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Word2010 form to PDF - check boxes aren't recognized by Acrobat 10

Participant ,
Nov 18, 2013

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Hello fellows!

I've encountered a weird problem - when converting a form created in Word 2010 to PDF and running the field auto-detection wizard in Acrobat 10, the check boxes originally created in Word are recognized by Acrobat as text fields and not controls. Tried replacing the word 2010 check box with a "legacy" check box - no difference. Any suggestions?

Thank you in advance!!!

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Word2010 form to PDF - check boxes aren't recognized by Acrobat 10

Participant ,
Nov 18, 2013

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Hello fellows!

I've encountered a weird problem - when converting a form created in Word 2010 to PDF and running the field auto-detection wizard in Acrobat 10, the check boxes originally created in Word are recognized by Acrobat as text fields and not controls. Tried replacing the word 2010 check box with a "legacy" check box - no difference. Any suggestions?

Thank you in advance!!!

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PDF forms, Windows

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Nov 18, 2013 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Nov 18, 2013

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It doesn't really matter what's the type of object they originally were. The form detection wizard works on a visual basis, not based on objects. Basically there's nothing much you can do about it, except try to find an object that is recognized as a check-box.

Another option is to use a script after running the wizard to convert those files to check-boxes.

Or you can use OpenOffice, which can generate PDF files and convert the fields in the document directly to the same kind of fields in the PDF version.

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Nov 18, 2013 0
Participant ,
Nov 18, 2013

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Hi Gilad,

Thank you very much for your response!

What do you mean by an object that is recognized as a check box? I guess you meant a special character?

My form contains tables that have check boxes in 2 out of 4 columns. So how can I traverse through all tables, select the 2 and 3rd column and put a check box in each row? It should also involve resizing the check boxes as the Acrobat default ones are too big. They should also be aligned. Can javascript do all that?

BTW, I saw someone on Youtube putting a "legacy" check box on a Word page and using Acrobat 10 to convert it to PDF. After running the form wizard, Acrobat recognized the check box as a radio button. I can't reproduce the same for some reason.

Have a nice day and thanks again!

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Nov 18, 2013 0
Participant ,
Nov 18, 2013

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A quick test clarified the case: when a check box is put outside a table, Acrobat does recognize it as a check box. But when it is put inside a table cell, Acrobat ignores the check box and creates a text field that covers the table cell. Any ideas how to make Acrobat recognize the check box inside a table cell?

Thank you in advance!

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Nov 18, 2013 2
Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 18, 2013

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Another approach is to open the Word docuement in OpenOffie.org Writer, add the form fields and exprot to PDF.

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Nov 18, 2013 0
Participant ,
Nov 18, 2013

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Hi GKaiseril,

Thanks for the suggestion!

The problem with this approach is that:

1. Opening a word doc. in openoffice ruins the layout (headers/footers are misplaced, some tables aren't rendered properly, etc.). So the file requires reconstruction.

2. Effort-wise, adding new form fields manually in openoffice is the same as adding them in Acrobat.

Apparently, this is a bug in Acrobat. Check boxes must be rendered as check boxes no matter where they are put - inside a table cell or in a body text.

Have a nice day!

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Nov 18, 2013 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 18, 2013

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You can try making the check boxes bigger or with thicker borders.

Personally I never use the "Form Wizard" because there is still a lot of cleanup of the fields and adding scripts to get the form to work properly.

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Nov 18, 2013 0
Participant ,
Nov 19, 2013

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Hi,

Unfortunately, this did not help. But thanks for the suggestion!

Have an excellent day!

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Nov 19, 2013 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Nov 19, 2013

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I've had good experience in using Wingdings symbols. #168, for example, is consistently converted to a check-box even when in a Word table.

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Nov 19, 2013 0
Participant ,
Nov 19, 2013

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Hi Gilad,

I tried using the Wingding symbol you mentioned - same result - text field that covers the whole table cell. I tried increasing the size of the symbol - same result.

Which version of Acrobat/Word are you using?

I am using Word 2010 and Acrobat 10.1.8.

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Nov 19, 2013 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Nov 19, 2013

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Yes, I forgot to mention that some of the cells where then identified as text boxes, but removing them was quite easy and fast. I used Word 2003 and Acrobat Pro XI 11.0.4.

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Nov 19, 2013 0
Participant ,
Nov 19, 2013

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OK, thanks. I wonder why this does not work in Word 2010. Removing text boxes manually may be a good solution for small forms but not for 10-15 page documents.

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Nov 19, 2013 0
New Here ,
Feb 23, 2014

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hey rombanks,

Did you ever find a satisfactory solution to your problem?  Being a forms newbie, I naively designed a beautifully formatted, complex, multi-page form in Word 2010, with checkboxes everywhere in tables. 

Then when I imported it into Acrobat X forms wizard, it translated 90% of the checkboxes into text fields, and some into radio buttons.

I started fixing it in Acrobat, replacing the "text" boxes with checkboxes, but the auto-sizing and alignment commands don't work very well and it's super difficult to get all the new checkboxes to line up perfectly and look professional the way they do in Word.  VERY time-consuming.

Ugh.  I'd really love it if I didn't have to start over from scratch and could "run a script" as some have suggested..."Another option is to use a script after running the wizard to convert those files to check-boxes." - Gilad D

Thanks for any suggestions!!

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Feb 23, 2014 0
Participant ,
Feb 23, 2014

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Hi, annieab,

Currently, there is no satisfactory solution, if you would like to continue using Word 2010 and Acrobat.

If your form is short (less than 10 pages), you can try importing the form to the Adobe LiveCycle Designer (by default, installed with Acrobat 10). This may work for you.

Alternatively, if you are ready to abandon Word:

1. Save the Word file in Open Office format (.odt).

2. Open the file in Open Office and replace all Word check boxes with the "native" Open Office check boxes.

3. Export the file to PDF. All check boxes will be rendered correctly.

HTH,

Roman

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Feb 23, 2014 0
New Here ,
Feb 23, 2014

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I tried both of Roman's solutions, and 1) my PC doesn't have Adobe LiveCycle for some reason, and 2) I downloaded OpenOffice and the formatting in my form was completely thrown off.  I can see that if one were starting from scratch that could be a good solutions and I'll try it i the future.

So I contacted Gilad D, got his script, tested it, and bought it.  It works like a dream!!  I am so happy right now!  I would HIGHLY recommend it for anyone having this problem.  It doesn't affect the complicated formatting of my form at all, which is super critical.

It comes with instructions and even though I'm a total newbie and didn't even knwo what a "script" was before today, I'm all set  and running!

I guess he's not allowed to sell it on here directly, but it was worth every penny I spent. 

Thanks Gilad and thanks for answering my questions.  You rock. 

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Feb 23, 2014 0
Participant ,
Feb 23, 2014

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Hi annieab,

If you have Acrobat 10 Pro, Adobe LiveCycle Designer should be installed as well, unless someone removed it deliberately.

I converted my Word documents into OpenOffice as well - except for minor header/footer issues, I did not have any problem. Conversion to PDF works like a charm.

In any case, I am glad you solved your problem with check boxes.

I hope that Adobe will improve the form control recognition mechanism in the future versions of Acrobat.

Kind regards,

Roman

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Feb 23, 2014 0
New Here ,
Sep 29, 2015

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I know this is an old chain but ran across it looking for an answer.  I found it and thought I'd post it here.  I think the script that Abobe wrote for this tells it to look for a box shape with text next to it.  I tested my theory and it worked!  If you put text next to the boxes and then run the auto-detect it works.  Easier to remove the text from Adobe then to create all of those stupid check boxes by hand - especially when you have them throughout your form!  Hope this helps someone.

Mariann

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Sep 29, 2015 4
Most Valuable Participant ,
Sep 29, 2015

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If someone is still interested in this topic, I've recently developed a script that will consistently convert Wingdings boxes and circles to check-boxes and radio-buttons, resp. It can be found on my website, here: Custom-made Adobe Scripts: Acrobat/Reader -- Convert Wingdings To Fields

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Sep 29, 2015 0
New Here ,
Oct 01, 2015

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Thanks. That's exactly what I was looking for.
Just for clarification, it only works for the empty boxes, as opposed to the boxes with a check or x in them.

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Oct 01, 2015 0
New Here ,
Aug 19, 2020

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All these years later and this is STILL the best/easiest answer! Thank you so much for saving me hours and hours of work and reformatting.

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Aug 19, 2020 0
Community Beginner ,
Jan 12, 2016

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Create a new 1 or 2 page document and try a subset of the questions for your form. Since you created it in Word and want to keep it that way as a template for any changes then don't use OpenOffice. Take one page of the form and copy it to a new document. Create a table for the check boxes and questions. Do a few at a time. It does work but sometimes after a few cut and paste operations it will stop working. Add a few questions in 3 or 4 rows and check to make sure the form wizard works as desired. Once you have it working then you can finish adding all the other questions. It does work, you just have to be careful.

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Jan 12, 2016 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 12, 2016

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I would use OpenOffice.org Writer to create the form and form fields. Then use Writer's "Export to PDF" to create the form in PDF with form fields.

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Jan 12, 2016 0
Community Beginner ,
Jan 12, 2016

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As Rombanks said in two different posts - Opening a word doc. in openoffice ruins the layout and Removing text boxes manually may be a good solution for small forms but not for 10-15 page documents. Since it sounds like it is already in Word, it seems the goal is to get a format in Word that works. I have a similar form in Word and it was converting check boxes to radio buttons. Since I want to keep the original Word doc as a template for future changes and it has all the original formatting I don't want to create a new doc in OpenOffice. While I like OO, it is not always feasible. Plus, for me, the document is for a client who needs to be able to make changes to the content and fix it as needed. I can then quickly run the form wizard, lock the document and republish it. So, back to the solution, it is possible to get the forms to convert correctly, but work with a page at a time and get the content in a table seems to work for me. There seems to be some sort of interaction between the automatic numbering in Word and the way it tags check boxes. When running the form wizard in Adobe something is amiss.

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Jan 12, 2016 0
Community Beginner ,
Nov 16, 2016

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I've actually got this working. This issue is Word's default style for Special is set to 2-fmButtonEffectSunken. Adobe has a hard time deciphering that. So all you have to do is set the style to fmButtonEffectFlat. Then Adobe seems to pick up the check boxes like a charm. So yea, no need to rely on Wingdings or some fancy square box shapes.

Best thing, I always found the boxes either too high or two low compared to the text sitting the the right of the text box. Well you can fix that too in the properties by adjusting the height!

Hope this help!

Image showing checkboxs with flat effect ("Pre-Processing") and rest with sunken effect

Formatted Button.JPG

Image showing properties of "Pre-Processing Checkbox

checkbox properties.JPG

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Nov 16, 2016 0
New Here ,
Jun 16, 2018

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Does this solution also work when using Radio Button objects in Word? I'm running into the same issue with a 38 page document and Adobe Acrobat Prepare Forms doesn't read the Radio Button when nested within a table.

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Jun 16, 2018 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 16, 2018

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It should.

Another option is to use OpenOffice.org Writer or Libre Office Writer. You can add the form field objects in the program with their properties nd then export the form to PDF and the form fields and settings  will transfer to the PDF.

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Jun 16, 2018 0
Community Beginner ,
Sep 29, 2018

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Raigovind93 can you walk through the steps to your solution?

<<This issue is Word's default style for Special is set to 2-fmButtonEffectSunken. Adobe has a hard time deciphering that. So all you have to do is set the style to fmButtonEffectFlat. Then Adobe seems to pick up the check boxes like a charm. So yea, no need to rely on Wingdings or some fancy square box shapes.>>

Where do I locate the style for a checkbox so that I can follow your instructions?

I have a series of questions with checkboxes for yes, no, I don't know - I've used the Word special character, removed the space before the text (one of the earlier suggestions was Acrobat will recognize the box NEXT to text). I really need to stay in Word and Acrobat for my solution so that others without access to other apps can handle updates etc.

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Sep 29, 2018 0
New Here ,
Jul 07, 2019

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I'm using Word Office 365 and Adobe Acrobat DC (ver 2019.012), and I am having similar problem as back in 2013 - when converting a form created in Word 365 to PDF and running the field auto-detection wizard in Acrobat Pro DC, the check boxes originally created in Word are not  even recognized by Acrobat as check boxes. I tried both Wingdings check boxes and Word check boxes, and I used 14 font.

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Jul 07, 2019 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Jul 08, 2019

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The fields detection wizard is very fickle. If you want consistent results you need to use a script, like the one I linked to above.

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Jul 08, 2019 0