Learn how to create fillable PDF forms in Microsoft® Word®. Get a free Word template that demonstrates best practices for Adobe® Acrobat® Automatic Field Detection.

Fillable PDF forms are based on documents created in other software like Microsoft Word.

Once a Word document is converted to a PDF, there are two ways to add fillable form fields:

  • Fast Way: The Adobe® Acrobat® Automatic Field Detection feature
  • Slow Way: Manually adding in form fields in Acrobat

Watch the tutorial video to learn how to design Word forms that convert to Fillable PDF forms with the least amount of effort.

Free Word Form Template to Create PDF Forms

Attached below is an example Word document that has sections designed to be auto recognized by Adobe Acrobat’s Automatic Field Detection feature.

Word Form Template

⇒ Free Word Form Template Download

Use this Word document as a template for creating your own word forms.

Tested Word Form Layouts That Convert to PDF Fields

Inserting tables in Word creates a framework for captions and fillable fields to occupy. How you size cells in a table makes a difference in the end user experience when converted to a PDF form. How you position caption text helps Adobe Acrobat identify fields more accurately.

Caption Text Position

When fields are to the right of captions, setting the caption text to right justified helps Acrobat place the fillable field into the correct cell. When captions are over top of fields (or in columns), left or center justification works fine.

Caption Text Font Size

Setting the caption text font size to about 1/2 the hieght of the fillable text areas allows more room for longer captions. Also, Acrobat better identifies the smaller text as a caption.

Example of Side-by-Side Fields (a good way to condense data)

Side By Side Form Fields

Example of Vertical Stacked Fields (if you have room, this layout is easier to use than side by side)

Stacked Form Fields

Example of Captions Over Top

Captions Over Top Fields

Example of Colum Fields

Column Fields

Form Field Row Height Settings

Setting the row height to a minimum of .30 allows end users enough space to use PDF forms on tablets and smaller laptops. This also helps Acrobat to properly auto identify fields.

Field Row Height

Enable your PDF forms to work in all Web Browsers

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We call it the PDF Form Viewer. Learn More…