5 Ways: How to Make a Fillable PDF form Online and Offline

August 2, 20231.7K views

Creating and working with a fillable PDF document can help you streamline processes and make it easier for people to provide and collect information digitally when they are filling out a job application, a survey, or a feedback form. However, many people struggle with how to make fillable PDFs, such as adding text boxes, drop-down menus, and checkboxes. To do this, you will have to know the best practices for designing and organizing a fillable PDF, the software that can help you make a fillable PDF efficiently. Read this article as we provide you with the necessary information on how to make a fillable PDF in the best way possible.

Part 1: Why Use a Fillable PDF Form

A fillable PDF form offers several advantages over traditional paper forms or non-fillable digital documents. For example, let’s take an example of traditional PDFs.

  1. You won’t be able to edit the traditional PDFs in a way that can help you gather data from multiple users directly into the form fields.

  2. On the other hand, fillable PDF forms provide a convenient and user-friendly way to collect information electronically. Users can type directly into the form fields, eliminating the need for manual handwriting or printing.

  3. Also, since users input information directly into the digital form fields, the chances of errors due to illegible handwriting or manual data entry are significantly reduced. This improves the accuracy of the collected data.

If you are working in an organization, you can integrate fillable PDF files into automated workflows or electronic document management systems. This enables the seamless transfer of data, reduces manual work, and enhances overall efficiency.

Part 2: Create a Fillable PDF Form from PDF Files

1. DocFly (Online PDF Editor)

Step 1: Upload PDF form or create from scratch

You can either select a PDF from your PC or create a form from scratch using the elements provided on the web page.

docfly upload file


Step 2: Add form fields to your PDF

  • Text Field: single text line

  • Radio: select only one from a group

  • Checkbox: tick one or more choices

  • Drop-down menu: choose one or more options from a drop-down list

docfly form fields


Step 3: Download or Share

After you are done editing and making a fillable file, you can export the fillable PDF file and download it on your PC. You can also share the file as an attachment in the mail.

docfly export, share, download file


docfly file export for download, email, and share


Pros

  • The tool is entirely free to use

  • It supports all formats and platforms, including Mac and Windows.

  • Access files from anywhere

  • Easy-to-use web interface

Cons

  1. Limitations of editing options

  2. Available only with the internet connection

2. WPS Office (Best of All)

Step 1: Prepare A Form

We may need forms in our daily life to collect required information in a meaningful manner. Creating digital forms is the best way to gather this required information. However, if you don’t have access to a form file, you can download a sample structure from the WPS Template Store.

If you don’t know how to download a sample structure form from the WPS website, here’s a complete process you can follow.

1. Download WPS Office, Open the template store, and select the template that meets your requirements. You can also directly go to https://template.wps.com/ to search for a template and edit or download it as you want.

wps search for template



wps download template



Step 2: Create a Fillable PDF Form

After you have downloaded the PDF version of the form from the templates website of WPS, you can open it in WPS to edit the text boxes and buttons in the fillable PDF.

All you have to do this is follow the steps mentioned below:

1. Open the PDF

2. You can add and edit text boxes in the file as you want.

wps PDF editor field functions



3. Add icons, pictures, dates, and signatures in the file.

wps fillable PDF options signature


Step 3: Save and share the fillable PDF

Once you have worked on your file and added all the necessary elements in the fillable PDF, you can save and share the file.

wps share and save as PDF



That’s all. Using the WPS PDF editor, you have created, edited, and managed the fillable PDF file in an effective way. There are many other tools like this that are provided by the WPS Office Suite.

These include WPS Writer (Word), Spreadsheet (Excel), Presentation (PPT), PDF, Template store, and Resume edit software templates. The best part is that you can use all these tools while using WPS Office for absolutely free.

Pros

  • Efficient and time-saving method

  • Secure cloud storage to save your files

  • Free access to tools and functionalities

  • High compatibility

Cons

  • Installation required for operation

3. Adobe Acrobat Pro

Adobe Acrobat is a PDF file creator, editor, and manager used on both Windows PCs and Macs to view and edit PDFs. The Pro version of this program can be used to create fillable PDF files that can be edited according to the required information and the data that is needed.

If you don’t know how to make a fillable PDF file, you can refer to the below-provided step by step tutorial to get the reference.

1. Find a PDF file you want to convert to a fillable PDF form and open it with Adobe Acrobat Pro PDF editor on your Mac or Windows.

file open with Adobe Acrobat


2. When you open the PDF file, select the “prepare form” option from the left-side options pane to convert your file to a fillable PDF.

Adobe Acrobat prepare form in the left panel



3. Add text fields in the places you want, so these places can be converted into editable fields.

Adobe Acrobat inserting text fields


4. You can then edit these text fields by right-clicking on the fields and selecting the properties. From here, you can edit the properties of text fields like text, font style, and font color.  

Adobe acrobat text field properties


Pros

  • User-friendly interface

  • Advanced features in the Pro version

Cons

  • Expensive premium subscription

  • Needs too much storage space for installation

  • Many features are available without upgrading to a premium

Part 3: Create a Fillable PDF from a Non-PDF Document

If you want to convert a non-PDF document into a fillable PDF file, it can be quite possible. All you have to do is choose the right software tool to do the job for you. WPS is one such complete Office Suite that can help you convert files to PDF format if your form file is not in PDF format.

Below are a couple of methods that can help you do that.

1.Create a Fillable PDF Form from a Word Document

Step 1. Open a non-PDF form document such as a .docx document in WPS Word and go to the insert tab on the header.

WPS Word header insert tab



Step 2. In the insert tab, you will find the “forms” option on the extreme right of the header tab. Click it, and you will get a list of options in the drop-down menu. You can use this option to insert fields in the document as you want.

WPS forms drop down option



Step 3.  If you have added the “text form field” in the document, you can double-click this text field in the document to open a properties tab for further options.

WPS form for text properties



Step 4.  After you are done editing the file, you can click “menu” and go to the “export to PDF” option to save your document in the form of a fillable PDF format.

WPS option for export to PDF


2. Create a Fillable PDF Form from an Excel Spreadsheet

Step 1. Open an Excel file in the Spreadsheet editor of WPS and go to the insert tab. Here you will find the “Forms” option on the extreme right of the main toolbar. In the drop-down menu of the Forms option, you will find options to add form fields to your document.

WPS excel insert and forms option



Step 2. For example, if you want to add a list box or combo box to any cell of the document, you can simply click the option and draw the box on the cell/s.

WPS Excel scrollbar and list box options



Step 3.  After you are done editing the Excel file, you can go to the “Menu” option on the extreme left and select “Export to PDF.” By clicking this, your file will be converted to a fillable PDF document which you can edit and share further.

WPS Excel export fillable PDF

Part 4: The Benefits of Creating Fillable PDFs

  1. Streamlined Processes

  2. The format will not be tampered with, and you will be able to share the original file

  3. Easy for others to Edit

  4. Make Fill PDF Easier, When People provide or collect information digitally

FAQs

Q1. What’s the difference between fillable online forms and PDF documents?

Fillable online forms are web-based, interactive forms accessed through a browser, while PDF documents are offline files with the ability to include fillable fields but require PDF reader software for interaction.

Q2. What are the best software and tools for creating fillable PDFs?

There are several software and tools available for creating fillable PDF forms. Here are some popular options:

  1. WPS Office

  2. Adobe Acrobat

  3. Nitro Pro

  4. PDFelement

  5. Formstack

Q3. When I finish a fillable PDF editing and share it, will users be able to open and edit it properly?

Yes, absolutely. After you are done editing and sharing the fillable PDF file, the other users will also be able to edit the file. However, you will have to manage the editing and viewing access of the document accordingly.

Final Thoughts: How to Make a Fillable PDF File

Till now, you have learned how to create, edit, and share fillable PDF files on your PC or Mac device. You also learned about the best fillable PDF file editors and converters to make your work easier. You also got to learn about the best tools available to create fillable PDF files on your PC.

However, the best of all these software tools is the WPS PDF editor. WPS is a complete Office Suite needed for daily office and study work and can also be used to create and edit PDF formats. This software is completely free to use, with a user-friendly interface and both online and offline functionalities and features.

Moreover, you get the whole online library of templates for Word, Excel, and Spreadsheets, where you can select the right template according to your needs.


15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.