6 Steps to Making Fillable Forms with Adobe Acrobat

Norma Kass

With increasing efforts to go paperless, forms for almost anything can easily be turned into interactive PDFs. Whether you start with a form made with a number of applications (Word, Excel, InDesign) or a scanned paper form, Adobe Acrobat can turn it into a useable PDF form.

Here are a few advantages:

  • The form can be used with any free version of Acrobat Reader.
  • PDF forms can be printed, saved or automatically sent by email, significantly reducing paper consumption.
  • Easier to read: Non-legible handwriting can be avoided.
  • More efficient workflow and productivity: Forms can be organized and saved to better facilitate distribution, tracking and overall management of information. Additionally, data can be collected and processed.
  • Easily added to emails or integrated into web browsers for quick and easy access.

Once you’ve designed your form in your program of choice, export it as a PDF and follow these easy steps:

  1. Within Acrobat, click on the Tools tab and select Prepare Form.
  2. Select a file or scan a document. Acrobat analyzes your document and adds form fields automatically. If the document you want to “fill” is the one you have open click the document in this window.


  3. If Acrobat misses some areas simply add new form fields from the top toolbar.

  4. Tab through order can be important in some forms. You can reorder by simply dragging the order from the right pane.

  5. Another handy form field is the radio button. It can create “select one only” options in a group of content. After selecting properties, there are options available to change the color, shape and outline of the button to be consistent with the rest of the form. You can also add another button from this selection. Note: If you are testing your form and you click on the radio button there is no way to unclick so you might consider testing a copy of what you intend to post.


  6. Once complete, save your fillable PDF form and share it with others, or click Distribute to collect responses automatically.

That's all there is to it.

For more information to further edit and create styles for Acrobat forms click here.

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