Do you create questionnaires or forms for your clients to fill in?
Perhaps you are a web designer or a coach that wants to get to know their clients first before starting a project. For short forms you can use a free service like Typeform. But if your form is more comprehensive it might be a good idea to make a form that the user can fill in, save, and come back to later. A good way to do this is with Adobe Acrobat.
I create fillable wedding invitation templates for my printables business, so I have come to learn Adobe Acrobat quite well.
Design your document
The first thing you need to do is design the document in a program like Illustrator or InDesign. Add any logos and/or design elements here. You don’t need to enter any text here – you can do that in Acrobat.
Start preparing your form
Save the document as a PDF and open it in Adobe Acrobat. I’m using the latest version at the time of writing – called Acrobat DC. If you have an older version, this might look a bit different.
On the right-hand side is a menu. Click on Prepare Form. If you don’t see the menu, press Shift + F4.
When asked, click Start.
A message saying “no new form fields were detected” will pop up. Click ok.
Add text boxes
A menu will be added to the top. To add text, click on the second button from the left.
Click and drag a text box on your document.
To add text to this text box, click on All Properties. A dialog box will pop up. On the General tab you can give your text box a name. Every text box needs a unique name, or else they will all look alike. Since this text box of mine is just a heading, I’m going to choose “read only” because I don’t want anyone to fill in their own text here.
Go to the Options tab and fill in your text there.
To style the text, go to the Appearance tab. Here you can change the font, font size and colour. FYI, you can type your own font size in the box!
I’m now going to add a normal (fillable) text field.
Drag a new text box. Click All Properties. The only tabs you have to worry about are Appearance and Options.
Here are the settings I used:
Creating multiple fields
If you want to duplicate the current fields you have there without making new fields, there is an easy way. Select the current fields, right click and choose Create Multiple Copies. Here I have chosen to copy the selected fields down 3 times.
Now you can type in new text for those duplicate copies by right-clicking, choosing Properties and typing in text in the Options tab.
Remember, you don’t have to type any text into the fillable fields. But you can do that if you want some kind of default text.
Now that you know how to add text fields, you can use the same procedure to add radio buttons and check buttons!
Finish the form
When you are done, Go to File – Save to save the file. Call it my-form-editable.pdf. This form is for yourself if you want to edit it again. To save it for others to fill in, use the following step:
If you just send this form the way it is now, the user won’t be able to save it. To make it saveable (is that a word?) you need to follow the following steps:
Go to File – Save as Other – Reader Extended PDF – Enable More Tools. Then just click on Save Now.
You now have a professional fillable form! If you have any questions, let me know in the comments.