PDFs are everywhere, and forms are still one of the most popular PDF types. Whether you are creating a form from scratch or updating an existing one, I bet I can show you a few things you didn't know about PDF forms.
This is the first in a series of articles that I'm planning on building and getting creative with PDF forms. Let's get started with the PDF form creation process.
Creating a New PDF Form
Regardless of which application you use to create the initial document, you can make it into a form in Adobe Acrobat. Keep in mind that if you can print a document, you can usually create a PDF.
I use Adobe Illustrator to create my documents and then I save them as PDFs. When it comes to form fields, I add them in Adobe Acrobat (see my example below). I use Microsoft Word to create the document, and Acrobat can detect and add form fields for me (see example below for this one, too).
We will review both those methods, but let's start with using Word to create the document.
These are examples I will use throughout this article series: at the top, I simply typed my text in a Word document and exported it to PDF. Above, I took the same information and created a postcard with colored boxes where I want the text fields to go. I can add and customize form fields in Acrobat.
Setting up a form in Microsoft Word
To create a PDF with Word, you either print to PDF or import a Word document into Acrobat, (which automatically creates a PDF).
In the example below, I set up a simple Word document.
To print to a PDF, choose File > Print. Then choose Save as PDF from the menu in the lower left of the dialog box.
Use the Print menu to save as PDF from Word. (This is a Mac screen shot; if you are on Windows, it may look different.)
Create the PDF in Acrobat
Create the Word document and save it. Open Acrobat.
From within Acrobat, choose File > Create > PDF from File. This will allow you to browse and find the document you wish to convert to PDF. You can convert Microsoft Office documents and most image formats using this method.
Adobe Illustrator to PDF
I happen to be a heavy Illustrator user so I will show you an example of how that same form information could be used to create a more visually appealing form.
This is the Illustrator document I created using the same form questions.
In a future article, you will learn how to create text form fields in Adobe Acrobat and drop-down menus.
To save an Illustrator document as a PDF, choose File > Save As > Adobe PDF (pdf).
Other Ways to Create a PDF
Here are some other ways you can create a PDF (not covered in this article):
- Print to PDF from any application that prints by choosing Adobe PDF as your printer
- Convert HTML pages to PDF
- Merge files together into one PDF
- Go from your camera directly to PDF
- Publish your SWF videos in a PDF directly from Adobe Captivate
- There are online services that will convert your documents to PDF for you
Next time: Turning the PDF into a form, adding form fields and learning to love the Button Tool!