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Utilizing a form field to auto-populate somewhere else in a document

asked 2019-03-09 18:41:12 +0200

Moon Dawg gravatar image

I'm attempting to create a PDF form to facilitate a request/approval process. I am using LibreOffice to create the form, then will export it as a PDF. However, I have ran into a snag. I need entered data in a form field to auto-populate elsewhere in the document. This is something that I played around with several years ago in MS Word, and it worked. Since then, I have forgot how, and now using LibreOffice Writer.

Here is an example of what I am trying to accomplish

I [TEXT BOX 1] am requesting access to a restricted area on [TEXT BOX 2], for the purpose of........

{Later in the document}

I extremely important person and head honcho of the company grant permission for {=Data from TEXT BOX 1} to enter the restricted area on {=Data from TEXT BOX 2}, for the purpose of........

Using mail merge is not practical because (1) Needed external data source does not exist, (2) Closest thing to a usable external data source is constantly changing file names[issue out of my control], (3) The document needs to stand alone, independent of external sources, (4) Using mail merge by the average end-user at our site is too complicated, It needs to be simple enough that a brain damaged monkey can use it.

Also due to default security settings, using any MACROS is impractical. (i.e. I would have to update macro security settings after every system update, and when a user changes terminals). I can use if absolutely necessary, but I need to avoid them if at all possible.

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answered 2019-03-09 18:49:34 +0200

Use Set Variable / Show Variable field pair (both from Fields dialog's Variables tab). Note that you need to set Format of the Set Variable to Text on field creation, otherwise, the created variable will be numeric, and only display 0 for any written text.

You also may use Input Field from the same tab in places where the initial input should happen (note that there's another Input Field on Functions tab, which is completely unrelated). Check the usability. Note that you only can create Input Field for a variable after you had created Set Variable (with Text format). After you defined the variables and inserted Input Field, you may remove the Set Variable (because only it creates variables, but after they are created, they stay until you explicitly delete them in the dialog).

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Looks like I'm on the right track, thanks. I've been able to set the variable (Set variable), and use it later (Show variable). However, you lose me at <input field="">.. I can only change the variable in the fields menu. How can the end-users, who are computer illiterate as a Drain Bamaged monkey, input this easily. Can you clarify?

Moon Dawg gravatar imageMoon Dawg ( 2019-03-09 19:59:01 +0200 )edit

I'm sorry - I don't follow you. What is <input field="">, and how does that relate to Input Field field inserted from the same dialog as others?

Mike Kaganski gravatar imageMike Kaganski ( 2019-03-09 20:02:29 +0200 )edit

Sorry, formatting error, editor changed it I was referring to the Input field as an option under variables tab.

Moon Dawg gravatar imageMoon Dawg ( 2019-03-09 20:21:29 +0200 )edit

I still don't see what you mean, sorry. Do you say that Input Field (which I suggested to improve usability for non-techie users; which allows user to single-click the placeholder text and see easy-to-use dialog with a prompt and a single input box) has worse workflow than Set Variable field (which only accepts double-clicks, and shows a complex dialog with a tiny box for value editing)?

Set Variable field editor:

image description

Input Field editor:

image description

Mike Kaganski gravatar imageMike Kaganski ( 2019-03-09 20:46:24 +0200 )edit

Got it, thanks. I'v got your concept working. Is there a way to enter the information directly in the document with out the pop-up window to enter the data? My end user's may have a stroke if a pop-up appears.

Moon Dawg gravatar imageMoon Dawg ( 2019-03-09 21:08:45 +0200 )edit

No. We used to do that as you seem to wish; but that was generally considered bad - see tdf#79877; and that was changed in version 6.0.

Mike Kaganski gravatar imageMike Kaganski ( 2019-03-09 21:21:57 +0200 )edit

Thanks for the knowledge. I will likely use it on another project. I thought about changing the rest of the document to the match the entry format. Unfortunately, the functionality did not survive Export to PDF, or Open as Read Only. My end user's tend to attempt to modify my documents. As this is will be an official program form where modifications are not permitted, I need a way to keep functionality, while protecting the rest of the document. But as I said, I see how I can use this on other forms that I am creating.

Moon Dawg gravatar imageMoon Dawg ( 2019-03-09 22:24:18 +0200 )edit
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Asked: 2019-03-09 18:41:12 +0200

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Last updated: Mar 09