set the Format settings for multiple fields easily and automatically.

When you first launch the tool you're prompted to select which type of format to apply. The options are:
  • Number
  • Percentage
  • Date
  • Time
  • Special
  • None

(click to enlarge)

After selecting one of these options, you'll be presented with a list of all the text fields in the file. Select the ones you wish to format (you can select multiple fields using the Ctrl and Shift keys), and then press Continue.

(click to enlarge)

If you didn't select None (which simply removes any current Format settings), you'll now be presented with a window where you can specify the specific options for the selected format, identical to those available in the built-in Format tab.

For the Number format you can specify:
  • The number of decimal digits
  • The separator style of the number
  • Whether or not to include a currency symbol, and which one (including the option for a custom symbol, and if that symbols should appear before or after the amount)
  • How to display a negative number

The number format dialog

For the Percentage format, you can specify:
  • The number of decimal digits
  • The separator style of the number

The percentage format dialog

For the Date and Time formats you can specify the format that will be used, either from a list or using your own custom format.

The date format dialog

The time format dialog

For the Special format you can either select one of the pre-defined masks, or specify your own.

The special format dialog

In this case I've used the Number format and specified 2 decimal digits, a standard separator style ("1,234.56") and the Dollar as the currency symbol to be used.
The result is that the selected fields now have this formatting:

(click to enlarge)

Using this tool can save you hours of tedious and boring work, and will make sure you have a consistent, error-free form.

For more information about this tool you can contact me directly.