Sunday, November 23, 2014

Acrobat -- Create Cascading Dropdowns

Direct purchase using PayPal ($75 only per license)!

This new tool is similar to my Acrobat -- Create Dependent Dropdowns tool, but it offers a more powerful functionality: Using it you can create a set of "cascading" drop-down fields, where the selection in the first field filters the values of the second field, which in turn filters the values in the third field, etc.

The desired "cascading" effect
This allows you to represent a complex data structure in a simple and easy-to-use way for the end-user of the file, who is not presented with thousands of items, only with those relevant for their selection.
This tool sets it all up for you. And you can use it multiple times in the same file, on as many fields as you like!

So how does it work?
We start with our source data, like this Excel file that contains information of various products, divided into Department, then Prefix, Category, Part Number and finally Suffix.

(click to enlarge)
If the user selects the "PLIF STD" department, for example, we want to then only show those Prefixes that are relevant for that department in the next drop-down.

So we save our data source as a tab-delimited text file (this can be done directly in Excel):

We then open a PDF file and add drop-down fields that match the names of the columns from our Excel file:

We use the "Create Cascading Dropdowns" button that the script added to the Tools menu in Acrobat to run it, and are asked to select the input text file:

The script embeds the into the PDF (as a file attachment) and applies the scripts required to make it work:

We can now see that the Department drop-down contains all the (unique) values from the Department column:

And when we make a selection that filters the next fields:

Until eventually we select a unique record:

 And we're done!

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

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Acrobat -- Mass Edit Fields Actions

Direct purchase using PayPal ($60 only per license)!

Special Offer: Both Mass Edit Fields tools for only $90 (instead of $120)!

Update (01/11/2015): You can now apply the Calculate, Format, Keystroke and Validate events to not-text fields as well.

Similar to my other tool to set the various properties of multiple fields in a file (Acrobat -- Mass Edit Fields Properties), this tool allows you to set a JavaScript action that is associated with a specific trigger with multiple fields in a single process.

You select the relevant fields and then one of the following triggers and assign a JS action to them quickly and easily:
  • Mouse Down
  • Mouse Enter
  • Mouse Exit
  • Mouse Up
  • On Blur
  • On Focus
  • Calculate
  • Format
  • Keystroke
  • Validate
 Here's how it's used. We have a file with various fields in it that we want to edit. We click one of the buttons of the script in the Tools panel on the right:

(click to enlarge)
 In this first instances we select the All Fields option and are presented with this list of the field-names in the file:

After having selected the fields we want to edit we clicked on Continue and are then presented with this dialog window, where we select the trigger and enter the action code we want to use. In this case we want an error message to appear whenever the user exits the field, if it's empty:

The script has processed the fields successfully and presents us with this dialog when it's done:

Now we want to run it again, but this time edit only text fields. So we click on the other button in the Tools menu and are presented with a list of just those fields. We select the ones we want to process, just like before, and click on Continue:

This time there are more options in the actions drop-down menu. We select the "Calculate" action and enter a code that will make sure the fields show the current date:

The fields have been successfully edited and we're done!

If you have any questions about this tool, you can contact me directly.