Pro-Form | PFEX19810.0 | Acrobat XI Pro Accessible Forms and Interactive Documents

Acrobat XI Pro Accessible Forms and Interactive Documents
Adobe Acrobat XI Accessibility Accessible PDF Forms
Acrobat XI Pro Accessible Forms and Interactive
Documents
Contents
2
Types of interactive PDF Form
Fields
2
Automatic Field Detection
using the Acrobat Form Wizard
5
Creating a Form without the
Forms Wizard
6
Forms Editing Mode
6
Selecting a New Form Field to
Create
8
Form Field Properties
9
Setting Tooltips for Form
Fields
11 Editing or Modifying an
Existing Form Field
Create interactive forms that can be used by anyone, ensuring
privacy and independence for all
Adobe Acrobat XI Pro’s form creation tools make it simple to create interactive
form fields that are accessible to users with disabilities, including those with
visual impairments and mobility impairments. This is typically achieved by adding
properly structured fillable fields to the PDF file, setting a tab order to control a
logical sequence, and by adding tooltips to fields providing an accessible label and
instructions to users of assistive technology.
To determine if a PDF document should be an interactive form, examine the file
for the presence of form fields, or areas in the document where users are asked
to provide information that you would like to collect. If the form contains these
qualities, the document can be made electronically fillable, allowing users to
complete the form online. Many people with disabilities can fill out electronic forms
unassisted, which is a huge advantage over print forms. An accessible electronic form
can provide privacy, security, and independence to users with disabilities.
There are several items to be aware of when creating accessible electronic forms.
Specifically, authors must provide:
11
Deleting a Form Field
12
Field Actions
12
Validation and Error Messages
•
accessible and on-screen labels
12
Set the Tab Order
•
instructions (including field constraints and requirements)
13 Provide Instructions and
On-screen Labels
•
a logical tab order
•
no keyboard traps or non-user initiated changes in focus
•
error identification and suggestions (when known)
•
error prevention for legal or financial information
13 Other Accessibility
Considerations
These must be provided in a way that is available to all users, including those using
assistive technology. For example, using the Tooltip property value, it is possible
to add text to a check box on an RSVP that users can use to indicate their intention
to attend an awards dinner. The tooltip could be set to “I plan to attend the awards
dinner” which will be announced to someone who is blind or visually impaired via
a screen reader. When form objects are used in Acrobat, the object’s type (such
as Check Box), and state (checked or unchecked) will also be exposed to assistive
technologies. This document describes the various types of form objects and
provides implementation strategies for accessibility in electronic forms.
Note: The techniques in this document are limited to the accessibility issues
involved with creating form fields with the Acrobat XI Pro form tools.
For a more detailed discussion of PDF forms including forms created
with the Adobe LiveCycle Designer or the Adobe Digital Enterprise
Platform Designer, refer to the Acrobat XI Pro online help.
Adobe FormsCentral (https://formscentral.acrobat.com) is another option for
creating accessible online forms to collect responses.
Types of interactive PDF Form Fields
A PDF form created with Adobe Acrobat XI Pro’s forms editing tools can contain the following types of fields:
Text field
Allows the user to type in text, such as name, address, or phone number.
Check box
Presents yes-or-no choices for individual items. If the form contains
multiple check boxes, the user can typically select as many or few of these
as needed.
Radio button
Presents a group of choices from which the user can select only
one item from the group. All radio buttons with the same name work
together as a group.
List box
Displays a list of options the user can select. List boxes have a field
property that lets the user Shift-click or Control-click to select multiple
items on the list.
Combo box
Allows the user either choose an item from a pop-up menu or type in a
value.
Button
Initiates a change on the user’s computer, such as opening a file,
playing a sound, or submitting data to a web server. These buttons can
be customized with images, text, and visual changes triggered by mouse
actions. Action buttons are different from radio buttons, which represent
data choices made by the user.
Digital signature field
Allows the user to electronically sign a PDF document with a digital
signature.
Barcode
Encodes the input form selected fields and displays it as a visual
pattern that can be interpreted by decoding software or hardware
(available separately).
Automatic Field Detection using the Acrobat Form Wizard
The Form Wizard in Adobe Acrobat XI Pro can be used to create interactive forms from an
existing electronic document (for example a Word, PDF, or Excel document) or from a paper
form that was placed in a scanner with the resulting image opened in Acrobat. Authors can also
create forms manually in Acrobat, or individually add form fields to an existing document using
the form tools.
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Acrobat’s automatic form field detection will attempt to locate any labels that are adjacent to
the form field (text, check box, etc.) and use any labels it finds as the source for the accessible
label (the form field tooltip in Acrobat). A form element and form objects for each field will be
created in the Tags pane as part of this process. Examine the document carefully to verify that
Acrobat accurately detected the fields and labeled them properly.
To make an electronic form fillable with the wizard:
1. Display the Forms Pane
Select View Menu > Tools > Forms (The keyboard accelerator sequence
for displaying the Forms Task Pane is Alt + V + T + F)
Figure 1. Figure 1. Create Form Command in the Forms Task Pane
2. Select the Create command
The Keyboard Shortcut is Shift + Ctrl + 7.
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3. The Create Form dialog is displayed
Figure 2. Acrobat X Pro Create or Edit Form Dialog
Acrobat XI Pro Create Form Dialog
From the Create Form Dialog, select one of the following options and then follow the on-screen
instructions.
Use an existing file
This option converts an existing electronic document (for example Word or
PDF) to an interactive PDF form. To use the document that is currently on
display, select “Next” and the “Use the current document” option. Select
“Next” again. Acrobat automatically searches for and creates any form
fields it detects, and places the document in Form Editing Mode. (Refer to
“Figure 3. Adobe Acrobat XI Forms Editing Mode” on page 5).
Scan a paper form
This scans a paper form and converts it to a PDF form. The form will be
scanned, converted to PDF and Acrobat will search for and create any
form fields it detects. The form is placed in Form Editing Mode (Refer to
“Figure 3. Adobe Acrobat XI Forms Editing Mode” on page 5).
Create a form from scratch or using a template
This creates an Online Form using Adobe FormsCentral. Adobe
FormsCentral provides a simple interface to create interactive forms for
collecting data online. FormsCentral is not addressed in this document.
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When either the “Use an Existing File” or “Scan a paper form” option is chosen, Acrobat XI Pro
analyzes the document, adds any detected form fields, and puts the document in Forms Editing
Mode. The document will look similar to what is shown in “Figure 3. Acrobat XI Pro Forms
Editing Mode” below. From here, you can add, edit or delete the automatically created form
fields.
Figure 3. Acrobat XI Pro Forms Editing Mode
During form field detection, Acrobat may have missed some fields, or created unnecessary ones.
It may also have created fields of the wrong type. Verify the fields and field names on the form.
Add New Field on the Forms Editing toolbar can be used to add more fields. You can also rightclick on the form to add, edit, or delete fields.
Creating a Form without the Forms Wizard
Form Editing Mode can also be enabled without using the Form Creation Wizard.
1. Select View Menu > Tools > Forms and select the Edit command under
the Forms Tool Pane
The Keyboard shortcut is Shift + Ctrl 7.
2. The Add or Edit Form Fields dialog is displayed if form fields have not
been added to this document.
Figure 4. Acrobat XI Pro Add or Edit Form Fields Dialog
Answering “Yes” to the Add or Edit Form Fields dialog question “Do you want Acrobat to detect
form fields for you?” causes the automatic detection of form fields prior to placing the document
in Form Editing Mode. This is the same as running the Form Wizard.
Acrobat will analyze the document, add detected form fields and put the PDF form in Forms
Editing Mode. From there, you can edit the automatically created fields or add new ones. (Refer
to “Forms Editing Mode” on page 6.)
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During form field detection, Acrobat may have missed some fields, or created unnecessary ones.
It may also have created fields of the wrong type. Verify the fields and field names on the form.
Add New Field on the Forms Editing toolbar can be used to add more fields. You can also rightclick on the form to add, edit, or delete fields.
Answering “No” to the Add or Edit Form Fields dialog question “Do you want Acrobat to detect
form fields for you?” also places the document in Form Editing mode, but does not create form
fields automatically. Form fields will have to be added manually.
Create Form Fields Manually
If you answer “No” to “Do you want Acrobat to detect Form Fields for you?” (Refer to “Figure 2.
Acrobat XI Pro Create or Edit Form Dialog” on page 4), the document enters Forms Editing
Mode without automatically creating any fields.
To add new form fields to the PDF, select one of the options from the Add New Field drop-down
menu that presents the eight possible Acrobat field types.
Forms Editing Mode
In Forms Editing Mode, you can add, edit or delete any existing form object.
The Acrobat XI user interface changes when in Forms Editing Mode (Refer to “Figure 3. Adobe
Acrobat XI Forms Editing Mode” on page 5). The Forms Editing Toolbar appears and provides
access to the Select Object tool, the Add New Field buttons for each field type, and the Form
Preview button. On the right hand side of the Forms Editing Toolbar, beneath the Tasks pane,
the Add New Field, Distribute, Track, and Other Tasks commands are displayed. The Fields
pane shows any interactive fields that are currently part of the form. You can exit this mode by
selecting the Close Forms Editing button above the Tasks pane.
Selecting a New Form Field to Create
In Acrobat XI Pro, a form field can be created by choosing one of the form tools. For each field
type, it is possible to set a variety of options through the form field Properties dialog box.
The forms tools can be accessed in one of three ways:
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•
Select “Add New Field” under the task pane.
Figure 5. Acrobat XI Add New Field Command
•
Select one of the commands from the Forms toolbar that appears below
the Acrobat XI Pro menubar.
Figure 6. Acrobat XI Forms Tools Icons
•
Right click over the form to add new fields.
Figure 7. Adobe Acrobat XI Right Click Forms Dialog
Positioning and Naming the New Form Field
Once a form tool has been selected, a crosshair cursor appears, and a blue region defines the
outline of the form object selected for placement.
Adobe Acrobat XI Accessibility Accessible PDF Forms
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•
n the page, click where the field is to be added. A field with a default
O
size. To create a field using a custom size, drag a rectangle to set the
dimensions of the field.
•
I n the Field Name box, type the name of the field. Select a name that
is relevant and descriptive to make organizing and collecting the data
easier. This name is not shown to users of the form.
Figure 8. Field Name Box
To test the form, select the Preview button at the top of the document window. Preview lets
you view a form the way a form recipient would, and gives the author a chance to verify the
appearance and behavior of the form. If a form is being previewed, click the Edit Layout button
to return to Forms Editing Mode.
Next, set the accessible name for the field. This is how the field will be announced by assistive
technology. Other properties such as required field notation can also be set here.
Note: If the “Keep Tool Selected” option is checked in the forms toolbar, the Field
Name box doesn’t appear after adding a field. Each time the page is clicked,
a new field is added to the form. To exit this mode, press the Esc key or click
the Select Object Tool button. To modify the properties of a field, double-click
it.
Form Field Properties
How a form field behaves is determined by settings in the Properties dialog box for that
individual field. Properties can be set that apply formatting, determine how the form field
information relates to other form fields, impose limitations on what the user can enter in the
form field, trigger custom scripts, and so forth.
To modify a field’s properties, right-click it (or select and then press the Application key).
A variety of properties can be set for an Acrobat form field, depending on the form field type.
The properties for each type of form field are selected on a series of tabs. When a property is
changed, it is applied as soon as another property is selected or when Enter is pressed.
All form field types have a General tab, Appearance tab, and an Actions tab. Other tabs appear
only in specific types of form fields. The Options tab appears for most form field types, but the
options available are unique to each type of form field.
You can leave the Properties dialog box open if you want to change multiple fields at once.
Setting Tooltips for Form Fields
The tooltip field on the General tab of the field properties dialog is the most important item for
form fields. The content of the tooltip will be announced by screen readers as the accessible
name of the field. This property provides the user with information and instructions about the
field. Tooltips should be short and descriptive and should not include the type of field or text
such as “Click to enter”. For example, “First Name” would be a good tooltip for a first name
field and “Sign-up Date (2 digit month / 2 digit day / 4 digit year) would be a good name for a
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“Sign up date” field that had a required field format. The City field for a group of shipping field
would need to include the group name as well as the on-screen label, “Ship to City” or “Shipping
Address City”. (Refer to “Figure 9. Adding a Tooltip to a Form Field” on page 9).
Note: Note: The tooltip also displays text that users may find helpful in filling in the form
field. Tooltips appear when the pointer hovers briefly over the form field.
To set the tooltip property of a form field:
1. Ensure Forms mode is active
Activate Forms Tool > Edit
2. Ensure that the Select Object tool is selected from the toolbar
3. Open the field properties dialog
•
Double-click a selected form field; or
•
Right click or select and press the applications key and select
properties; or
•
Select the desired field and press the shortcut keystroke (Control+I)
4. Enter a short and concise label into the tooltip field.
The tooltip should provide any group label for a group of fields along
with the field’s label (refer to the special instructions for radio button
groups in the next section Tooltips for Radio Buttons).
Figure 9. Adding a Tooltip to a Form Field
Tooltips for Radio Buttons
To create a radio button group, where only one field can be selected at a time, assign each field
the same name and the same tooltip, but provide different Button Choices (values). The radio
button choice is a field in the Options tab of the Radio Button Properties dialog. The tooltip and
button value will be announced to users of assistive technology for each radio button. When the
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same radio button name is assigned to a radio button, the tooltip field should automatically be
populated with the tooltip text from the other radio buttons in the group. (Refer to “Figure 10.
Identical Name and Tool Tip Value for a Radio Button Group” on page 10).
For example, create a radio button group that asks the question, “Conference Pass”.
Create four radio buttons. For each button, choose to give the button the identical name,
“Conference_Pass.” For each radio button, the identical text appears in the Tooltip field, such as
“Conference Pass”
Figure 10. Setting Identical Name and Tool Tip Value for a Radio Button Group
For the button next to the label indicating “1-day Pass”, enter “1-day Pass” in the Radio Button
Choice field under the options tab in the Radio Button Properties dialog.
Figure 11. Setting the Radio Button Choice
Editing or Modifying an Existing Form Field
Acrobat form field properties can only be accessed in editing mode (by choosing Forms > Add
New Field or Edit Fields). Properties for multiple form fields can be set at once.
1. To edit multiple form fields, select the fields to edit.
Hold down control and click each field to select
2. Right-click/Control-click one of the selected fields, and choose Properties.
Change the properties on each of the available tabs, as needed. The
property is changed as soon as another property is selected or Enter is
pressed.
3. Activate the Close button or press enter to close the Properties dialog
box.
If form fields are selected that have different property values, some options in the Properties
dialog box are not available. Otherwise, changes to the available options are applied to all
selected form fields.
Note: To avoid accidental changes to the form field, select Locked in the lower left
corner of the Properties dialog box before it is closed. To unlock, click the check
box again.
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Deleting a Form Field
With the document in Forms Editing mode, click on the field to delete and do any of the
following:
•
Right-click and select Delete
•
Press the Delete key.
•
From the menu, select Edit > Delete (ALT + E, D)
Note: To select multiple fields hold the Control/Command key and click on each
one.
Field Actions
There are many different actions that can be associated with a form field. These include
actions based on mouse entry, mouse exit, mouse up, mouse down, on focus, and on blur. It
is important to note that mouse-only actions will not be keyboard accessible. All functionality
must be keyboard-accessible without requiring the use of a mouse. The “on focus” and “on blur”
actions are triggered when the field receives or loses focus respectively. These actions should be
used with caution. The “on focus” action must not move focus to another field unless the field
is not to be used, and these actions must not be used to trap the keyboard focus within certain
fields.
The user must be able to navigate past form fields without having the keyboard focus
trapped. This is a requirement because many keyboard-only users, including users of assistive
technology, use the Tab or Shift+Tab keystrokes to explore the fields of a form and discover
what options are available. For the same reason, the option “Commit value immediately” should
be avoided for the dropdown and list fields. Users of assistive technology often use the Up and
Down arrows to explore or navigate to items in these fields, so changing values using these
keystrokes can prevent them from using the form properly.
Validation and Error Messages
When form validation is used to automatically validate fields, error messages must indicate what
fields triggered the error and provide suggestions to help the user enter the correct information.
Error suggestions are not required when they would invalidate the purpose of the form, such
as with a quiz. But error prevention must be provided for legal or financial transactions. Error
prevention can involve allowing the user to review or make changes, and/or checking the
information for errors prior to submission. Typically, the Validation tab of the field properties
dialog is used to provide feedback to the user. One accessible solution is to provide an alert that
indicates the error and provides a suggestion. However, error-detection mechanisms should not
restrict the ability for keyboard users to navigate among form fields.
When audio is used to indicate an error such as entering more characters into a field than are
allowed, a visual indication must also be provided to warn users who cannot hear the audio.
Set the Tab Order
If a PDF document does not have a specified tab order, the default order is based on the
document structure, unless the user has deselected the Tab Order option in the Accessibility
preferences.
The tab order can be changed after the form has been created. It has the following options:
Adobe Acrobat XI Accessibility Accessible PDF Forms
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•
If Forms Editing mode is active, the order can be set to document
structure (default), row, or column.
•
The order can also be set manually by dragging and dropping fields in the
Fields pane.
•
If Forms Editing mode is not active, the order can be set in page
properties by row or column. However, the tab order cannot be set
manually.
To change the tab order, first select “Order Tabs Manually” from the Tab Order button on the
Fields pane. Then fields can be dragged and dropped where appropriate within the Fields pane
to modify the tab order (Refer to “Figure 12. Rearranging Tab Order with the Fields Pane” on
page page 12). To assist in determining tab order, select “Show Tab Numbers” from the Tab
Order button menu of the Fields pane (Refer to “Figure 12. Rearranging Tab Order with the Fields
Pane” on page page 12). To see the relationship between items in the Fields pane and the
Document pane. Note also the Order Tabs Manually and the Show Tab Numbers options are
highlighted.
Figure 12. Rearranging Tab Order with the Fields Pane
Provide Instructions and Onscreen Labels
It is important to ensure that all form fields have instructions or labels. Form instructions are
typically be placed above the form, call out required fields, and provide additional information
on completing and submitting the form. Individual form fields typically have labels above or
to the left of the form field, with the exception of radio buttons and checkboxes, whose labels
should appear to the right of each field. Labels should contain any formatting information, such
as value length or date format.
Other Accessibility Considerations
In addition to making form fields accessible, other tags and properties must be set to improve
overall accessibility. For example, the default language of the document must be specified;
security settings must not interfere with screen readers; links must be provided in a tagged and
keyboard accessible manner; and the document must be tagged. This is not an exhaustive list of
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the tasks required before a form based document can be considered accessible or conformant
to a specific accessibility standard or guideline. For a discussion on additional requirements
including verifying conformance, refer to the Adobe® Acrobat® XI Pro Accessibility Guide: PDF
Accessibility Repair Workflow.
For more information
Solution details: www.adobe.com/accessibility/products/acrobat/
Program details: www.adobe.com/accessibility
Contact information: access@adobe.com
Adobe Systems Incorporated
345 Park Avenue
San Jose, CA 95110-2704
USA
www.adobe.com
Adobe, the Adobe logo, Acrobat, Acrobat Connect, ActionScript, Adobe Captivate, Authorware, Flash, and JRun are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe
Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries. Microsoft and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the
United States and/or other countries. Java is a trademark or registered trademark of Sun Microsystems, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks
are the property of their respective owners.
© 2012 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All rights reserved. Printed in the USA.
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