Creating a PDF Form with Scribus
From Scribus Documentation Project
A Demonstration Form
Let's envision that we want to do a brief survey by collecting some basic biographical information, then some various opinions and other kinds of information.
We'll plan on collecting this information:
- The person's name
- City, Country
- Then ask them to make a series of choices
Here is the beginning of our form. The frames outlined in black containing text are regular text frames. The others are special text frames called Text Fields, obtained by selecting text field from the drop-down list in the menu bar. PDF form elements will not be found in the menus. For visual simplicity, we have kept the background plain, but depending on your preference, you might choose to use a grid or guides to assist with placement and alignment of these frames. A text field will be used to allow for filling out the space freely from the keyboard, rather than supplying choices.
Combo Box and List Box
In many ways a Combo Box is similar to a List Box, so these will be described together here. Each allows you to choose an item from a list of choices, although the way these are displayed is somewhat different. A Combo Box will show only one choice regardless of its height as the default. In contrast, a List Box will show as many as can be seen for the height of the frame.
Unlike the PDF Fields mentioned thus far, you will see the contents of these boxes in Scribus. Create them to the desired height and width, then use Story Editor to make the list of choices, each on a separate line. After saving and closing Story Editor, now bring up the PDF Options > Field Properties dialog as we have before.
|Here we see how the Combo Box appears in Adobe Reader after clicking the drop-down button. It may make more sense to use a Combo Box when the list of choices is long and especially when very different from one another, or for some other reason you want to be able to see all at once.|
Although Button is the top choice in the Insert PDF Fields list, we're mentioning it last, since in many cases it will be something you click on after you have filled in or selected choices in other form elements.
Let's focus on a particular type of button, a Submit button. Here we see this as one of the choices in the Action tab:
You can have your button say anything you like, but usually something simple works best.
|When you select Submit Form, you then need to enter the URL where your data will be sent. On the receiving end, you must have some way, such as a PHP file, to accept the information from the form.|
If your system is set up properly, you can alternatively enter mailto:, then an email address for sending the information from the form.
In some cases, as shown here, you will want to check Submit Data as HTML. If you do not check this, the data will be sent in Adobe's FDF format. When submitting to a URL, your PHP file will need to be able to handle the appropriate data format. In either case, Adobe Reader must allow transmission of data, and the receiving site must allow for reception of this information.
One thing you will not be able to do with a PDF form generated by Scribus is to save the data directly from Adobe Reader.
You can, however, simply print the completed form on a local printer.