I do not believe that placeholder text (populated in a form's text field before PDF export) is currently an option. Anyone know any workarounds (bar manual inputting via Acrobat). Surprisingly, it doesn't appear to be an option in Acrobat's Rich Media tools either.

Just in case I'm not clear - here is an example of what I'm trying to do:

I've set up my form in INDD and created a text field underneath "Date"
Form layout

Ideally this field would contain predefined guide notes for the user; in this case the date 'zeroed out'
List item

Unfortunately this text disappears when exported or - if I overtyped - it would move for the user.
List item (Field is highlighted without text)

Any ideas? Cheers

2 Answers 2


The short answer is here in this video thanks to Neil Malek:


The video adds a script for an action On Focus:

if(event.target.value==event.target.defaultValue) event.target.value="";

And also you can add two other actions for when your field is Left empty to get filled with default field's text again:

script for On Blur and Mouse Exit actions:

if(event.target.value=="")event.target.value=event.target.defaultValue ;

enter image description here enter image description here


A workaround would be to use the placeholder text as default, and then add a little bit of logic to make it disappear when the field has the focus, and reappear when it loses it, and the value has not changed.

  • Thank you for the suggestion Max. Would this be via the SHOW/HIDE action then?
    – MikeMc
    Commented Jan 21, 2022 at 12:46
  • It would use event.value, event.valueEx, and event.target.value; you can't show/hide, because to enter something, the field has to be visible…
    – Max Wyss
    Commented Jan 22, 2022 at 14:49

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