How to Create Fillable Forms for Free

By Michael Jones

A fillable form is a text document that is saved with built-in input fields so users can easily fill it out. The fields ensure that the formatting of the form stays intact as users add content. Users can't add extra lines or spaces, since the input fields are set. There are many programs and services that allow you to create fillable PDF forms, but many cost a pretty penny. If you want to create a fillable form for free, do so by using Microsoft Word.

Things You'll Need

  • Microsoft Word

Step 1

Open Microsoft Word and load the form that needs fillable fields. If you don't have a form, type out a form on Microsoft Word now.

Step 2

Click on the "View" tab at the top of the page. Click on "Toolbars" and make sure the "Forms" option is checked. This will pop up the Forms toolbar.

Step 3

Place the mouse cursor on your document where you would like to create a fillable input field. For example, if your form has a "Name" section and you want users to fill in their name on that line, place your cursor next to the word "Name."

Step 4

Click the "Text Field Form" button on the "Forms" toolbar. This button is symbolized with an "ab" icon. A fillable field will be inserted where you have placed your cursor. Now you can customize the input field.

Step 5

Double-click on the input field --- it is shaded gray --- and the customization screen will open. This screen allows you to customize what content users can input into the text field. For example, if you want users only to input text or numbers in a specific field, select that option. You also can control the maximum number of characters that can be entered in the field, as well as set default text in the field. Click "OK" when you've finished customizing the input field.

Step 6

Place your cursor on your document where you would like to create another fillable text field and repeat Steps 4 and 5.

Step 7

Click on "Tools" at the top of the screen and select "Protect Document." The Protect Document toolbar will open on the right side of the screen.

Step 8

Check the "Allow only this type of editing on the document" option and select "Filling in Form" from the list of options. This ensures that the document will be fillable when users receive it. Also, users won't be able to make other edits to the document.

Tips & Warnings

  • The Forms toolbar offers a couple other input options you can use to create a fillable form. You can add check boxes next to options on your document and users will be able to check a particular box. You also can add a drop-down menu, and users can select an item from the menu. Both of these options are buttons on the Forms toolbar. Place your cursor where you would like to add the field and click the appropriate button on the toolbar. Then click on the input field and customize it the same way you would customize a text field.
  • You can password-protect the form by clicking the button that says "Start enforcing protection." This button is located at the bottom of the Protect Document toolbar. You will be prompted to set a password for your document. Anybody who wants to access the document will have to enter the password to do so.