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by Dimitri Munkirs of WindJack Solutions.
Copyright © 2005 by WindJack Solutions, Inc

How to Use AcroButtons to Turn Any Acrobat Menu Item Into a One-Click Toolbar Button



This article will show you step by step how to use AcroButtons to turn any Acrobat Menu Item into a useful one-click toolbar button.  Why would you want to do this?  How is this helpful?  Here are two good reasons-

  1. Provides end users who are not well versed with Acrobat, but who need to use it for your work-flow, with a highly visible one-click option to perform something that otherwise might require them to hunt through multi levels of menus in Acrobat.
  2. Do you routinely use Menu item options in Acrobat?  Tired of walking that menu every day?  Turning those Menu items into toolbar buttons gives you one-click access- a valuable time saver.
  3. Toolbar buttons you create with AcroButtons can be passed out to anyone- your work-group, clients, etc.  End users don’t have to own the AcroButtons tool to use the function you create with it.

This article has two parts.  The first part shows you step by step how to use AcroButtons to create a Menu Item report- this is a list of all Menu Items available in the version of Acrobat you are using.  This report is handy to have since some of the Menu Item names in Acrobat are not the same as the name used for it in Acrobat JavaScript code.  An example of this is the “Search” menu item.  The underlying name for search used for JavaScript coding is “Find” not Search.

  Creating a Menu Item Report with AcroButtons

1.      Start by clicking the    symbol to create a new toolbar button.  Enter a name for your new button (no spaces allowed) and choose an image for it.  Details on image selection can be found in the AcroButton’s User’s Manual or in the step-by-step guide for toolbar button creation “AcroButtons Quick Start Guide.”

 NOTE: If this button will be used in Acrobat 7 you may also wish to add a text label for your toolbar button by entering it in the Label area.  Figure 1. below shows the Label as “Menu Item Report.”

Figure 1.  This screen shot shows the first steps in creating a new toolbar button- naming the button, selecting the image, and choosing a Label for Acrobat 7 users.

 2.      Click the “Select a JavaScrippet” button.  Choose Tools -> Create Menu/Button Report as shown below in Figure 2.


Figure2. Select the JavaScrippet for creating a Menu Item Report

 3.      The JavaScrippet Pre-Viewer window will appear.  Leave all settings at their default values and click Use This Scrippet.

 4.      AcroButtons gives you the option to have your toolbar button always enabled or only enabled when a PDF document is open.  Let’s set our button to always be enabled.  Click on the Advanced button.  The window will expand to show all of the advanced features available in AcroButtons.  For this example we’ll just make use of the “Always Enabled” feature by selecting that option as shown in Fig. 3

 NOTE:  Fig.3 also shows a check box option to set this main dialog to open with the Advanced features expanded all the time (bottom left corner) - a handy box to check if you regularly use the Advanced features.


Figure3.  Setting the Enable Function to Always

 5.      Click Save.

 6.      Enter a file name in the dialog Select a File to Store the AcroButton In or use the default which is the name chosen for the button in Step 1 (in this case, MenuItemReport).

 7.      Click Save.  Click Close.

 8.      Your new button is now on the Acrobat Add-ons toolbar.  If you do not have the Add-ons toolbar activated do so now. Acrobat -> View -> Toolbars -> Add-on Tools.

 9.      Fig. 4 shows the new Menu Item Report toolbar button in Acrobat 6 (Acrobat 7 toolbar not shown). 


Figure4.  New Menu Item Report toolbar button in Acrobat 6

 10.  Click on the new toolbar button.  Choose Menu Item Report in the dialog that appears.  The script creates a new PDF document and fills it with a report of all Acrobat Menu Items (Fig. 5).  This report can be saved or printed like any other PDF, or re-generated any time you want by just one-click on your new toolbar button.


Figure5.  Menu Item Report for Acrobat 6.02 Professional


Creating a Toolbar Button for Any Acrobat Menu Item of Your Choice

Now that we have the Menu Item Report let’s pick something from the list to make into a one-click toolbar button.  As you can see there are hundreds of Menu Items in Acrobat.  For this example I’ll use the Go To Previous Page command.  Figure 1 shows this in the list of commands from the Menu Item Report.  Notice the ** denotes the actual name of the command- so the command for GoTo PrevPage is “PrevPage” not GoTo PrevPage.


Figure 1.  Section of the Acrobat Menu Item Report

 1.      Click the     symbol for creating a new button.  As in Part 1, give the button a name, choose an image for the button (I used the Quick Select option and chose one of the images included with AcroButtons), enter a Label if working with Acrobat 7, and give your button a custom Tool Tip if you wish.  Figure 2.  shows how this dialog box should look.


Figure 2.  Setting up the button file.


2.      Click the Advanced button.  You’ve seen this from Part 1 but here we are going to enter our own line of code instead of choosing one of the included JavaScrippets.

3.      The JavaScript code for creating a Menu item is a simple one-liner-

 app.execMenuItem("name of menu item")

All we need to do to make this line of code work for our GoTo PrevPage is to replace the “name of menu item” with the actual menu item name we want- in our case this will result in


4.      Click the button labeled Action Code Edit to access the action code entry dialog box.  Enter the line of code as shown below in Fig 3.


Figure 3.  Entered code in the Action Code dialog box.

 5.      Click OK.  You have now set up all the parameters for your new toolbar button.  The dialog box should look like the one below in Fig 4.


 6.      Click Save and enter a File Name.  This file is the one you would hand out to other users you want to have this one-click functionality.  The new GoTo PrevPage button is now on the Acrobat Add-ons toolbar.  With one click, you can go to the previous page in any multi-page document open in Acrobat.  Remember too- you can also move this file to Reader and it will work there as well.

That’s it on how to create toolbar buttons for any Menu Item in Acrobat using AcroButtons.  Pretty simple isn’t it?  Yet this simple act gives you the power to automate those pesky menu- walking tasks you do all the time, or lets you pass these buttons out to your co-workers who can never remember where that darn Menu item is at.

More How To articles for AcroButtons to come- if you have a topic you would like covered please let us know.  And, if you have any input on this article I’d love to hear from you (just remember- I’m no programmer!)

Dimitri Munkirs
WindJack Solutions, Inc.


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