It can also be used to execute code snippets to automate tasks in Acrobat and to analyze documents. It does not do everything needed to debug code, but it does provide a quick and easy way to perform most of the code development tasks you’ll ever need to do. In this article, we’ll cover setting up and using this essential tool. Note: Special instructions for using the Console Window with Reader are provided at the end of the article.
If this is your first time using the Console Window, you will need to enable and configure it from Acrobat’s Preferences settings.
This selection disables the Acrobat editor and grays out the font and size settings. However, these are still the settings used by the Console Window. If you want to change them you’ll need to temporarily enable the Acrobat editor to modify the settings, then reselect the external editor.
The shortcut key can be a bit tricky on the Macintosh because there are slight differences between the keyboards on laptop and desktop systems. So the keyboard shortcut is not always valid, but the tool button will always work. The tool panels are a new feature introduced in Acrobat X, so displaying the Console in earlier versions is slightly different. The Shortcut key is the same, but instead of a tool button, these earlier versions use a menu item.
The Console Window section of the Debugger is in the bottom portion of the dialog, in the area labeled View. In Figure 3, the View pull-down selection list is set to Console, meaning the Console Window is being shown. This area is also used to show the Script window for displaying runtime code when the debugger tools are enabled. In the figure, the Console is being shown immediately after Acrobat was started.
You can place it anywhere on the line as long as nothing is selected. Either of the two following actions will cause Acrobat to run the code. Acrobat always attempts to convert the result of an execution into text so that it can be displayed. Sometimes the result of an operation is not as clean or obvious as a number. Let’s try something that doesn’t have such a well-defined result.
It is much easier to find this kind of issue by executing individual lines in the Console Window where you can see the results immediately, than it is to debug it from a field-calculation script. The next line of example code is something that might be used in a real script. It assigns a simple addition to a variable named ‘sum’. As shown in Figure 6, the return value from this line of code is “undefined. The calculation is executed and applied to the declared variable, sum.
This action executes just the selected text. This technique of selecting parts of the code for execution is also useful for executing multiple lines of code. So far we’ve talked about executing code in the Console Window for testing and debugging, but there is no reason to restrict our usage to this limited theme.
For example, suppose you wanted to know the exact border color of a text field so you could use the same color in another location. Assuming the current document has a field with the correct name on it, the following code displays the raw color value in the Console Window:.
We can easily copy and paste this information to accomplish some other purpose, for example applying the color to another field with this line of code:.
Because of the loop, this code cannot be executed one line at a time. It has to be done all at once. Notice that in the loop there is a function called console. It’s in the fourth line. This function writes text to the Console Window and it will be discussed in the next section.
Here’s an example of a function that does not have an easy equivalent on the regular Acrobat menus and toolbars. Enter the following line into the Console Window and run it:.
Acrobat will create a new, blank PDF document. This is perfect for trying out new ideas before applying them to a working document. The results of this operation are shown in Figure 7 below.