How to Make a PDF Fillable the Easy Way

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Fillable PDF forms are a huge convenience. They include fillable fields, check boxes, and drop down menus.

Fillable PDF forms save time, paper, and ink. They are a great way for businesses to receive information needed easily and quickly.

Being able to make a PDF a fillable form gives you the opportunity to fill in a document from your computer, without having to print it out, scan, and return. 

People are all about convenience and taking the easiest route, so the ability to fill something in digitally is the best option.

Here we are going to cover how to create fillable pdf forms in Adobe, Word, and other great free fillable PDF platforms.

how to make a pdf fillable

How to Make a PDF Document Fillable

Why would you want to make a PDF file fillable?

Maybe you want to create a budget planner to sell and want your buyers to be able to fill it in digitally without having to print it. Or you could also have a content calendar that you want to be able to fill in easily on your computer, and then print out to have it handy. 

Whatever the reason is, you may be wondering how you can make a PDF file fillable.

There are many different options to do this, with both free and paid options. The most popular way of creating a fillable PDF is by using Adobe Acrobat. It is a very in-depth and quality platform that is perfect for businesses to use for making fillable PDFs.

Adobe is a paid platform, but you get the extra tools and features to make it worth it. They have monthly and annual paid subscription plans.

There are also free options for creating fillable PDF. files. Some of those options are PDFescape, the free version of Jotform, and ApowerPDF.

These are all great alternatives to Acrobat and can do much of what you need to create a basic fillable document. 

We will cover ways that you can make a PDF document fillable more in depth in this article.

How to Make a PDF fillable in Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

Adobe Acrobat is a great way to take a PDF and turn it into a fillable form. Grab your copy of their Creative Cloud here.

You can do this from scratch, convert one from a Microsoft Word, or you can even have the ability to upload an image from your smartphone or a scanned paper document. 

Canva is also a great place to create a template for free to turn into a fillable PDF document.

Using something called optical character recognition, Adobe extracts text and converts it into an editable and searchable PDF.

This makes it simple to turn a paper document into a fillable form to use. Here are the basic steps on how to make a PDF fillable in Adobe. 

You’ll first click Tools, then select Prepare From. Choose Create New, and then click Start to get started on your document.

Next, you will save the PDF, then click Add text in the toolbar and add any information that you need to add into your form. 

There is also an option for you to add an image, such as a logo, by selecting the Add Image tool, select the image, click OK, and then place it at the desired location.

If you need to change any existing text boxes or images, you can just click edit in the toolbar. 

To add in the fillable pdf forms, you will need to choose your preferred field type from the toolbar, or by right-clicking somewhere on the form and choosing the Form Field tool. This is how to add in areas that you want to be fillable.

You will then need to click the desired location with your mouse to place the selected field, and then you can set the field properties, like an email address or first name. Once finished, you can save the form. 

Using an existing document

Have a form that you already have and want to make it fillable? You can also do that with Adobe.

To make an existing form fillable, you will first click the Tools tab and select Prepare form. You’ll then select the file that you are wanting to turn into a fillable PDF. Once you select it, Adobe will automatically start to analyze the document and add in those form fields.

You can also add in new form fields if needed. To make any adjustments, you can use the top toolbar and adjust the layout there. Once everything looks right, you can save it and begin using your completed fillable PDF!

Saving and sending your form

Once you have your form completed, you can send your form where it needs to go! You can send out your form directly from Adobe Acrobat with an internal server or email.

To send your form using an email, you will click on Distribute in the lower-right corner, choose Email as your method, and enter the email addresses for the recipients of your fillable PDF by using semicolons. 

Want to use the basics of this form in the future? You can do that!

To save it as a template, all you will need to do is open up your original file and choose Save as. Rename your new file and then make any necessary changes you need to use it for your next fillable form. 

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How to Make a Word Document Fillable

If you do not have the access to Adobe Acrobat, you can also use Microsoft Word to make a document fillable.

The way you will do this will look slightly different for the PC version and Mac versions of Microsoft Word, so we will cover both ways of making a Word document fillable. 

Making a Word Document Fillable on a Mac

To begin adding text fields that are fillable on your document, you will need to first go into Microsoft Word and locate the Developer tab.

To do this you will need to click on the Word menu at the top, and click on Preferences.

From here you will select View, then check the Show Developer Tab option. Press Ok, and go back into your document. 

After this, you can choose from the options of Text Box, Check Box, and Combo Box. By clicking one, this will insert the blank fillable field into your document. The Text Box adds fillable fields that control how text appears on a form. 

You can click on the Options icon to open up a box where you can choose the input type.

For example, if you have a text box and are needing a date in that spot, you can pick Date under the “Type’ heading. It allows you to add placeholder text as well. 

The Check Box option allows you to add a simple checkable box. You can customize whether you want the default to be checked or unchecked. 

Finally, you can add a Combo Box which creates a type of drop-down menu. Click on the Options icon next to the Combo Box icon to access the options for the drop-down. 

When your are done creating your form, make sure to select Protect Form once you are finished to activate the fillable fields and make them usable. 

Making a Word Document Fillable on PC

To do the same as above on a PC, you will need to navigate to the File tab and select Options.

From here you will click Customize Ribbon and check the Developer box and hit Ok. Once you navigate over to the Developer tab, you will see 4 small icons next to the icon named Design Mode. 

The first “Aa” icon says “Rich Text Content Control” when you hover over it. This inserts an empty field into a document, which can be filled with images, videos, text, and more.

The second “Aa” icon says “Plain Text Content Control” and can insert a blank fillable field, but can only fill with text. 

The “Combo Box Content Control” icon is next to the check box icon, and will insert a drop-down menu into your document. The Properties button will give you the options to edit your drop-down. 

The “Date-Picker” icon looks like a calendar and will insert an empty box that will actually activate a calendar so your form user can pick a specific date. The Properties button will let you customize this as well.

The check-box option adds a blank or filled checkbox to your document. Once you are finished select Restrict Editing.

Then, check the box next to “Editing Restrictions”. This will lock the document so no one can alter the text not in text boxes. There is also an option to add a password that can be done by selecting Yes, Start Enforcing Protection. 

How to Make a Fillable PDF Form without Acrobat

Acrobat is not the only way to create a fillable PDF. A great alternative is ApowerPDF. It is a very easy and user-friendly tool to figure out, and perfect for turning a simple PDF into something users can easily fill in. 

ApowerPDF offers a wide range of editing options, where you can easily add images and text, change your PDF’s graphics, add watermarks, and more.

ApowerPDF can be used by individuals and business alike. You can create your own PDFs from scratch or convert an already-made PDF.

There is also a tool that you can use to whiteout parts of your PDF and insert your own graphics and text. You can change fonts, the size of the text, colors, add links, etc. Need to merge two pages together? You can do that also!

It only takes two seconds using the Merge feature on ApowerPDF. Or, on the other hand, you can use the Split feature to separate out the pages. 

Finally, there is a tool you can use to add watermarks to establish your ownership of the document, that makes it simple to go in and update the watermark or completely remove it if necessary.

Creating a fillable PDF with ApowerPDF

  • To create a fillable PDF with ApowerPDF, the first step is to click on Create.
  • From here you can select Blank Document or use your existing document. Then select the Forms tab, which is where you can begin adding in the fillable fields. 
  • Add in any form fields that you need: first name, email address, date, etc. You can then double-click on the field to change the appearance, the layout, and the name. 
  • Once you’re finished you simply click File and choose Save. 

That’s how easy and user-friendly the platform is! To get started with ApowerPDF you just need to download the platform!

PDF Editor for Free

Another great way to create a fillable PDF is by using the platform called PDFescape. This platform is another fairly simple way to create a fillable PDF, and is completely free!

To get started with this platform, you will need to first create an account to easily save your designs. 

Once you are ready, you can navigate to My Account and then click Open.

Here you can choose from four different options: Create new PDF document, Upload PDF to PDFescape, Load PDF from Internet, or Load PDF previously opened. Uploading a PDF can convert a document that is not already a PDF once it opens. 

Creating a fillable PDF with PDFescape

Besides adding fillable form fields, you can also add in any text, images, whiteout text, or add in links.

  • To add in form fields you will select the Insert tab, then select Form Field. A window then pops up where you can choose the type of form field.
  • You have the options to choose from Text, Text Paragraph, Checkbox, Dropdown, Listbox, Reset Button, or Submit Button. Once you choose the form field you want to enter, hit Select. 
  • To add the form field into your document you will click on where you’d like it in your document and it will pop up.
  • You can then resize the form field and move it around if needed. You can continue to click where you’d like that type of form field, and it will keep entering it into the document.
  • Once you want to either change the type of form field or stop adding them, you will need to select Form Field from the Insert menu again. 
  • You can right-click on the form field and choose Object Properties to edit any details of the form fields, like adding options for the dropdown menu. 

When finished editing your document, you will select the double down-arrows on the left side to save and download your PDF.

Jotform Fillable PDF

It is completely possible for you to make a PDF form fillable without using Adobe Acrobat, and one way to do this is by using a program called Jotform.

This platform has both free and paid versions, and gives the ability to use forms to accept payments, generate reports, or automate workflows. 

We will walk you through how to use Jotform to make a fillable PDF form.

Creating a fillable PDF with Jotform

The first step is to set up a Jotform account.

Once you have created an account, navigate to the PDF editor and select the Fillable PDF forms page. Next, click on Create a Fillable PDF form button to get started!

This is where you can choose from an existing document or create a new document. If you choose from an existing document, Jotform will recognize and replicate the fields in your new PDF document. 

When creating a new PDF, you have the ability to completely customize text, design, margins and more to suit your needs. To create a multi-page document, scroll down to the bottom of the page and clicking Add New Page.

Next, include form fields such as Name, Text, Signature, Dropdown, and more.

You can make certain fields required, or even give an option to select multiple answer options for a question.

If you’re want to preview what your new PDF will look like, you can select the Preview PDF toggle in the top right corner. You’ll then slide it again to go back into editing your document. 

Once you’ve finished editing your PDF, you can go into the settings tab and customize the look of the automated responses that your recipients will see once they complete the PDF. You can integrate it with many different platforms as well, if necessary.

Then, click the Publish tab and easily download the PDF, email your form, or embed it. Your users can easily fill the PDF out on their computers or phones.

Convert PDF to Fillable Form Free

As we’ve covered above, there are many free ways to convert a PDF into a fillable form. One option is using the free version of Jotform. This is a great platform, with a lot of features.

Many of these features can be used in the free version.

Another option is through using a downloadable software called ApowerPDF.

This is another software that is simple and user-friendly and can be downloaded directly to your device. It is less convenient as it can’t be used online, but if you are working from your desktop, it will do what you need to turn PDFs into fillable forms. 

Finally, you can also use PDFescape to convert a PDF to a fillable form. This is a great and free way to take a PDF and add form fields to any document. You can save recent designs, start a blank document, and more. 

There are many ways to convert a PDF to a fillable form for free, so you have great options to choose from!

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Final Thoughts

Making a PDF fillable is a great way to turn a document you want to sell into something your buyers can use digitally, or even just for personal use. There are many great ways out there to turn your documents into a fillable form, with both paid and free versions to choose from.

After deciding on the platform best for your needs get started on creating a fillable PDF!

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