How To: Digital Productivity — Create a Fillable Form from Existing PDF
We are living in a digital world. The better, more effectively, we can manage our content digitally, the more productive we will be.
Makes sense, right?
Yet, we routinely receive PDF documents that need to be filled out and aren’t in a fillable form format!
“I’m working through insurance renewals and they keep sending over PDF’s for completion — AND NONE of them are provided as a fillable form! Do they really think I want to print these and fill them out by hand?”
— recent comment received from a CFO (in complete frustration)
In this post, I walk through the steps for creating a PDF form from an existing PDF. You will need a full-version PDF Writer software package for this. I will demonstrate using Adobe X1 Professional Writer, but I know that Nuance Power PDF software works as well.
The document I am converting is one I downloaded from the Internet — “Letter of Instructions to my Family”, which, surprisingly, is not a fillable form.
1 — Open PDF in Adobe — make sure the “Tools” menu is activated.
2 — click on “Forms” under the Tools menu, select “Create”
3 — select “From Existing Document” and click “Next”
4 — select “Current Document” and click “Continue”
5 — the PDF is scanned and populated with fields that the program finds. A dialog box appears letting you know that your are now in “form editing mode” (this is where we want to be!)
6 — click “OK” and we review the document for accuracy of conversion. Note — this is NOT always perfect, depending on the quality of the document you started with (e.g., scanned documents are not good!)
In this case, it is very accurate, so I can now save the PDF (note, I just add “Fillable” to the end of the prior file name.
Here is what the PDF looks like when fillable fields exist:
The PDF can now be typed into — complete the form on your desktop or mobile device using a PDF capable app.
By the way, this is a very important document that all of us should complete and provide to someone in our family! If interested, you can download the fillable PDF form here.
Whenever you need to complete a form, make sure it is PDF fillable form or make it one. Now you know how!
Don Tomoff is a “recovering CPA”, who is passionate about helping organizations adapt to the changing business world that we operate in.
One lesson learned over the years is that all of us, regardless of organization type or size, struggle with similar issues — primarily information management and presentation, and effective use of our time. Let’s change that…one person at a time!