How to Create Form Fields in Existing PDF Files

By Cooper Temple

Because of their portability and a file size that is generally smaller than the source documents, Portable Document Format (PDF) files are frequently used to distribute forms. PDF forms can be created from scratch, from a file created with a different program and from existing PDF files. In order to add form fields, users need an appropriate PDF writing program, such as Adobe Acrobat Pro. You can create form fields in existing PDF files by following a few steps.

Things You'll Need

  • PDF files
  • PDF writing software

Step 1

Download and install a PDF writing program. Adobe Acrobat Pro is used in the following steps, and a free trial version is linked below in Resources. There are shareware versions of PDF writing applications, but you need to make certain that they contain “forms” tools.

Step 2

Open the existing PDF file to which you want to add form fields. Click once on the “File” drop-down menu to select the “Open” option. Use the “Look in” menu to access the folder to which the existing PDF file is saved. Highlight the file name and click once on the “Open” button.

Step 3

Click once on the “View” menu and once on “Toolbars” to select the “Forms” toolbar. This will launch a separate toolbar that contains all of the available form fields.

Step 4

Click once on one of the form field tools, such as a “Text Field.” Click once on an area of the PDF that you want to place the form field while holding down the mouse button. Drag the cursor to the right and down to size the field. No matter which form field you choose, this process is the same. To change the size of any form field, click once on the field. Click once on one of the small red squares and drag it to the desired size while holding down the mouse button.

Step 5

Repeat Step 4 for each form field that you want to insert into the existing PDF. Use the “File” menu to select the “Save” option to save the PDF with the added form fields. To preserve the original PDF, select the “Save As” option to save the file under a new name.