How to create a fillable pdf

With Jotform’s fillable PDF form creator, you can create customized PDF forms that users can easily fill out and submit from their digital devices.

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In just minutes, create a fillable PDF form that can be used anywhere, regardless of device or internet access.

Jotform’s fillable PDF form creator allows you to

How to create a fillable pdf

Add fillable form fields, such as blank text areas, checkboxes, and multiple-choice questions.

How to create a fillable pdf

Email your form or embed it on your website so users can fill it out on their laptops, desktops, cell phones, or tablets.

How to create a fillable pdf

Insert a signature field so users can sign their name with ease.

How to create a fillable pdf

Как сделать PDF заполняемым:

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Below we show how to convert a PDF to a fillable form

Select an existing PDF document

Click on ‘Upload’ to choose a file.No existing document? Start with a blank template.

Add fillable form fields to your PDF form

Go over your document’s existing content and add fillable form fields where necessary.

You can choose from the following field types:

  1. Text Field: single text line
  2. Textarea: multiple text lines
  3. Radio: select only one from a group
  4. Checkbox: tick one or more choices
  5. Dropdown: choose one or more options from a drop-down list

How to create a fillable PDF text field

Click on the text field item from the menu. The click on the page to place a new text field.

Create checkboxes, radio buttons or dropdown

All other form fields can be added the same way

Change border color

Have form fields with a transparent border or pick the color that suits you best.

Control form field names and other properties

Define the name for each form field and configure specific field properties, such as multiselect, export values and more.

Save your document

Click on ‘Apply changes’. When processing completes, save your updated document.

You should have a fillable PDF document that can be easily filled out electronically, without printing.

1. Open the Word document that you want to make into a PDF form.

How to create a fillable pdf

2. Go to File -> Print, make sure “Adobe PDF” is selected as your printer, and then click the Print button.

How to create a fillable pdf

3. Word will ask you where to save the PDF file you’re creating. Select your desktop or Fileshare and click OK.

4. Your computer will create a PDF file, which will then open automatically in the Adobe Acrobat PDF editing program.

5. At this point you have a basic PDF document, but you still need to tell Acrobat to make it a fillable form. To proceed, click the Tools button, then the Forms button, and then Create.

How to create a fillable pdf

6. Acrobat will ask you a couple of questions. On the first screen, make sure “Use an existing file” is selected, then click Next.

How to create a fillable pdf

7. On the next screen, make sure “Use the current document” is selected, then click Next.

How to create a fillable pdf

8. Acrobat will attempt to recognize all the fillable fields in your form. It’s not perfect. You’ll probably have to edit a few of the fields manually, since Acrobat usually sets decorative lines incorrectly as fillable fields.

9. If you see a form field you want to remove, click on it (it will highlight in blue) and press the Delete button on your keyboard. You aren’t deleting the line, merely the field that Acrobat set incorrectly.

How to create a fillable pdf

10. When you think your form is ready, click the Preview button to see how it appears to someone who is filling it out.

How to create a fillable pdf

11. If you want to make additional changes, click “Edit” to return to the form editor. Otherwise, go to File -> Save As and save your finished form.

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How to use PDF Form Filler

1 Upload PDF file to our online Form Filler

Fill out your PDF documents in a flash with our PDF filler! To turn a PDF into a fillable form: select choose file to upload a file, or simply drag-and-drop PDF files directly into the converter box from your desktop. Or, click on an icon to upload PDF documents or PDF files from an online cloud storage service such as Google Drive or Dropbox.

2 Load Soda PDF Online & fill out PDF forms

Once uploaded, our online software solution will open your PDF file in the PDF Form Filler tool for you to edit PDF forms. Our PDF filler is packed with all of the essential features you need to create a fillable PDF form for free* online. From there, you can modify your PDF document and fill out PDF forms using our free* PDF editor tools; fill in text fields, check off checkboxes, add form fields, make selections from radio buttons, and much more!

3 Save to your computer

Once you’ve filled in your PDF form online using our PDF editor, save the PDF to your computer and view the file in your browser. The content in the PDF fillable forms will remain saved regardless of the device or viewer used. You can also continue to modify your document if you wish. After all, the online software you’re using to edit PDF files, convert PDF files, or fill more PDF files is none other than Soda PDF Online, our fully-featured PDF editing software!

How to create a fillable pdf

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With Soda PDF, you don’t just fill forms or PDF documents, you can create new ones as well! We offer a lot of form field types such as checkboxes, radio buttons, text entry fields, and more. Choose your own custom fillable form, add your text, and place it anywhere in your document. Make your PDF forms as unique as you are! Fill out PDF forms with our easy-to-use PDF forms features. Access this online PDF forms tool for a simple one-click solution, or try our PDF form filling tools in our fully-featured FREE* PDF editor: Soda PDF Online & Soda PDF Desktop.

Learn more about PDF Form Filler

Add push buttons & share your PDF files

Add custom-made push buttons to your files using the Push Button feature. Push buttons are configurable with any JavaScript command. Want to share your PDF form files with others but you’re facing limitations? Then try our online PDF Compress tool to reduce the size of your document! All the information in your form will be preserved and your document will be easier to share, making your PDF files more interactive for your readers.

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Try other FREE* PDF tools

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*Size and daily usage limitations may apply. Avanquest 2022, all rights reserved.

How to create a fillable pdf

PDFs are excellent to use when you want to create a sleek, professional-looking digital brochure or pamphlet. However, they are just as useful for creating electronic forms that you can pass along to customers, business partners, and even potential new employees for various purposes. However, has your team found itself asking “how can we make an editable PDF form easily?” The steps necessary for this process aren’t always easy to see—another important question for the team on a budget: how to create a fillable PDF without Acrobat.

You could choose to use online solutions, such as making a “template” in Google Docs, but this doesn’t provide you with the same versatility and range of options. Instead, you could opt for more affordable PDF editing solutions, such as Kofax Power PDF. Take a look at why PDF forms are the right choice and how Power PDF makes quick work of this vital task.

Types of Forms You Can Create with PDFs

What are some of the types of forms you can create with Power PDF?

  • Fillable text boxes. Useful when you need to create space for freeform responses, such as for questions on an employment application.
  • Checkboxes. Ideal for creating lists where multiple options are acceptable answers.
  • Radio buttons, for locking in a user’s choice on a single answer.
  • Digital signatures, to allow users to sign and endorse documents for official use.

How to Use Power PDF to Make Interactive PDFs

Power PDF offers users two main options for those wondering how to create an interactive PDF form:

  • The automatic “Form Typer” function. When you have existing PDF forms with static fields, Form Typer automatically identifies these areas and creates the appropriate forms.
  • Manual form field creation. Useful for when you’re building a PDF from scratch or adding new fields to a PDF, you can create all the many types of fillable forms with just a few clicks. Select the location and set the size for the form to create it directly in the document.

Users will find all these options in the “Forms” ribbon, with easily accessible buttons for each type of form, the Form Typer feature, and additional tools.

To use the Form Typer on a document that already has visible fields, follow these steps:

  1. Open the document in Power PDF and select the “Forms” tab, converting to PDF if necessary.
  2. Click “Form Typer.” Power PDF automatically activates any detected fields.
  3. Use the additional form tools on the toolbar to add or activate any fields not detected by Form Typer.
  4. Save your document.

If you’re sharing forms publicly, don’t forget to lock down fillable fields that you don’t want users to change or modify. For example, you may need to allow users to fill out a portion of the PDF while your office staff fills out the rest. Simple password protection and other field-related permissions are easy to apply within Power PDF.

Streamline Processes with Better Forms Today

Whether you need to create an intake form for new clients, invoices for sales agents to fill out, or any other type of fillable form, Power PDF takes the hassle out of the task. Quickly and easily learn how to add, edit, modify, and lock fields in all types of forms. Instead of figuring out how to create a fillable PDF in Google Docs, take advantage of Power PDF and add extensive document manipulation capabilities to your arsenal today.

Foxit PDF Editor provides a group of buttons that can be used to create and design form fields in interactive PDF forms. You are able to add form fields like push buttons, text fields, check boxes, combo boxes, list boxes and radio buttons to an interactive PDF form and specify their properties.

There are seven basic buttons to add form fields for you to create an interactive PDF form:

How to create a fillable pdfForm Fields

Note: To create the same type of form fields continuously without reselecting the same tool, you can select Keep Tool Selected in the Form tab.

6 thoughts on “ How to create fillable PDF forms ”

This seems to be useless if you need to start from scratch. I have a form made in a different program that it cannot recognize so I cannot update. I tried to start over from scratch but the program is not easy to navigate or find solutions. I have searched your pages looking for help, I have googled looking for help. Why is it so hard to build from scratch? Been trying for nearly 2 hours to figure out how to put a stupid background color in a header. Plenty of directions on font color, I need background and not entire page, just the header. This is NOT a user friendly program. Will be asking IT to cancel and request a refund.

Hi Tracey! When you add the existing form did you try the button “Run Form Field Recognition” under the “form” tab in Foxit PDF Editor?
We have a tutorial on how to create fillable PDF forms which you might find helpful: https://www.foxit.com/support/tutorial.html?open=phantom-Interactive-Forms
Here’s a workaround for the header background: You can add a rectangle on the top of your page. To do so please go to Comment > Drawing > Rectangle. Draw the rectangle where you want it and adjust the size if necessary. In the panel on the right side, you can set the line color, fill color, and opacity. You can copy and paste the rectangle to put it on the other pages. When you’re done right mouse click the rectangle choose “Properties”, and then check “Locked”, and the rectangle can’t be moved anymore. Hope this helps. In case you still need help, please contact our support.

Can Phantom create fillable forms that are expandable? The scenarios:
1. A text box that is appeared one line initially on the form but allow user to enter more text and it automatically expand to multiple line. This would allow a product description text box accepting a wide range of content sizes. Some product description can extend to a dozen of lines.
2. Create a table for order item entry with at least one item but a user can add more rows in order to add more items.
3. When the content is extended into another page, the content must be properly separated with header and footer in place on each page.

If Phantom can do these, can you share a link to the document that shows how to do these, please?

Jack, please submit a ticket via https://www.foxit.com/support/ticket.html to get support on this.

The pop-up window for properties almost never shows up when right-clicking the form I have created. It maybe launches the properties pop-up window about 15% of the time. Very frustrating and unable to use this functionality.

PDF form is a popular format for fillable forms for a number of reasons:

  • Uniform appearance which is critical for business and legal documents
  • PDF remains intact regardless of the device and operating system
  • The form looks similar to the paper form which is critical for non-techy team members who used to work with paper forms for years
  • Digital signature
  • Security. It is possible to make form fields required, hidden, view-only. Moreover, the form itself can be protected with a password.

In this article you’ll learn how to create a PDF form in Adobe Acrobat Pro and Fluix.

Note: in case you need to create a form for your individual use, we advise you to create it in Adobe Acrobat. To create fillable forms for collaboration with your team, choose Fluix mobile form filling and workflow automation platform.

Creating a form in Adobe Acrobat Pro

Note: to create a form in Adobe, start with a trial account, or buy a license.

To start creating a form, open Adobe Acrobat Pro and click Prepare Form.

In the suggested list of options you will need to either select a form you already have in a different format, or select Create New to create a form from scratch.

In the opened interface you will see the menu of elements on top of the page:

To add an element, drag & drop it from the menu to the form.

To change the properties of the added field, double click on it:

Here you can learn how to add date, image, signature fields, and get other tips on form creation.

Creating a form in Fluix

Note: To create a form in Fluix, you can use a 14-day trial account.

To start creating a form in Fluix, open Fluix admin portal and navigate to Actions -> Create PDF Form.

Choose whether you want to create a form from scratch, or edit an existing form.In the Form Builder menu, you will see a list of elements on the left. Tap on any of them to start creating a form. To create a form faster, you can choose blocks:

By clicking on the added element, you will see its properties:

To delete or duplicate an element, hover your mouse pointer over it and choose the option:

To add a new page, click Add page at the bottom:

To delete a page,click on the garbage bin icon in the right upper corner of the page:

Once the form is ready, click Save Changes in the top right corner and choose the option you need:

To start using this form in your daily work of your team, create a workflow.

Data submitted to Web forms can be used to fill PDF forms.

Example use case: Students need to complete a form, but an original signature on paper is required. Web form and Fill PDF can be used together to allow the student to complete the form in their web browser and download a PDF of the completed form, which they print, sign, and return.

This allows you to get forms on paper, but without having to worry about reading messy handwriting or retyping the data in a database.

To get started, you will need:

  • A fillable PDF form. You can make this in software like Adobe Acrobat Pro (available through the IST Webstore) or LibreOffice (free download).
  • A WCMS Web form configured to collect the information you need. There is no special configuration of the Web form for it to work with Fill PDF.

Configuring your fillable PDF

  1. My Workbench > Create/Manage Content tab > Web form > Manage PDFs

    Optionally, provide an Administrative title.

    This title will be displayed in download links.

    Click in the Value box, and then enter the corresponding token for this field.

  • Token for webform submissions: [submission:values:insert-form-key]
  • Token for form component under a fieldset: [submission:values:fieldset:form-key]
  • Note: form keys can be located in the Form components sub-tab of your Web form

Testing your Fillable PDF

After configuring your Fillable PDF it is recommended to test your Web form to see that each field is filling correctly. To do this:

  1. Make a submission to your web form by filling out each field.
  2. Return to the Edit PDF form page.
  3. Under Fill PDF from default node, click Download this PDF filled with data from the default node (#).

Providing users the option to download the Fillable PDF

Now that the Fillable PDF has been configured and tested, the next step is to provide the option for users who complete your web form to download their filled PDF. There are two options:

  1. Link on the Web form (Authenticated usersonly):
    • Update web form settings:
      • Under Submission access, set to Authenticated users only. This requires Open authentication to be enabled. If you do not want this enabled, see Option two (link on confirmation page).
      • Under Advanced settings, enable show previous submissions.
    • When users make a submission to your form, they will need to click Go back to form.
    • Users will see a green box at the top of the page letting them know:
      • That they have already submitted to the form, and can view previous submissions.
      • That they can download a PDF of their most recent submission.

Learn how to create fillable PDF forms in Microsoft® Word®. Get a free Word template that demonstrates best practices for Adobe® Acrobat® Automatic Field Detection.

Fillable PDF forms are based on documents created in other software like Microsoft Word.

Once a Word document is converted to a PDF, there are two ways to add fillable form fields:

  • Fast Way: The Adobe® Acrobat® Automatic Field Detection feature
  • Slow Way: Manually adding in form fields in Acrobat

Watch the tutorial video to learn how to design Word forms that convert to Fillable PDF forms with the least amount of effort.

Free Word Form Template to Create PDF Forms

Attached below is an example Word document that has sections designed to be auto recognized by Adobe Acrobat’s Automatic Field Detection feature.

Use this Word document as a template for creating your own word forms.

Tested Word Form Layouts That Convert to PDF Fields

Inserting tables in Word creates a framework for captions and fillable fields to occupy. How you size cells in a table makes a difference in the end user experience when converted to a PDF form. How you position caption text helps Adobe Acrobat identify fields more accurately.

Caption Text Position

When fields are to the right of captions, setting the caption text to right justified helps Acrobat place the fillable field into the correct cell. When captions are over top of fields (or in columns), left or center justification works fine.

Caption Text Font Size

Setting the caption text font size to about 1/2 the hieght of the fillable text areas allows more room for longer captions. Also, Acrobat better identifies the smaller text as a caption.

Example of Side-by-Side Fields (a good way to condense data)

Example of Vertical Stacked Fields (if you have room, this layout is easier to use than side by side)

Example of Captions Over Top

Example of Colum Fields

Form Field Row Height Settings

Setting the row height to a minimum of .30 allows end users enough space to use PDF forms on tablets and smaller laptops. This also helps Acrobat to properly auto identify fields.

How to create a fillable pdf

Enable your PDF forms to work in all Web Browsers

FormRouter has a service that renders PDF forms in all major Web Browsers (Chrome®, Safari®, Firefox® and IE) on all major devices (PCs, MACs, iPads®, iPhones®, Android® Tablets and Phones).

How to create a fillable pdf

If you have a Microsoft Word document that you would like to turn into a digitally fillable form, you have a number of options available. You can create a fillable form in Word itself, so that other people can fill out the form without editing the underlying document. You can also use Adobe Acrobat and other PDF tools to convert a Word document to an editable form that anyone with PDF-compatible software can fill out. Online tools for collecting document responses and signatures can also generate fillable forms for things like contracts that you can then distribute.

Understanding Fillable Form Technology

Ordinarily if you create a form for something like a survey or a contract as a Word document and send it to someone, you run the risk that they will accidentally or intentionally alter the document before filling it out and sending it back. This can be an issue if people haven’t signed and completed the forms that you expect.

An alternative is to send an image or uneditable PDF of a form, or even a paper copy. You can then ask people to fill it out by hand and mail it back, fax it to you or scan it and email back the completed form. This can be unwieldy, though, and requires your recipient to either have a printer and scanner or for you to wait for postal mail delivery.

An alternative is to use digital tools to create a form that someone can fill out on a computer and smart phone and send back to you digitally. If you’re going to be using the form to collect signatures or agreements, make sure you’re legally compliant with whatever requirements are in place in your area for legally binding digital signatures. If the form collects any kind of sensitive information, make sure you’re collecting and storing it in a way that preserves people’s privacy and complies with the law. You may not be able to use email to collect some sensitive information for this reason.

Creating a Fillable PDF

Use Adobe Acrobat or other PDF editing software to create a fillable PDF. Create a Word document and save it in Word, then open Acrobat. Click the “Tools” menu and click “Prepare Form.” Select the Word file to import. Acrobat will detect potential form fields and add them automatically, but you can use the tools in the right editing pane to adjust them, delete them or add new form fields. When you’re done, you can save the form and send it to other people to fill out.

You can also use Acrobat to distribute the form, emailing it to people and collecting their responses in your inbox or through a system such as Microsoft SharePoint. Click the “Distribute” button, select how you want to receive the responses and click “Continue.” Enter the recipient addresses or select them from your address book. Select “Collect Name & Email from Recipients To Provide Optimal Tracking,” if you want information about who’s received and filed out the form, or leave it blank to keep things anonymous.

Create Form in Word

You can also create a fillable form in Word itself that other people can fill out using Word. You must have the “Developer” tab visible in Word. To show it, click the “File” tab, then click “Options” and “Customize Ribbon.” Under “Main tabs,” select “Developer” and click “OK.”

Then, create a new document. If you want to use an existing Word form template, you can use the “Search online templates” option in the Word New Document menu to find one that fits your needs.

Once the document is created, use the options on the Developer tab to add form fields in Word. For example, you can insert a “Rich Text Content Control” for people to enter text or create drop-down menus and check boxes. Add text to the form as well to tell people what to enter where.

After the form is created as you want, protect it from other people editing it by selecting all the form elements and text, clicking “Restrict Editing” in the Developer tab. Then click “Yes, Start Enforcing Restrictions.” Email or otherwise distribute the form to its recipients to fill out, and then have them send it back to you.

  • University of California, Davis: Create a Fillable PDF Form from a Word Document
  • Microsoft: Create a Fillable Form
  • PDF Element: How to Make a Word Document Fillable
  • Adobe: Convert Existing Forms to Fillable Fields
  • Adobe: Creating and Distributing PDF Forms
  • After publishing your converted PDF document, open it in a PDF editing application to ensure that all text has been transferred over as editable form fields. If text hasn’t been detected as editable form fields, you’ll need to convert it within the editing application.
  • Generally, the free PDF applications that are on the market have limited editing capabilities. Many do not have such capabilities at all, which is why they are free; these tend to be limited to viewing only. Free PDF applications that do offer editing include PDF-XChange Viewer, PDFescape and LibreOffice. Fee-based, full-featured versions go beyond viewing and offer users full editing tools, for example, Acrobat X has the TouchUp Properties feature for text editing.

Steven Melendez is an independent journalist with a background in technology and business. He has written for a variety of business publications including Fast Company, the Wall Street Journal, Innovation Leader and Business BVI. He was awarded the Knight Foundation scholarship to Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.