Learn how to create a fillable PDF forms in Adobe Acrobat DC in under 20 minutes.

Watch the full video tutorial to see all the time saving pro tips.

1:00 – Auto Adding Fields
2:25 – How to Name Fields
2:35 – Manually Adding Fields
6:22 – Adding All Field Types Review
6:35 – Text
8:32 – Multiline text
10:10 – Radio Buttons
13:00 – Check Box
14:33 – Dropdown List
17:00 – Button

Let Acrobat Create Fillable Fields

When a PDF is opened in Acrobat and you click on the “Prepare Form” icon in “Tools”, Acrobat will try to identify where all the fields are on your form. If the fields are laid out in a certain way, it makes field detection much more accurate.

To learn more about laying out documents that convert to PDF forms, see our blog post on the topic.

The prepare form button creates a fillable PDF form

Field Properties

To get to “Field Properties” double click on any field while in “Prepare Form” mode. Alternatively, you may right mouse click on the name of the field in the list of fields to the right hand side of the editor interface.  

Acrobat PDF Form Field Properties

How to Name Form Fields

When naming fields make sure that all the field names are unique (with the exception of radio buttons). Also do not include any spaces or special characters (!@#$%^&*-) in field names. Best practice is to separate words with an underscore. For Example: First_Name

Manually Adding Fields

When “Prepare Form” in “Tools” is selected, a form toolbar becomes visible across the top. If a field type is selected from the toolbar, the mouse may be used to drop the field onto the PDF. Selecting the field with the mouse allows moving and resizing of fields. This is best illustrated in the video at 2:35 minutes.

Form Field Toolbar

Field Types in Adobe Acrobat

Each field type has a specific use and is configured differently.

Text Fields: For entering a single line of text.

Multiline Text: For entering many lines of text. May include line breaks.

Radio Buttons: For selecting a single option from many. Usually used for a short number of options, otherwise a dropdown box would be a better choice. Warning: Radio buttons once checked, cannot be unchecked.

Check Box: Each Check Box is a unique field. Most commonly used to allow the selection of one or more options. Check boxes may be checked and unchecked.

Dropdown List: Used to present a short or long lists of options to select from.

Button: Used to trigger an action like Submit or Print.

Hidden: Any field may be set to “Hidden” in “Properties” under the “General” tab. Most often hidden fields are used to contain default data that should not be seen or edited by the person filling the form. Using JavaScript it is possible to show and hide hidden fields – but this is beyond the scope of this tutorial.

Enable your PDF forms to work in all Web Browsers

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We call it the PDF Form Viewer. Learn More…