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MediaBeacon University

How to Create a Custom Contact Sheet Cover Page

Administrators can define a custom contact sheet cover page on a per-group basis. In the example below (the default cover page in MediaBeacon 2018.X and 2019.X), only the text strings "Title Field" and "Description Field" are dynamic. These are designated per contact sheet created in the Create Contact Sheet dialog.

  • The file used as a cover page is a single-page PDF.
  • If inheriting the Title and Description strings is desired, the PDF file must include specifically-named form field elements.
  • The only way MediaBeacon effects the deign of this page is to supply the values (strings) of the Title and Description field.




Creating a Contact Sheet Cover Page

  1. Create a design.
    1. A tool like Adobe® InDesign works well for this, as it can natively create PDF files, but any PDF is a valid source. Please note that the fields that will be filled in are not designated at this time, this is done later with Acrobat Pro's form field functionality.

    2. It is recommended to create a cover page in standard Letter size (8.5" x 11").

    3. Save a PDF of your design.

  2. Open that PDF in Adobe® Acrobat Pro
    1. Any version of Acrobat able to create and edit form fields can be used. This guide shows Acrobat XI Pro, 11.0.23.
  3. Go to View > Tools > Forms
  4. The window will go into Form Editing Mode:


  5. Choose “Create", and the "Create Form" dialog will be displayed. Choose "From Existing Document", and press "Next >".


  6. The "Existing Form" dialog is displayed. Click "Current Document" and then "Continue".

  7. If there are any empty frames (as in the example) Acrobat will attempt to create form fields. This is an OCR-like process by Acrobat and not always exact, so some hand-adjustment is required

  8. Adjust the of the size and placement of these fields to align to the frame edges. Then, right-click  a field to edit its properties.

  9. In this dialog, designate one field "CatalogTitle" and the other "CatalogDescription". The Name and Tooltip do not need to match, but it's best practice to have them match or to leave the tooltip blank. See the Appendix for more from field properties.

  10. Save the PDF.
    1. Note: these fields can be further customized in Acrobat by setting font, text size, and paragraph formatting.

Configuring a Contact Sheet Cover Page

Contact sheet cover pages are assigned on the Group level in MediaBeacon. Note that there are configuration differences between 2018.x and 2019.x.

MediaBeacon 2019.X Configuration

  1. Log into MediaBeacon as a Global Administrator user, and go to “Manage > System", then to "Navigate >  Groups."
  2. Double-click the icon of the group you wish to edit. In the Edit Group dialog, next to "PDF Title Template" (an older name for the contact sheet cover page) click the "Upload" button and choose the PDF from above, and click the next "Upload" button.
  3. If necessary, the custom PDF may be cleared with the revert button to the right of the Upload
  4. Click “Update Group”, and leave the Admin Core.
  5. Once all users who are members of the group have logged out and back in again, the new coper page will be used for Contact Sheets.

MediaBeacon 2018.X Configuration

This version of MediaBeacon does not have a UI-based approach. In 2018.x, a custom contact sheet cover page can be be defined as a group specific cover page or as a fallback.

  1. Set system property. This defines the "template location" folder, within which the system will look for cover pages. The folder specified is the recommended location, and is relative to <Shared Files Directory>/m-userinfo/.
  1. After this property is set, MediaBeacon must be restarted.
  2. Name Cover Page Files
    1. The names of PDFs residing in the "template location" directory affect their function. No restart of MediaBeacon is required when new cover pages PDF files are added or changed in this directory, as MediaBeacon checks this directory each time a catalog is made.
    2. Default (Fallback) Cover Page: This will be used when a group has no specific pdf specified.

      1. pdfCoverpage.pdf

    3. Group-specific Cover Page: This will be used for a given group, replacing the string "groupname", without the "<>".

      1. <groupname>.template.pdf


Text Field Properties in Acrobat Pro

Appearance Tab


  • Borders: If your design did not start with boxes as graphic elements, you can add a border to text frames directly.
  • The "Font Size" property may be set to "Auto". If this is set, the text this box inherits will scale in size to fit the box. If this is not desirable, set the Font Size to a static value.
  • Font may be set here to provide a consistent look in your forms. It is not recommended to use custom fonts that are not likely to be on the user's system.

Position Tab


  • If necessary, very fine adjustments to size and position of fields can be made here.

Options Tab


  • Alignment can be set here.
  • Default Value: leave this blank.
  • Check Spelling is not required.
  • Multi-line will align text to the top of the field, allowing text to wrap. If this is off, the text will appear vertically centered in the form field and will be truncated if the string size exceeds the box size.
  • Scroll long text: Only useful if the PDF on a computer. 

Creating Form Field PDFs Directly From InDesign

Adobe® InDesign can be used to create a PDF with form fields, however, pertinent field properties will still need to be edited in Acrobat Pro (Font-Size, Font, Check  Spelling, Multi-line, and Scroll Long Text). This technique is most useful to create form fields in exact positions.

In InDesign:

  1. Add Window > Interactive > Buttons and Forms to your toolbar.
  2. Choose a frame to make into a form field.
  3. In the Buttons and Forms panel, choose Type: Text Field.
  4. Enter the correct name of the Field.
  5. Note: The multi-line and scrollable options can be adjusted here.
  6. Save the INDD file
  7. Choose File > Export, and choose format "Interactive PDF"indd-export-dialog.png
  8. From here, edit the properties of the fields as necessary in Acrobat Pro.
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