Home / Articles / How to Create Scripts for Online Forms with Adobe LiveCycle Designer

How to Create Scripts for Online Forms with Adobe LiveCycle Designer

  • Sample Chapter is provided courtesy of Adobe Press.
  • Date: Oct 5, 2007.

Chapter Description

Digital forms expert J.P. Terry shows you how to improve the functionality and usability of your online forms through scripting.


The forms you create in Designer are based on an event-driven programming model. As you have seen in this chapter, the scripts you write are triggered by events. Events are occurrences or actions that change the state of a form. When these events occur, the scripts behind the events are executed. Because this event-driven model determines how your scripts will perform, you need to consider which events to use, when the events will fire, and how often the events will fire. Let's take a look at two examples.

Examples of How Events Work

The following two examples show you important concepts about events. The first example shows you that multiple events fire based on a single action. The second example shows you that some events can be fired multiple times.

One action fires multiple events

Open the multipleEventsFire.pdf form in Designer. Select Preview PDF to see how a single user action can fire multiple events. Even before you click anything, the form rendering and loading is firing multiple events. Once you click on a form object, you will see how even a small action fires multiple events. Experiment with the example and notice the following:

  • The calculate, validate, ready:layout events fire often.
  • The initial form rendering and loading fires the initialize, calculate, validate, ready:form, calculate, validate, ready:layout, and docReady events.
  • Clicking the Button fires the mouseEnter, mouseDown, enter, mouseUp, click, and mouseExit events (Figure 4.25).
    Figure 4.25

    Figure 4.25 Events that are fired when the Button object is clicked.

  • Tabbing out of a Text Field fires the exit event of the Text Field and the enter event of the Drop-down List.
  • Selecting an item in the Drop-down List fires the mouseDown, enter, preOpen, mouseUp, click, and mouseExit events.

An event can fire multiple times

This example uses a simple calculation script on a Numeric Field's calculate event. You will render the form as a print form and as an interactive form, and see how the calculate event fires twice on an interactive form.

  1. Open a blank form in Designer and add a Numeric Field to your form. Set the default value of the Numeric Field to zero. You can set this property on the Value tab of the Object palette.
  2. Select File > Form Properties > Defaults and make sure your preview type is set to Print Form and your default language is set to JavaScript.
  3. Add the following code to the calculate event of the text field:
    NumericField1.rawValue = NumericField1.rawValue + 1;
  4. Select Preview PDF. Notice that the value of the Numeric Field is one, so you know that your script executed once and the calculate event fired once.
  5. Go back and change your form's Preview Type to Interactive Form. Select File > Form Properties > Defaults to make this change.
  6. Select Preview PDF. Notice that the value of the Numeric Field is now two. But you didn't change your script. The different result occurred because the calculate event fired twice during the initial rendering of your interactive form. Each time the event fired, the script ran, so your new result is two.

Types of Events

There are three categories of events in XFA forms: process events, interactive events, and application events. Most of your scripts will run in the interactive events but the process and application events will also be useful to you.

Process events

Process events fire automatically based on an internal XFA process or in response to the firing of an interactive event. The following is a list of the process events in XFA forms:

  • calculate
  • form:ready
  • indexChange (introduced in Designer 8)
  • initialize
  • layout:ready
  • validate

As illustrated in Figure 4.26, process events are fired following a major form change like the form merging process and the form layout process.

Figure 4.26

Figure 4.26 The general flow of process events leading up to the PDF form opening in the application. The process events are in bold type. The last event, docReady, is an application event.

Process events are also fired after interactive events are fired. As you saw in the multipleEventsFire.pdf example, a Button click event also fires the layout:ready event for each object on the form. Process events can fire multiple times based on the situation. For instance, in the "An event can fire multiple times" section your calculation script ran twice when you selected Preview PDF. This is because your script ran in the calculate event, which fires twice when an interactive form is opened (Figure 4.26).

Interactive events

Interactive events are very useful for scripting because they fire as a direct result of a user's action. The following is a list of the interactive events in XFA forms:

  • change
  • click
  • enter
  • exit
  • mouseDown
  • mouseEnter
  • mouseUp
  • preOpen

In the example in the "Getting and setting properties" section earlier in this chapter, you saw how you can retrieve the new text and previous text values when something changes in a Drop-down List:

---- order.#subform[0].shirtSize::change: - (JavaScript, client) ---
currentShirtSize.rawValue = xfa.event.newText;
previousShirtSize.rawValue = xfa.event.prevText;

This script runs on the change event of the Drop-down List, which is noted in the header section of the script.

Application events

Application events fire as a result of the actions of a client application like Acrobat or a server application like LiveCycle Forms. The following is a list of the application events in XFA forms:

  • docClose
  • docReady
  • postPrint
  • postSave
  • prePrint
  • preSave
  • preSubmit

As an example, the postPrint event fires immediately after Acrobat or Reader has sent the form to a printer or spooler. You can add the following script to the postPrint event of your form object to provide instructions to the user about mailing or faxing the printed form:

---- form1::postPrint - (JavaScript, client) --------------------------
xfa.host.messageBox("Instruct the user on where to mail or fax the printed form.");
7. Script Objects | Next Section Previous Section

Adobe Press Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Adobe Press and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Adobe Press products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email ask@peachpit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.adobepress.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020