How to Create a PDF Document with Forms

Converting a PDF to a Form

Below we have a snapshot of a generic job application that we've opened in Adobe Acrobat.

Right now, it's just a PDF. We cannot fill in the fields of the form, such as Name.

To turn this into a form, go to Forms>Start Form Wizard.

We now see the Create or Edit Form dialogue box.

We're going to select An Existing Electronic Document since we are using a PDF file.

Click Next.

Choose if you want to use the current document, which we do. You can also import a file from your computer. When you check this box, the Browse button becomes active. Locate the file on your computer.

Click Next.

In the snapshot below, we see our application converted to a form:

On the left, you can see the Fields panel. This contains all fields that are in the document. Fields are areas where you can type in or enter information.

There are three fields currently: Name, Telephone Number, and Address. If you look at the application, you can see we'll need to add more. We'll show you how to do that in the next section.

Let's go back to the Fields panel for a minute. You can click any field listed in the panel and be taken to that field. It works in much the same way as bookmarks.

Add Form Fields

To add a form field, go to Add New Field at the top left of the form editing window:

It looks like this: .

Choose the type of field you want to add from the dropdown list:

Acrobat tells you what each field does by displaying a graphic before the field name.

Let's add a text field by selecting Text Field.

Once you select Text Field and hover your mouse over the document, you'll see a blue rectangle. This is the text field.

Click to place it in the document. We're placing it in the City/State/Zip area of the document.

Once it's placed, you can resize the field by dragging the handles. You can also name the field:

Click Show All Properties (shown above) to change the text field properties.

Click the Appearance tab to change the way a text field looks in your PDF document:

Click the General tab to make the form field visible or invisible on your form. This is also where you'll go if you want to make an aspect of the form required. For example, let's say that you require people enter their name on the form. They can't submit the form without their name. Click the Required box under the General tab to do this.

Click Close when you're finished. Distribute Forms by Email

There are three ways that you can distribute forms for people to fill out. You can distribute them by email, by placing the form on your company server, or by using

To distribute forms by email, go to Forms>Distribute Form.

The Distribute Form dialogue box opens.

As you can see in the snapshot above ,the default delivery method is We want to change this to email. Click Delivery Method.

Under "How Do You Want to Collect Responses." select Manually Collect Responses in My Email Inbox.

Click Next.

Interested in learning more? Why not take an online Adobe Acrobat course?

Choose if you want to send the form using Acrobat and your default email client, or if you want to save a coy and send it later.

Click Next.

Fill out relevant information to identify yourself to the recipients.

Click Next.

The final window of the dialogue box summarizes the options you chose. As you can see above, we are distributing the forms by email, and we are manually sending them.

Click Finish.

When we do, a response file is automatically created for us. We can now send out the form through email. Make sure you send out the form and not the response file, however. The response file will be the name of the form plus :_responses. If the name of your PDF form is "Form," the response form will be "Form_responses." Distribute Forms with

To distribute forms using, go to Forms>Distribute Form.

The Distribute Form dialogue box opens.

As you can see in the snapshot above, is the default method for distributing the forms. If it wasn't, we would click Delivery Method.

Choose Automatically Download & Organize Responses with

Click Next.

Now, add email addresses of the people you want to fill out the form in the To form field. You can also click the To button to access your address book.

Edit the subject line and message if you want. Then, select an access level for the recipients.

You can set access to limited so that only people that you send the email to can fill out the form. Or you can allow anyone who knows the URL of the form to fill it out.

Press Send when you're finished.

The recipient will receive an email from that looks like this:

Collecting Information

Whenever someone receives a form by email, it will be sent as an attachment. Once the recipient fills out the form, they will see a Submit Form button at the top. This is the button they will push to send it to you (see snapshot below).

The Send Form Dialogue box opens.

Here they will be asked to enter your email address and name (if different than the one entered), then click Send.

Next, they will be asked to specify how they want to send it, then click OK.

When you receive the completed form in your inbox, it will be as an attached file. The following instructions will be in the body of the email:

Let's check our email and collect the data.

When we open the form, we see the following dialogue box:

Click OK.

Your response file will then open for you.

Click the Get Started button.

Now, you can see all responses. You can see who responded, as well as the information they entered in all the fields. You can also see the date and time you received the response.

You can save the response file or print it by clicking the corresponding icons in the toolbar:

Collect Data from Forms Distributed with

To see the data you've collected from the forms, go to Forms> Track forms to open the tracker.

On the left, look under Forms and find the form for which you want to see responses.

On the right, click View Responses.

The response window opens just like it did with forms that you emailed:

Note: You can also follow these steps to collect data from emailed forms. Type Form Responses on a PDF Page

If you've ever scanned a form (such as a job application) into your computer and saved it as a PDF, you know that the PDF version looks just like the paper version, but you can't type in any of the fields. Well, now there's good news. Acrobat gives you a way to scan paper forms and then edit them within the program.

Open the document that you want to type on.

Go to Tools>Typewriter>Typewriter. The mouse pointer turns into an I-beam cursor.

Now, click on the page where you want to type the text and start typing, as we've done below.

You can click on the text with the Hand or Selection tool and Acrobat will place a rectangle with handles around the text:

You can now reposition the text by dragging the rectangle. You can also resize the rectangle around the text. Create a Searchable Image

Whenever you scan a paper document into PDF form, Acrobat creates a bitmapped picture of the text and graphics. The search features in Acrobat will not work because the document is an image.

If you want to make the document searchable, go to Document>OCR Text Recognition>Recognize Text Using OCR.

The Recognize Text dialogue box opens:

Select if you want to recognize the text from all pages, the current page, or a range of pages.

In the Settings section, click the Edit button.

Here you'll see the language. Select the language of the document.

In the PDF Output Style, choose Searchable Image.

Next, select the output quality of the file. The higher the quality, the larger the file will be.

Click OK.

Click OK again in the Recognize Text dialogue box.

Acrobat then processes the document. There will be a status bar at the lower right hand corner.

Now you can search the document using Acrobat's search feature.

We searched for "referred."