How to Convert a Word Document to a Fillable PDF Form

It's easy to convert a Microsoft Word document to a PDF document using either Word or Adobe Acrobat Pro. If you use Acrobat, the application will automatically create a fillable PDF from Word adn generate fillable fields and controls from the contents of the document. You can then modify the converted form if necessary. If you don't have access to Adobe Acrobat Pro, there are some lower-priced and free alternatives for editing PDF forms that have been converted from Word.

It's easy to convert a Microsoft Word document to a PDF document using either Word or Adobe Acrobat Pro.
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Convert Word to a Fillable PDF

After you launch Word, select Open, navigate to the location where your Word document is stored, select the file and choose Open.

When the document opens, select File and then choose Export. Select Create Adobe PDF from the menu, choose the Create Adobe PDF button, type a file name for the converted file and choose Save.

Launch Adobe Acrobat Pro to open the PDF document and create a form from it. Choose File. Select Create and then Create Form.

Choose Select a file, navigate to the location where you stored the converted Word document, select the file and choose Open. Leave the form field auto detection set to On and choose Start to create the form from your converted Word document.

Converting with Acrobat Pro

You can convert Word to a fillable PDF in a single step using Acrobat Pro. Choose Create Form, Select a file, change the file selection type to All Files (.) and select your Word document. Acrobat converts the Word document to a PDF and creates a form from the converted document without your having to launch Word; however Word must be installed on your computer.

Adding Form Fields

Review the form that Acrobat Pro automatically created and modify it as necessary. Use the editing icons next to Prepare Form to add new writable fields to the document, use the formatting buttons at the top of the right column to align your labels and data fields; you can also modify the names of the data fields assigned to the writable values if you want them to be different. Choose the blue Preview button on the Prepare Form line to preview a copy of the form.

For example, to add a field that wasn't converted from Word, such as the Comments field, choose the button to add a new text field, position the field on your form, use the handles on the bounding box to size the field and type a name for the new field.

Click the Save button at the top of the screen to save your changes.

Convert PDF to Fillable Form for Free

If you don't have Adobe Acrobat, there are many free tools available online. According to PCWorld, free online PDF editors typically let you add text and other simple elements and may allow you to move sections around. They generally don't have the capabilities needed to do anything beyond simple edits.

In many cases, an online PDF editor app will be available for free for a 30-day trial period, after which you'll be charged a subscription fee. Adobe offers a one week free trial for Acrobat, during which you can create the form you need or decide the application is worth the purchase price. As an alternative to both Acrobat and free PDF editors, there are budget editors like pdfforge PDF Architect that perform many of the same functions as Acrobat for a lower price.

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