PDF-XChange Form Features

PDF-Xchange form features allow you to create fully interactive electronic forms for practically any use you can think of.

In March I wrote about the overall capabilities and features of PDF-XChange Editor and last month I talked about Moving from Paper to Digital Forms.  You can read those articles by clicking their links. This month I want to take a deeper dive into the electronic forms capabilities this product has if you are ready to start digitizing your paper forms.

Field Types

There are ten field types available to create your electronic form.  Each has various options you can specify.

form features

Almost all options give you the choice of:

  • Font
  • Font Size
  • Font Color
  • Background / fill color
  • Border color
  • Border style
  • Border width
  • Required or optional
  • Define the tooltip

Before I show you how to configure those, let’s take a more detailed look at each field type and some of their abilities.


The text field is one of the most common field types used on an electronic form. It is very versatile as you can specify a great number of options for this field. In addition to the options listed above, you can also specify:

  • How many characters long
  • Single line or multi-line
  • Letters only, Numbers only, or both

This allows for creation of specific fields for time or percentages to name a few.


A button field is usually used to perform an action such as Save, Print or Submit.  When creating a button you need to specify the command that the button will execute when pressed.

Check Box

Check boxes are another very common field on forms.  They are used to make interactive checklists and you can have dozens or hundreds of these depending on the form being created.

Radio button

Radio buttons are used when a choice is presented an you can only pick one of the options.  This is very commonly used in True/False or Yes/No scenarios.  It is possible to create a radio button with more than two choices, however only one can still be selected.


List fields are useful when you want to present a selection of choices. More than one can be selected by holding the CTRL key when selecting.


Dropdowns are useful for presenting a list of pre-defined options without taking up a bunch of space to display them all on your form.  Only one option can be selected from a dropdown list.


Signature fields can be used in a variety of ways.  You can simply input them to indicate a signature or initials are needed or they can be tied to digital signatures and security certificates.


The barcode field offers a selection of three different types of barcode to choose from:

  • Barcode
  • QR Code
  • Data Matrix code

Each of these can be encoded with information that can be read by a barcode reader.  Most smartphones these days have built-in barcode readers and the most common type is a QR Code.  You can encode an email address, a website, a file download and more.

Date Picker

This field should be pretty self-explanatory.  It allows for the selection of a date on the calendar.


The image field allows you to upload a picture with the form.

Sample Form

Here is a sample form that shows each field type with several examples of each and some of the options I just mentioned. A interactive copy is downloadable, just click the button.

form features

Field Properties

Each field has various properties associated to it that you can customize to specify the behavior of that field. Since the Text Field has the most options I will go in to those in more detail.  Most other fields share the first 5-7 property categories as the text fields so it should give you a good overview of the capabilities.

The properties of a text field are organized as follows:

form features
Text Field Properties


PropertyOptionsDefault ValueNotes
Read OnlyYes or noNo 
LockedYes or noNo 
Field NameMust be uniqueAuto-namedThese are important to make sure your data points can be tracked. 

Duplicate field names will cause issues so make sure to have a good naming standard if you want to change the form defaults.
Tooltip <Not Set>Allows you to put in a helpful hint that pops up when hovering over the field.
Mapping Name <Not Set> 
Orientation0, 90, 180, 2700 
Visible but not printed
Hidden but printed
RequiredYes or noNoIf you set a field as required, it cannot be saved or submitted until the field has the requested data in it.
ExportableYes or noYes 
Layer None 


PropertyOptionsDefault ValueNotes
Fill Color16,777,216 colorsNoneYou can specify any color of the RGB color spectrum.
Stroke Color
16,777,216 colorsRGB: 0,0,0 (Black)You can specify any color of the RGB color spectrum.
Border Style Solid 
Border Width 1pt 


This specifies the point on the form where the field is placed.  I have never needed to change or mess with these settings although it is possible to change the values to adjust the size and position on the form.

PropertyOptionsDefault ValueNotes
Left variesBased on where the field is placed
Top variesBased on where the field is placed
Width 150 ptHow wide the field is
Height 22 ptHow tall the field is

Default Text Format

PropertyOptionsDefault ValueNotes
FontAny installed fontArialCan choose any font installed on your pc.
Font SizeAuto, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 36, 48, 72AutoAuto resizes the text to fit the field size, getting smaller the more text that is typed.
Text Color16,777,216 colorsRGB: 0,0,0 (Black)You can specify any color of the RGB color spectrum.


PropertyOptionsDefault ValueNotes
AlignmentLeft, Center or RightLeft 
Default Value <Not Set> 
File SelectYes or noNoCan only be used is Check Spelling is set to No and Scroll is set to Yes.
PasswordYes or noNoCan only be used is Check Spelling is set to No.
Check SpellingYes or noYes 
Multi LineYes or noNo 
ScrollYes or noYes 
Allow Rich TextYes or noNo 
CombYes or noNoCan only be used is Check Spelling and Scroll are set to No.
Character Limit <No Limit>Used to restrict a field to a set number of characters.  Think zip codes, phone numbers, etc.


PropertyOptionsDefault Value
Mouse DownSee picture<Empty>
Mouse UpSee picture<Empty>
Mouse EnterSee picture<Empty>
Mouse LeaveSee picture<Empty>
On FocusSee picture<Empty>
On BlurSee picture<Empty>
form features

Format Value

PropertyOptionsDefault ValueNotes
Custom Action

Value Validation

PropertyOptionsDefault ValueNotes
Value in Range
Custom Action
<Empty>Value in Range only available for fields formatted as Number

Value Calculation

PropertyOptionsDefault ValueNotes
Sum (+)
Product (*)
Simplified Notation
Custom Action

Selection Change (List field only)

The List field has one additional property field that is customizable.

PropertyOptionsDefault ValueNotes
Selection Change <Empty>Allows you to Edit the JavaScript

Signed (Signature field only)

The Signature field also has one additional property field available.

PropertyOptionsDefault ValueNotes
When SignedDo Nothing
Mark as Read Only
Custom Action
Do Nothing 


While it may seem complicated to create an electronic form, it really is not.  Once you understand what the fields are, and how they can be configured, you can do all sorts of great automation to collect and collate data from electronic forms. 

If you have or decide to purchase a copy of PDF-Xchange Editor, you can edit the downloadable sample form and experiment with the properties of each field for yourself.

Let me know your experience with PDF forms in the comments below.

Last Updated on March 28, 2023