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Is there a way to prepare a PDF file in any of the programs in the Adobe Creative Suit, making a part of it change with input from the user?

For example, you make an invitation template. You make the "name" variable. Save it as PDF. The person who gets the PDF can just enter a name in a field, and the invitation would be addressed to that person. So when you are designing it, you don't need to know the names, you just create a template.

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That would be a nice feature, if it existed. Unfortunately, without scripting there isn't a general way to pass a variable to PDF in quite the way you're asking.

In the simple case of an invitation, you can create a fillable Acrobat form field quite easily from InDesign in two ways. One uses InDesign's interactive features, the other (simpler, in this case) uses Acrobat's form recognition feature.

  • Create the invitation in InDesign. Place a fine rule where the name should go. This can be a .25 point, 10% grey rule. It doesn't have to be prominent.

  • Export to PDF using, for example, the "High Quality Print" option, which is good for desktop printers.

  • In Acrobat, under Tools > Forms choose Edit. Acrobat will pop up a message saying there are no form fields in the PDF, and offer to detect them automatically. Select Yes.

  • Acrobat will find the rule/underscore, make it a text field, and switch to form editing mode.

  • Right-click the field label in the Fields pane and choose Properties. In the dialog, the Appearance tab lets you choose the font that will be used when the user types in a name. Remember that the font must be one that exists on the user's system, so choose one that ships with both OS X and Windows to avoid problems. Leave Font Size set to "Auto." Acrobat will automatically reduce the font size when necessary to accommodate long names.

  • Preview and test. When you're satisfied with the result, save the file.

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  • Thanks a lot Alan! I'll try to find a way to do it with scripting, otherwise I'll accept this answer. – hattenn Apr 13 '14 at 22:36
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Design it in Illustrator and save it as an interactive PDF. You will have to design it using form tools.

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    Hi there and welcome to GD - it would be good if you could edit to expand a little on this, for it to be useful for future reference. There is a chance your answer will be removed, but you are more than welcome to edit it. – benteh Apr 11 '14 at 13:51
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    Hi and welcome to GD.SE, glad to see you participating. As you see your answer is now down voted. This is most probably because it's very short and not very informative. Could you please elaborate your answer? Maybe add the exact steps to design an interactive pdf in Illustrator? Or some screenshots showing the process? This will make your answer much more useful. Thank you! – Saaru Lindestøkke Apr 11 '14 at 13:52

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