Feature request / Bug report

Precise placement of objects in Prepare Form and Edit Form

I would like to see a "transform" capability similar to InDesign, with a panel or set of boxes in which the actual pixel X & Y coordinates, as well as the dimensions of an object, can be precisely set. Currently, the resolution on this type of placement appears to be set at 2 points, and I would like to be able to fine-tune that to pixels or 10,000ths of an inch as I can in InDesign. That's the basic idea, but read on for rationale.
I work mainly in InDesign to create pdf forms that I then take into Acrobat Pro to make "fillable" (Prepare Form). Often, after I have submitted a form for approval of my superiors, they come up with edits they would like to see. Many times, these edits are additions that need to be inserted precisely into the form to prevent having to recreate the form and then go through the process of making the form fillable again. Frequently, I create a text box or button, only to find I cannot move it to precisely the location required to avoid overlapping text or an object already extant in the form, i.e., the form already is "crowded," but the ability to precisely locate the new object would be acceptable in the eyes of my employer—crowded or not.
This also comes up when I need to align a newly created line that spans the page as an "underline" for two or more text boxes. In this instance, I need the line to extend beyond the text boxes as a place to indicate a fillable text field, so the underline function of the font will not suffice. The text boxes and the line, itself, will only get too close to, or else too far apart from, each other.
There are other instances where this would be a wonderful feature to have, but basically, I'm spoiled to the fine-tuning that InDesign allows, and would appreciate that one feature be incorporated into Acrobat Pro.
Thanks for reading, and if you're a precision designer like me, please vote for this feature!

76 votes
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Ken Jeffries shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →


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  • TheMacWizHizsef commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Hey, Adobe: HOW MANY VOTES DOES IT TAKE TO GET SOMETHING ADOPTED????? This has more votes than some of the ideas that you HAVE adopted, so what gives?
    PLEASE reconsider this idea. I would have voted for it today, but because "voting is closed," I can't.
    This is a SORELY NEEDED addition to Acrobat. It's not our fault it was designed for PC users who don't expect much and then ported to Mac. Remember your roots: Adobe is in business BECAUSE OF MAC USERS. C'mon, please reconsider and give us this ability!

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Why did you decline this suggestion? This is the most frustrating work when you have to nudge and drag and eyeball to get things to line up (as best as possible)

    I have waited patiently, but it's such a time killer, we may need to seek out a better software option.
    Please re-evalutate your decline.

  • Daniel Haracz commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Why was this declined? It is literally the most frustrating flaw in Acrobat - why not at least attempt a fix?

  • ms. TechWriter commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Hi, I'm not here to be argumentative, but I am a technical writer and used to be a form designer. If you need such accuracy why not invest in LiveCycle or Adobe Experience? LiveCycle is relatively inexpensive and converts the most lovely forms to pdf easily. I've made forms using Acrobat Pro, and they are nice, but very basic. Acrobat just doesn't have the features a really good form design software has, such as exact placement, complex subforms, complex calculations, expandable text fields and many others.

    Let me know if you're interested and I can send you a couple of the complex forms I've designed using LiveCycle.

  • Ken Jeffries commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Hey, Adobe,

    Well, I didn't see this included in the latest update. Can you please *give* us an update on progress?


  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Why limit to form objects? I'm trying to precisely place an arrow with the same frustration.

  • Ken Jeffries commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Thanks for trying. While I can see how what you suggest might work for elements already extant in the document, it does NOT allow for selection of added elements, such as radio buttons and text boxes, and those are what I need to be able to precisely place—at least it didn't work for me. Maybe I'm doing something wrong, but no matter what I tried, the elements that I added to the document could not be selected in the Edit mode (which is where you can select "edit with Illustrator"), and in the Prepare Form mode, editing with Illustrator is not an option.
    Back to square one.
    Adobe, please post an update on this query soon.
    Thanks to all!

  • Steele Jordan commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Mr. Rosen,
    Thank you for this, but I do not consider it a "solution." It is simply a workaround for a program (application) deficiency that could—and should—easily be fixed.
    I have come to the conclusion—accurate or not—that Acrobat was developed on a PC for PC users who are used to mediocrity and which was then (poorly) ported to the Mac environ; unlike InDesign, which was obviously developed on a Mac for Mac users, who although admittedly can be somewhat disdainful of PCs and therefore may appear "snobbish," are used to excellence in their machines and their programs.
    Again, this is not a solution. It is a workaround, and it assumes that all Acrobat users have a license for Illustrator, as well—which should not be a REQUIREMENT for Acrobat to do what it should.
    While I realize my comments may seem abrasive to some, the truth is NOT subjective—it is simply the truth.
    I genuinely hope Adobe will move forward on this SOON. It's been over a year since first posting, and almost that since Adobe started "looking" at it. The votes are piling up. The people have spoken.
    IF this is in the works, Adobe, please let us know. Otherwise, understand that Quark was once the go-to for page layout.

  • Jeff ROsen commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I figured out a solution (thank the lord). Select the objects you want to adjust and click "edit using" in the format options on the right pane. Select illustrator and you will be able to use snap editing to align baseline, shift by pixel, etc. Once you are done, CMD + S in illustrator and close it. Your changes will be made to your PDF with zero side effects (as far as i am aware of)


  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I've posted a similar request. The lack of ability to perfectly align new text and text boxes at the same time is very frustrating and IMO unacceptable. I'm at the point where we are planning to look at other software to meet our needs. The time spent trying to make things look right by eyeballing it is incredibly excessive.

  • Ken Jeffries commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Hello, Adobe!

    Any movement on this yet? It's been almost a year, now, and 6 months since Mr. Rosenthol's last post. In the meantime, we now have 37 votes—and counting!

    Can I provide any more help or explanation?



  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    As a longtime plain TeX user I feel like I'm vacationing in Jurassic Park when I open up Acrobat.

  • Ken Jeffries commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Thanks for sharing a rather scarring event, Rae, that brings into vivid focus some of the reasoning behind this request. That took guts.
    Thanks, also, for voting for this. As you can see, we've had a few more come onboard since your 11 January post. I've tried to get the word out in other threads using this link:
    If anyone who visits this page can get that link out, it will be greatly appreciated.

  • Rae Benedetto commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I have voted for this feature. Thousands of an inch matter. This issue reminds me of 20 years ago when it was discovered 2 horizontal lines on master pages I had created were misaligned by perhaps 1/2 point? 1/2 point is .0069 inch. I questioned this level of precision. I survived and learned, but not without consequences in a team environment were every mistake (prepress or personal, I fear) was profoundly made public. I'm no longer in prepress but that level of attention to detail persists in my work. Thousands of an inch matter and the scope should include all objects, form fields, graphics, and text.

  • Kevin Walker commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Hello! I voted for this as well. In fact, I would like to broaden the scope and be able to move not just forms, but also static text and images to precise 4-decimal locations in documents. I am frequently repositioning items with the "Edit" (text and images) tool and "Edit Object" tool, in addition to forms. The methods currently available for repositioning are slow and lack precision. Can the fine-tuning that InDesign allows be brought to Acrobat for forms and more?

  • Ken Jeffries commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    One final thought for you, Rae: it would appear you didn't vote for this feature request. Could I ask you to do that if you feel this is a feature Acrobat users need? The more votes, the more likely Adobe is to spend the time and money necessary on this.

    Something I think a lot of users don't realize is that Acrobat is a *huge, complex* program, and making ANY change is a *mammoth* undertaking. It's not like you can just change a few lines of code and say "Voila!"

    We, as users, must really make the case, through our votes and our comments here—at this feature request page, in addition to all the other forum threads—for the need for these features, or they will NOT be implemented. After they ARE implemented, we all need to come back to this page and say a big THANK YOU to the developers who make it happen.

    So please, cast your vote, and direct all interested parties to this page via this link:
    http://tinyurl.com/PrecisePlacementOfObjects, both now and after the features are available.
    Thanks to all!

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