Help with InDesign Forms

Hi! I’m just diving in to the Forms & Buttons tool in InDesign and my employer needs two different drop downs–the second’s choices need to depend on what is selected for the first. Does that make sense?

Has anyone done anything similar and know how to format this?

Attempting to design functional forms using only InDesign’s features will be an ongoing exercise in frustration. The kind of dependency you describe is possible, but only by using the show/hide functions. This brings a list of inevitable pitfalls into play. A couple examples:

  1. Accounting for the possibility of users engaging fields in a different order than intended (and they surely will), quickly becomes quite the entanglement. Inevitably, a user will break that dependency by running it backwards and producing an unwanted result.
  2. Even if you overcome #1, forms built only on InDesign features are notorious for failing (one way or another) in software other than Adobe Reader/Acrobat for desktop. Browser plugins, mobile-platform readers, etc., all pose problems.

The only reliable way to make PDF forms work is to install all the “interactive” field functions in Acrobat Pro using Javascript. Even then, the range of viable platforms is limited.

Along with @HotButton excellent advice.

The PDF forms will only work correctly in Adobe Reader - considering the world is a mobile place and there’s so many devices and readers, like Chrome Reader, Foxit reader, Samsung PDF reader, Apples own preview, and that’s only touching on a few.

These 3rd Party PDF readers; (as Adobe is the author of the PDF format - then all other readers are by default 3rd party readers); do not conform to all the PDF modules available to them. They are in a way - very basic PDF readers.

You are much better off building a web page.
Or use prebuilt templates in Survey Monkey or other online tools already available.

You might be able to do what you want with the InDesign tools and PDF tools - but it’s rudimentary and not implemented well at all at a functional level it’s pretty basic from Adobe.

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