Avoka Blog: Adobe LiveCycle

June 19, 2008

Best practise for pre-populating a Drop Down with data?

Filed under: Designing Forms, Designing Processes, LiveCycle — htreisman @ 1:53 pm

One of our internal consultants recently asked: “What is best practice for populating a Drop Down list in a PDF form with data?”

There are several ways to do it, and there is no “best” or “recommended” way. The suggestions below are roughly in order of complexity.

  1. You can just hard code the values in the form template.
  2. You can populate a hidden field with comma-separated data, and use JavaScript to split the items and add them to the drop down. (If you use a comma separator, make sure that your data doesn’t have any commas in it).
  3. You can bind a Drop Down directly to element in your form’s XML, using a feature called Dynamic Properties (in Designer). Then, instead of populating a hidden field, you just populate elements directly into your XML. No javascript required, but a bit more work in your XML Schema.
  4. You can have your form calling a web service in order to get the data it needs, and use Javascript to process the results, and populate the Drop Down. You can build the web service any way you like, including as a LiveCycle orchestration. This is often the only way to approach things if the contents of the drop down depends on other data in your form.

For #2 and #3, you can modify the LiveCycle Default Render process to inject the data into your XML.

The screenshot below shows how to turn on “Dynamic Properties” in Designer.

Dynamic Properties in LiveCycle Designer

If anyone reading this blog needs more information on exactly how to do this, email info-at-avoka.com



  1. No answare for how to generate the text fields at runtime..

    Comment by sophie — February 6, 2009 @ 4:19 pm

    • I don’t understand your question?

      Comment by htreisman — February 9, 2009 @ 8:25 am

  2. Please give an example to populate data in PDF from another schema

    Comment by chandu — June 10, 2010 @ 3:59 pm

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