How to Fill Out a Form With Adobe Reader

By Regina Edwards

Companies and organizations provide PDF forms to download and fill out on a web page. This enables users to complete the forms electronically and improve the accuracy of processing information. This eliminates the need for recipients to decipher handwriting. Adobe offers Acrobat Reader as a free application to open and read PDF files, as well as to complete PDF forms. Adobe Reader can be used on Windows, Mac, Linux and mobile computer platforms.

Step 1

Download and install the latest version of Acrobat Reader from Adobe.com.

Step 2

Launch the Acrobat Reader application and open the desired PDF form (by selecting "Open" under "File" in the top menu bar in Acrobat or by navigating to the desktop folder and double-clicking the file).

Step 3

Check if the fields to complete are highlighted on the form. If the fields are not highlighted, click the option, "Highlight form fields" in the top toolbar (located at the top of the document window, below the top menu bar of application commands).

Step 4

Click the first form field to select it and type the desired information (such as "First Name").

Step 5

Press the "Tab" button to move to the next form field or click the next form field to select it. Type the desired information (such as "Last Name").

Step 6

Check if a special format is required for a form field, such as date, social security number or telephone number where the information must be entered in a specific sequence. For example, date format might require two digits for the month and day, followed by four digits for the year, with all numbers separated by the "/" symbol. The telephone number format might require a three-digit area code typed before the seven-digit number.

Step 7

Repeat steps 5 and 6 for the rest of the fields in the PDF.

Step 8

Click the "Print," "Save" or "Submit" button to generate your completed form. Some forms might not allow printing or saving to the computer. Other forms might be processed automatically through the "Submit" button to a secure server or via email. There is nothing wrong with the application if all of these options are not available to select (e.g., the "Print" and "Save" functions might appear grayed out under "File" in the top menu bar).

Tips & Warnings

  • Some form fields might not be highlighted because users don't need to complete these fields. These might automatically be filled in from previous data entered or for use by the recipient.
  • Adobe Reader cannot make changes to a PDF form, or create form fields on a PDF form.