How to Create a Fillable PDF Form from Existing Flat PDF?

Rosa Reyes
time August 20, 2020 Preview 18.9K
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PDF files are used to share important documents, and most of them are read-only documents. However, there are occasions we need to collect or submit information and data in the term of PDF for personal or other reasons, that’s why we want to make some of our PDFs into fillable.


Fillable PDF Form VS Flat PDF Form

A fillable PDF Form, also called as interactive PDF, is a collect of PDF form fields for collecting information from form users, it contains form fields, comments, or other interactive elements that you can select or fill in. When you open it in a PDF reader, there would be a cursor pointer flashing in the form fields after you click the field, you can directly fill in.

what is fillable pdf

A flat PDF Form, also called as non-interactive PDF, has no form fields, comments or any other interactive elements to select or fill in. When you open it in a PDF reader, there would be no cursor pointer flashing, you cannot fill the form.

But very often, we need to take a flat PDF or a Word doc as the template for a fillable PDF form.

How to Create Fillable PDF Form with Adobe Acrobat?

Adobe, creator of PDF format can always equip its users the most powerful solution to manage a PDFs. If you are using an Adobe Acrobat, you should try following steps to create fillable PDF form with ease.

  1. Run Adobe Acrobat DC on your computer.
  2. Go to Tools>Prepare Form.create fillable pdf form with adobe 01
  3. Then select the file you want to create as fillable PDF form. Adobe will automatically detect and create form fields. If Adobe doesn’t detect a particular form field, manually add according to your needs by using the toolbars above the interface, or adjust the layout with tools on the right panel. If you want to tweak the properties of text field, right click on the text field and tweak as needed.create fillable PDF form with adobe 02
  4. To make sure all the filleable text fields can work properly, you need to preview before saving. If OK, save the fillable PDF form.

How to Create a Fillable PDF Form without Adobe Acrobat? 

If you don’t have Adobe, there are still options to create fillable PDF forms, just try alternative Adobe PDF editors. Here we pick 2 affordable and efficient PDF editors for Mac users and Windows users respectively.

Create Fillable PDF Form on Mac

Cisdem PDFMaster is a mac productivity tool featuring a full set of tools you need to edit PDF files on Mac easily and efficiently. You can add form fields, comments, notes, or shapes (Rectangle, Rounded Rectangle, Circle,) to the PDF, highlight, cross-out, underline text, and draw an arrow or a line. What’s more you can use it to read, create, electronically sign, merge PDF, split, compress, encrypt, decrypt and convert PDF files to editable format with original formatting.

Main Features of Cisdem PDFMaster

  • Edit PDFs: add text, crop, sign, comment, annotate, highlight, etc.;
  • Convert native PDF to Word, PowerPoint, Keynote, Pages, ePub, etc.;
  • Create PDF from Word, PowerPoint, ePub, HTML, CHM, Image, etc.;
  • Combine PDFs;
  • Split PDF into several files;
  • Protect PDFs with owner or user password;
  • Decrypt PDFs;
  • Compress PDF;
  • Extract image from PDFs;
  • Batch process PDFs;

Steps of Creating Fillable PDF Form from Flat Ones.

Step 1. Download PDFMaster, install and launch on your mac.

Free Download

Step 2. Go to PDF Edit;

pdfmaster main interface

Step 3. Add PDF file to PDFMaster by drag and drop;

create fillable pdf form mac02

Step 4. Click on T(text) button, add text box to the place where you want to create a fillable filed, choose font, color or background settings;

create fillable pdf form mac03

Step 5. Once ready, click Save to create a fillable PDF form on mac;

Step 6. Now, open the fillable PDF in Preview or other PDF reader, users are allowed to fill the PDF form.create fillable pdf form mac04

Create Fillable PDF Form on Windows PC

Nuance Power PDF is a powerful PDF tool letting users to create, edit, annotate and share PDF files with easy-to-use interface. With several clicks, the program will create a fillable PDF form from flat PDF documents easily and instantly.

  1. Launch Nuance Power PDF on your Windows PC
  2. Go to Home>Insert, to open the PDF file that you want to create as fillable PDF form in the program.create fillable pdf with nuance 01
  3.  Go to Forms>Form Typer, the program will automatically detect the text fields, you will find the PDF file is fillable now.create fillable pdf with nuance 02
  4. Go to File>Save, to save the file on your Windows PC.

What's Your Next Move?

Fillable PDF is a good channel to interact with all PDF users, also collect information for our further use. You cannot get a desired fillable PDF without a professional tool, utilize above-mentioned PDF editor, 100% Easy and Successful, you don’t have to spend too much time and effort on this anymore!

Rosa Reyes
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Rosa has worked in Mac software industry for more than eight years. She believes that the purpose of software is to make life better and work more productively. In addition to writing, Rosa is also an avid runner.

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  • frank

    thanks for sharing the tips, i am not good at creating interactive PDF forms.

    5 years ago Reply

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