How to Create a Fillable PDF Worksheet or eBook

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Making use of fillable PDF saves paper and ink, reduces filing and conveniently keeps your documents right where you want them - in a folder on your computer.

Plus, it's become the norm to provide fillable PDFs to your customers and clients. It shows that you want to make things as simple and easy as possible, you respect their time and resources, and that you're keeping up with the times, tech-wise.

When might you need to create a fillable PDF?

  • New client intake documents
  • Worksheets
  • Checklists
  • Digital calendars or diaries
  • Forms of all kinds
  • In eBooks, where you've provided space to brainstorm, journal, or answer questions.

How do you create a fillable PDF?

We're using Adobe Acrobat Pro for this tutorial. My example document is my 'Let's get to know each other playbook' - a document I use with my VIP design clients.

1. Create your PDF document. (This could be in any program e.g. Adobe InDesign or Microsoft Word). When you make your PDF, leave spaces or insert boxes where you'd like to create a fillable 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 Tools > Prepare Form > Select Current Document.

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4. Select the Text Field icon from the toolbar. (You'll see plenty of other options if you need a different kind of field, such as check boxes, dropdowns and more). 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'. 

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5. If you've created a large box, like 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).

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

NOTE: Unfortunately you can't copy + paste the boxes. Each box must be created individually and named differently: Text 1, Text 2 etc.

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7. Click 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 fillable PDF. This is what your readers/clients will see. They'll now be able to type directly onto the blue highlighted sections.

Pro tip - direct your readers to save the PDF before typing onto it. 

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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 I haven't used them personally.

Happy creating!

DesignAlana Wimmer15 Comments