How to Create a Fill-able PDF Worksheet or eBook

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As someone who works on my laptop a lot of the time, I don't always have access to a printer. Also, printing stuff unnecessarily is pretty darn wasteful.

That's one reason why I'm a big fan of fill-able documents. 

Other reasons include: it's faster and more convenient to fill something out by typing directly onto it; and complete documents stay on your computer (rather than all over your desk). Plus, showing that you want to make things easier for your clients or readers is really awesome.

When might you need to create a fill-able PDF?

Here's a few suggestions:

  • Forms of all kinds
  • New client intake documents
  • Worksheets
  • Checklists
  • Digital calendars or diaries
  • Pages within eBooks, such as space to brainstorm, journal, or answer questions.

How do you create a fill-able PDF?

As I am a subscriber to the whole Adobe software suite, I use Adobe Acrobat Pro. For this tutorial I am using my White Hot eBook Idea workbook which you can grab free here.

1. Create your PDF document. (This could be in any number of programs, such as InDesign or Word). When you make your PDF, leave spaces where you would like there to be a fill-able section - the same as you would if it were to be printed and filled in.

2. Open your PDF in Adobe Acrobat Pro.

3. Click on Common Tools > Work With Scanned Documents > Create Form > From Existing Document > Current Document.

4. Select Add New Field > Text Field. (You'll see plenty of other options if you need a different kind of field). Then use the cursor to move to the corner of your new text box, click and drag to the size you want. When you release, it will be called 'Text 1'. (The name doesn't matter). Hit enter.

5. If you've created a large box, such as my example above, where clients can type multiple lines of text, there's another step we need to do. Double click the new box to bring up 'Text Field Properties'. Click Options, then check the 'Multi-line' box. (If we skip this, only one single line can be typed into the box).

6. Repeat the process for each text box throughout the document.

NOTE: Do not copy and paste the boxes! Each box must be made from scratch and named differently. I.e. Text 1, Text 2 etc.

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7. Save the document. I'd recommend you Save As - and create a new document called {My Document Name} - Fillable - to differentiate from the original.

8. Close the document and open your newly saved Fill-able PDF. If it has worked correctly, it should immediately prompt you to please fill out the form. This is what your readers/clients will see.

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Voila! There you have it.

If you don't have Adobe Acrobat Pro, I know there are other programs on the market that have this ability as well, such as Canva, but as I haven't used them personally, I can't vouch for them.

Happy creating!!