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Convert Table cells and their content to a form field with the same content

Explorer ,
Mar 30, 2023 Mar 30, 2023

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Hi Guys,

 

Sorry this is a very specific request. We create printed mailers for a customer using indesign. They also require an interactive pdf version which their customers can 'load' their own pricing onto the page. They currently do this by drawing form fields over the 'price columns' filled in with the product codes on the pdf's we supply them. On a 64pg mailer this takes a great deal of time!

The frustrating thing as - as part of our production process, we produce a version with the very same 'Product codes' in the last 2 columns of an InDesign table (see attached image). I was wondering if there is a way of converting these cells into a 'form field' with it's original cell content entered into the field?

Is this something which could be scripted? It just seems crazy that people are spending days drawing form fields & inputting info that's already right there on the page in exactly the place it needs to be.

 

TIA 🙂

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Performance , Publish online , Scripting

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Community Expert ,
Mar 30, 2023 Mar 30, 2023

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Here is a suggestion and if you are interested I can go into more details.

Acrobat can import tab delimited data into existing form fields of a PDF. Create the master Indesign document with form fields in the table as you have shown. Then you could create a master spreadsheet that contains the data that you would need for the print version. Import data in Acrobat. The spreadsheet could be used by the customer so they could import their data into the PDF. For the print version, you can flatten the PDF of all form fields and create a static document.

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Explorer ,
Apr 03, 2023 Apr 03, 2023

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Sounds like a good idea  Jeffrey, but we'd have to find an automatic way (probably scripted) to convert the price column cells in the InDesign tables to form fields containing the product code. We wouldn't have time in our schedule to create the Indesign tables with form fields as the price columns from scratch, our process is heavily reliant on on copying tables from previous pages which are already set up this way.

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People's Champ ,
Mar 30, 2023 Mar 30, 2023

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Hi Barry,

There's no built-in way to populate text fields with default text using InDesign alone.

This is something that can be done with my (not-free) FormMaker add-on, though: https://www.id-extras.com/products/formmaker/

What even FormMaker can't do, yet, is convert a table full of info into a table of text fields, one per cell, containing the contents of each cell. It's actually a nice idea, and is definitely scriptable.

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Community Expert ,
Apr 03, 2023 Apr 03, 2023

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If you are in no rush then I could add it as a new rule for my ID-Tasker - but PC/Windows only. 

 

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Explorer ,
Apr 03, 2023 Apr 03, 2023

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Unfortunately we are Mac based Robert. Thanks anyway.

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Community Expert ,
Apr 03, 2023 Apr 03, 2023

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Nobody is perfect 😉 

 

Not a problem - as long as you can connect a PC to your network... 

 

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Explorer ,
Apr 04, 2023 Apr 04, 2023

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So it looks like the only way to do this would be through scripting and I'm not a scripter.

Here's what I'd need the script to do specifically, it will be easier to understand by looking at the example.

We would need the script to find the last column of each table except for the header (the bit that says 'SALE') and turn those cells into form fields with the text from within those cells (ie. the product code) as the name of those 'form fields'. The product code text within the last column are all formatted with a unique Paragraph Style if that were needed for the script to identify them.

So my question is, does that sound scriptable, and how would I go about getting it done?

Thanks

 

Barry 🙂

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