Mobile Form Builder Tips
Form Builder is a very versatile program. It provides you the ability to integrate your own forms in Aptora Mobile II and capitalize on the data captured. Form Builder is an add-on to the mobile platform. If there were a simple button for this product, everyone would have the same form There are four programs utilized in getting the best out of the program. These programs are:
- Adobe Acrobat DC (or comparable PDF editor) – This product is NOT an Aptora product. This is the designer you will use to design and modify PDF output files generated by Aptora Mobile II.
- Aptora Mobile Form Builder – This is an Aptora product. It is the program which allows you to create your own custom forms for anyone to complete in the Aptora Mobile II application. The designer helps you marry the PDF to Aptora Mobile II.
- Aptora Mobile II – This is an Aptora product. This is the web application which technicians and office personnel access to complete tasks. This application is typically the program technicians use to access their work orders generated by Total Office Manager.
- Total Office Manager – This is an Aptora product. This is the desktop application used by the office staff. All information entered in Aptora Mobile II and Aptora Mobile Form Builder are accessible from within Total Office Manager wither through the respective forms (work orders, invoices, purchase orders, timesheets, etc.) , document links, an Custom Data Views.
Before you start with creating forms, it is important to start with the end in mind. One of the first things to decide is what is the desired outcome. Do you want a printable form you can email to a customer? Are you wanting a form which is easily accessible by the office? Are you just needing a checklist to attach to a work order or invoice? Once you decide, this will help you determine if you need a PDF output file. Remember, not all forms require a PDF.
Here are things to help minimize frustrations when building forms.
- Already have a form designed AND it is in a PDF format? You are halfway there. This will cut down on your design time.
- Don’t have a PDF created and you want to create one? Start in MS Word or MS Excel and create your desired form layout. You can then save the completed design as a PDF you will edit in Adobe (or like PDF editor).
- When adding fields to your PDF, keep names short and without spaces or special characters. Examples: ManagerName, BillToAddress, or TechCellPhone.
- The most common field types to use in a PDF are:
- Checkbox: Used with Yes/No options.
- Radio Buttons: These can be used instead of Yes/No fields. They are useful when you are presenting a limited number of options and only one option may be accepted. Example: Clean or Dirty.
- Button: Used for signatures.
- Textbox: Used for all other field types.
- Make sure to include a field for a Primary Selector on every form. Primary Selectors provide database information for the primary record you are creating the form from. There are currently four (4) Primary Selectors: Customer, Employee, Vendor, and Company Asset. Only one Primary Selector may be added to a single form.
- When adding Primary Selectors to forms, the PDF Field Name in Form Builder will default to the name you provide for the Primary Selector with an underscore followed by the database field name. You can change this to match your defined field name in the PDF.
- You may include multiple Remote Selectors on your forms. Remote Selectors allow you to associate related records for the Primary Selector or company file from the database. There are currently five (5) Remote Selectors: Customer, Customer Equipment, Employee, Vendor, and Company Asset.
- When adding Remote Selectors to the forms, this is the one PDF Field Name you may not change in Form Builder. To print the field value in the PDF output, you must enter the Properties Field Name as the field name in the PDF.
- Use copy and paste functions to your advantage. If your form has the same row/column data repeated, you can copy and paste the layout multiple times. Then go back and change the name to unique values.
- Select multiple fields by holding down CTRL and clicking the fields you wish to highlight. You can also drag your mouse across a section of fields to highlight them.
- Move one or more fields using the arrow keys. You can hyper move fields by holding down the SHIFT key while using the arrows.
- Change the size of one or more fields by holding down the CTRL key while using the arrows.
- Quickly align fields to the same right, left, top, or bottom placement by highlighting the fields you wish to align, right click, and choose the option to Align.
- Set fields to the same height and/or width by highlighting the fields you wish to align, right click, and choose the option to Set Fields to Same Size.
- Change some of the Properties of multiple fields by highlighting, right click, and choose Properties. Here you can set the font type, size, color, borders, etc.
Mobile Form Design
- Make sure you have a training database to create forms in BEFORE dispersing them to the rest of the company. This will allow you time to test design, tweak flows, and processes.
- Have more than one monitor. Three is ideal for form creation. You will want to have the PDF, the designer, and your mobile website open at the same time.
- Once you have all your fields in the designer, open the form in your mobile site to test layout and form load. If you do not close out of the designer, you may continue to make changes to fields. Once you make changes, click F5 on the mobile webpage to see the updated form layout changes.
- Use headers for grouping of like or section data! This will give you a cleaner look in the mobile application.
- If you do not see distinct sections when using headings, this means you are missing an ending to a heading. Each header must have a footer (Header End0 to close the section.
- You can add fields on the form to capture data that does not appear on the PDF.
- Once you have the layout completed for the mobile form, then test the field entry for printing. When you generate the report, check to make sure all fields are populating onto the PDF. If they are not, either the PDF Field Names do not match between the form and the PDF or the field is corrupted.
- Create default PDF templates and forms to store base information like company headings, customer defaults, equipment details, etc. This saves time in recreating this information.
Training & Implementation
- Once you have verified the form is working, have an employee review the printed results for feedback. Seeing the results before training on the functionality helps get most people on board.
- Train on the functionality in the training environment. Test out the flow. Answer questions as they arise. During this training, you may find you need to modify the form. Delete existing forms created to modify your existing fields and/or layout.
- Once you have finalized the form, copy the finished form to your live company file, set security for the form, and go.