This document explains how to easily turn a scanned paper form or a simple form made in Microsoft Word, Excel, or another application into an intelligent PDF form. (If you are looking for information on how to create a form from scratch, distribute a form or track a form, click the appropriate link above. To explore the common questions on forms, click the Forms FAQ link.)
This document provides instructions for Acrobat DC and Acrobat 2017. If you're using Acrobat XI, see Acrobat XI Help.
Video (06:33) | By Claudia McCue (lynda.com)
You can start with a blank PDF, add the required text and labels in the PDF, and then add form fields to complete the form. For more information, see How to create a form using Adobe Acrobat.
When you convert an existing document into a PDF form, Acrobat automatically adds interactive form fields to the form. You can then edit the form to add specialized form fields, such as a drop-down list, list box, or buttons.
A. Certificate-based signature field B. Drop-down list box C. Text fields D. Automatic message bar E. Check boxes F. Radio buttons G. List box H. Buttons
The form field auto detection is ON, by default. To change this setting, click the Change link and choose the settings as appropriate. For more information, see Forms preferences.
Review the form fields Acrobat created. Add fields using the form field tools in the toolbar. Delete, resize, or arrange the fields as needed. You can add any of the following types of form fields:
Encode the input from selected fields and display it as a visual pattern that can be interpreted by decoding software or hardware (available separately).
Initiate a change on the user’s computer, such as opening a file, playing a sound, or submitting data to a web server. These buttons can be customized with images, text, and visual changes triggered by mouse actions.
Present yes-or-no choices for individual items. If the form contains multiple check boxes, the user can typically select as many or few of these as wanted.
Let the user either choose an item from a pop-up menu or type a value. You can set a form field property that enables the user to enter a custom value.
Display a list of options the user can select. You can set a form field property that enables the user to Shift-click to select multiple items on the list.
Present a group of choices from which the user can select only one item. All radio buttons with the same name work together as a group.
For more information, see Form field basics.
To distribute the form and collect responses, see Distribute PDF or web forms.
You can convert an existing form into an Adobe Sign form or easily drag-and-drop Adobe Sign fields onto a PDF. You can send the form out to be filled in and signed using Adobe Sign. Not all fields convert to Adobe Sign fields, such as List Box, Dropdown, or Button fields. You can add additional Adobe Sign fields from the toolbar.
To distribute the form and collect responses, see Distribute Adobe Sign forms.
Ordinarily, users of Reader X and earlier can’t save filled-in copies of forms that they complete. However, you can extend the rights of a PDF to allow these users to save form data. If you have Acrobat Pro, you can include additional capabilities for Reader users, such as adding text to non-interactive forms.
Unlike earlier versions of Reader, Reader XI and higher versions of Reader include both the Add Text tool and the ability to save form data. Acrobat users can type in non-fillable forms, add comments, and digitally sign PDFs without extending special rights.
Both Acrobat Standard and Acrobat Pro allow Adobe Reader 8 or later users to fill in and save PDF forms locally. Note the following two points about the use of the Reader Extensions capability for local saving of PDF forms (called extended documents):
Number of deployed extended documents
An Acrobat Standard or Acrobat Pro customer can send an extended document to an unlimited number of recipients for them to fill in. For example, an Acrobat customer can post an empty form template on a web page that allows users to fill in and save PDF forms locally. An unlimited number of people can access the template. Also, the Acrobat customer can collect
Number of recipients of the extended document
An Acrobat Standard or Acrobat Pro customer can send an extended document to
Acrobat Software Development Kit (SDK) to customize Acrobat: www.adobe.com/go/learn_acr_devcenter_en (English only)
Distribute and collect responses on an internal server such as SharePoint or Network Folder. For more information, see Specify a server.
For more information, see Choosing a distribution option for reviews and forms.
- Enter the email addresses separated with a semi-colon, or click the To button to select email addresses from your address book.
- Edit the default message.
- Select the option Collect Name & Email from Recipients To Provide Optimal Tracking. The system prompts recipients to provide their name and email address when they submit the form. This guarantees that in Tracker, you see exactly who has and hasn't replied, and when.
- Deselect the option if you want to receive anonymous submissions, or you don't care about that level of tracking.
If you don’t know the email addresses of your recipients, enter your own email address. The system sends you a link to the form, which you can email to recipients as desired.
To track the status of the distributed form, click Track in the lower-right corner of the right hand pane. For more information, see About forms tracker.
After you create an Adobe Sign form, you can use Adobe Sign service for sending it to recipients for filling in and signing.
You receive an email from Adobe Sign which states that the documents are sent to the first user for signature. The first user also receives an email to sign the document. When the user adds his or her signature in the Signature field, and then click the Click to sign button, the document is sent to the next user for signature and so on.
Everyone gets a copy of the signed document, and the file is stored securely in Adobe Document Cloud.
To track the status of the Adobe Sign form, see Track agreements sent for signature.