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How do I clear a radio button?

Community Beginner ,
Jan 05, 2017

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Is it possible to deselect a choice in a radio button group on a fillable PDF? There are times a radio button choice may be selected accidentally. When this happens, the only choice one may have is to abandon the form they have been completing, and start from scratch in hopes the mistake is not made again. Our forms are very detailed and with multiple pages and combinations of drop downs, check boxes, radio buttons, text boxes, etc... with questions totaling well over 100.  You can imagine someone's frustration if they've completed over 100 questions and near the end of the form there's a radio button question they did not mean to answer... The radio buttons are used exclusively for one choice selections only, otherwise check boxes are used. I'm interested in any simple solutions. Maybe Adobe can come up with a solution. I don't understand why radio buttons don't function the same way as check boxes. If you click once, it's marked; if you click again, it clear. Any help is greatly appreciated. Detailed steps for the fix are also appreciated. Thanks!

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Correct answer by try67 | Most Valuable Participant

This is the functional definition of radio-buttons. Once a selection is made, you can only switch from one button to another, not de-select them entirely (unless you reset the form).

If you want to be able to de-select the buttons then you should use check-boxes. Give them the same name but different export values and they'll function just like radio-buttons (ie, when you click on button in a group the selected one becomes un-selected), with the additional feature that you could de-select a button but clicking it.

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How do I clear a radio button?

Community Beginner ,
Jan 05, 2017

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Is it possible to deselect a choice in a radio button group on a fillable PDF? There are times a radio button choice may be selected accidentally. When this happens, the only choice one may have is to abandon the form they have been completing, and start from scratch in hopes the mistake is not made again. Our forms are very detailed and with multiple pages and combinations of drop downs, check boxes, radio buttons, text boxes, etc... with questions totaling well over 100.  You can imagine someone's frustration if they've completed over 100 questions and near the end of the form there's a radio button question they did not mean to answer... The radio buttons are used exclusively for one choice selections only, otherwise check boxes are used. I'm interested in any simple solutions. Maybe Adobe can come up with a solution. I don't understand why radio buttons don't function the same way as check boxes. If you click once, it's marked; if you click again, it clear. Any help is greatly appreciated. Detailed steps for the fix are also appreciated. Thanks!

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Correct answer by try67 | Most Valuable Participant

This is the functional definition of radio-buttons. Once a selection is made, you can only switch from one button to another, not de-select them entirely (unless you reset the form).

If you want to be able to de-select the buttons then you should use check-boxes. Give them the same name but different export values and they'll function just like radio-buttons (ie, when you click on button in a group the selected one becomes un-selected), with the additional feature that you could de-select a button but clicking it.

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PDF forms, Windows

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 05, 2017

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One option is to always include an extra "N/A" option that is preselected.  That way if someone did not intend to answer they can recheck.

As far as Adobe changing the way radio buttons work goes, don't count on it.  I believe it is an industry standard for radio buttons - I do understand the frustration you describe when you cannot deselect.

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 05, 2017

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Thanks for the very prompt response! Yes, I was hoping to avoid any additional selections on the forms. They are quite dense and use a size 9 font. You can imagine, I'm sure, there is very limited space. If we used a standard size 12 font, many of our forms would be over 4 pages... I understand what you mean by industry standard. Is there a way to set a check box to a select one only? Thanks again.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Jan 05, 2017

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This is the functional definition of radio-buttons. Once a selection is made, you can only switch from one button to another, not de-select them entirely (unless you reset the form).

If you want to be able to de-select the buttons then you should use check-boxes. Give them the same name but different export values and they'll function just like radio-buttons (ie, when you click on button in a group the selected one becomes un-selected), with the additional feature that you could de-select a button but clicking it.

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 05, 2017

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Thanks TRY67...my reply crossed yours. Good to know I can use check boxes. I'll play with that.

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 05, 2017

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This works great! Exactly what I needed. Thanks so much. Now...much work ahead...

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 29, 2018

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I am having the same issue. I understand that the functional definition of a radio button is to select one or the other. But what happens when you want to start a fresh sheet with nothing selected. Seems really backwards to have to start a new form every time.

I will try your check box method. It seems to have worked for others.

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New Here ,
May 09, 2019

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I completely agree with your assessment of the Radio Button. I think we all understand its function but there are times where you want to reset all the buttons on a form so it appears "blank" (i.e. - no button pre-selected). There should be a simple way to set the properties for a group when creating the form so that there is no default button.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
May 09, 2019

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There isn't one, unless you set it to be.

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Advocate ,
May 09, 2019

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To clear the selection in a set of radio buttons, well knowing that this is an "illegal state", you either reset the field (if there is no selection specified as default), or set the field's value to "Off" (which means a little bit of JavaScript).

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New Here ,
Jun 03, 2020

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I have a similar issue with a from created in the latest version of Acrobat Pro DC where when I am in "Prepare Form" mode and go to Preview and I test some of the radio buttons, and exit back out of Preview to Edit mode, the radio buttons are still selected, and when I save the form, those radio buttons are still selected. I have several groups of Yes - No radio buttons that are unselected by default, but after testing the form I can't clear those selections. This is a 11 page application form for a client and I'd hate to have to start over.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Jun 03, 2020

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Reset the form before saving it.

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New Here ,
Jun 03, 2020

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Uh, stupid question, but where do I do that in Acrobat Pro DC?

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Jun 04, 2020

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Tools - Forms - Preapare Form - More Options - Clear Form.

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