Parts of a form design

You create a form design by dragging objects from the Library palette onto one or more pages in the Layout Editor and working in the Object palette to modify the properties specific to the object you select. The object that you select determines which tabs are available in the Object palette. Many other palettes are available that contain specific properties that you may want to change. For example, you can use the Font palette to change the font family, size, and style of text in a selected object.

You place the objects you want in the form design on pages. If you want an object to appear on each page of the form design, you place it on a master page. For example, you can include a logo, watermark, or introductory information that always appears in the same location on each page of the form design.

The following key components make up a form design:

  • Master pages

  • Pages

  • Content areas

  • Subforms

  • Fields

  • Boilerplate objects

Form design elements are displayed in the Hierarchy palette.

Designer automatically generates XML source code for each object as you build the form design. Because Designer automatically generates the XML source code for you, you can create form designs without having any knowledge about XML.

Master pages

Every form design contains at least one master page that Designer creates automatically. Master pages are designated to format pages, and they help to facilitate design consistency because they can provide a background and layout format for more than one page in a form design.

You can use the supplied master page to format pages, edit the master page’s settings, or add additional master pages if needed. If you are creating a simple interactive form, you would probably use the supplied master page without changing its settings.

At the very least, master pages define the orientation and dimensions of pages. You can use master pages to define these aspects of a form design:

  • Page size and orientation

  • Headers and footers

  • Watermarks and company logos

Each master page is created with a default content area that covers the whole page. You can add text, images, and other boilerplate objects to a master page. These objects are displayed on all of the pages that the master page formats. (See Using master pages .)

Note: Text fields, numeric fields, and date/time fields on master pages will not be interactive on Acrobat 6-compatible forms. Users cannot modify the associated data in these fields.

You manipulate master pages in the Master Pages tab.


Pages represent the pages of a form. Each page derives its size and orientation from a master page and, by default, each page is associated with the default master page that Designer creates. Each page is created with a default subform that covers the whole page. (See Setting up pages .)

If your form design contains more than one master page, you can choose which master page to assign to a page. (See Using master pages .)

You work with pages in the Design View tab.

Content areas

Content areas define where objects can be placed on pages. When you design a form, you cannot place an object on a page unless it is inside the area bounded by a content area.You can add content areas to master pages only.

Whenever you create a new master page, Designer creates a default content area on the master page.

A form design that has a fixed layout will typically contain one content area. A form design that contains sections that adjust to accommodate data can have one or more content areas. You can specify whether the objects in each content area should be positioned from top to bottom, or from left to right and top to bottom. (See Using content areas .)


Subforms are container objects that you can use to group form design objects, including fields, boilerplate objects, and other subforms. When they are grouped, you can control whether the subform and the grouped objects appear on your form based on data bindings that you configure for your form. You can also configure subform objects to be repeatable, which lets you have multiple instances of a single subform and its grouped objects appear on your form. This allows you to create more flexible and adaptable form designs.

Subforms are essential when creating forms that contain sections that expand to accommodate data because they provide the dynamic capabilities to be visible, to remain hidden, and to grow, all in response to data and user interaction at run time. (See Subform .)


Tables are essentially structured container objects that you can use to organize your form design content in meaningful, logical ways. Each cell of a table is a separate container capable of storing form design objects. (See Using tables .)

Tables are very similar to subforms in terms of functionality and behavior. Like subforms, tables can be dynamic, which means they can repeat and grow in response to data and user interaction at run time. (See Subform .)

Field objects

Designer provides a number of field objects that are capable of capturing, merging, and displaying data. A field object provides a data-entry region, and users can interact with field objects by entering or selecting an associated data value. (See About Objects .)

The following objects are field objects:

  • Button

  • Check box

  • Date/time field

  • Decimal field

  • Signature Field

  • Drop-down list

  • Email Submit button

  • HTTP Submit button

  • Image field

  • List box

  • Numeric field

  • Paper Forms Barcode

  • Password field

  • Print button

  • Radio button

  • Text field

Boilerplate or static objects

Boilerplate or static objects are read-only objects that improve the aesthetic appeal of a form and may provide context or assistance for users. They can be added to pages or master pages. (See About Objects .)

The following objects are boilerplate objects:

  • Circle

  • Image

  • Line

  • Rectangle

  • Text

// Ethnio survey code removed