Ch. 004. Building the Master PDF

Your eDocBuilder document template begins with a print-compliant PDF Master containing any static objects (including art, logos or designs) to be included in the printed product. The master PDF must be the size of the final production piece plus any bleed that you would like to include. When setting the size of your master PDF, keep in mind that eDocBuilder uses the size of the media box (page size), not the trim box (trim size), to calculate the output size. Do not set any bleed settings or use the crop function in your master PDF.

Variable fields for the template are inserted into your PDF using Adobe Acrobat Professional or Nitro Pro. You will add Form Fields to indicate areas on your PDF that will contain the variable information you will specify in eDocBuilder.

Flattening your PDF

It is beneficial to flatten the master PDF (to remove transparency) before adding any form fields if transparency is not needed, as it will enable the system to more quickly return previews to the customer in the web browser during the ordering process. This process is especially important for templates that will be merged with a variable data file. To flatten the master PDF, open the document in Acrobat and navigate to the Tools > Print Production > Flattener Preview. Use the High Resolution preset, and make sure the Raster/Vector Balance is set to 100% (all vector). Ensure that "All pages in document" is selected under the "Apply to PDF" section, and then click “Apply.”

Using Adobe Acrobat Professional to add Text Form Fields

To add form fields, open the document in Acrobat Professional, and navigate to Tools Menu > Forms > Create. It will walk you through the option of looking for form fields that already exist on your PDF. Choose the option to "Use the current document or browse to a PDF file," then select "Next." Choose to "Use the current document," then select "Next." If this is the first time you are placing form fields on the document it will tell you none were detected, select "OK." If it finds form fields it will show them to you. In either case, you will now be in the Forms area of Acrobat and you will see that your side menu now has an option under "Tasks" for "Add New Field" and within that drop-down is "Text Field." That is the tool we will use to create the form fields.

The Text Field Tool will display the mouse pointer as crosshairs for positioning fields in the document. To apply a form field, position the crosshairs in the upper left corner of the area that you want to apply your field. Draw the mouse to the right while holding the mouse button to form the field. On releasing the button, a dialog box will appear. Apply a name to your field. Important: eDocBuilder requires field naming to comply with the following rules! This is a very important item to note and the most common problem we hear when people are getting started.

  • Field names must be alphabetical characters only (A-Z or a-z)
  • Numbers or special characters cannot be used
  • Names may not contain spaces
  • No duplicate names are allowed

If you need to edit the form field name you can either double-click on the box itself, or select it from the right menu under "Fields." If you double-click you will edit the name under the "General" tab of the Text Field Properties box that appears. Note: All form fields applied in Acrobat Professional are defined as text fields. Later in eDocBuilder, when you are in the development process, they may be defined to hold image content, or be otherwise reformatted.

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