How to Make PDF Files Fillable and Savable

By Amy Dombrower

The Portable Document Format (PDF) file is a widely used format that preserves a document's format and can be easily viewed using free software such as Adobe Reader. Adobe Acrobat is the software you need to create interactive PDF forms, often used for applications or surveys. Use Acrobat to create customized forms that users can fill in and save on their own computers. As the author of the form, you must enable extended rights in order to let Acrobat Reader users save their form data.

Things You'll Need

  • Adobe Acrobat

Create an Interactive Form

Step 1

In Adobe Acrobat, select the "Forms" menu. Click "Start Form Wizard."

Step 2

Choose whether to convert an existing document, such as a Word document or PDF, to a form or to create one from scratch. Select "An Existing Electronic Document" to convert a form you've already written out. Otherwise, click "File," "Create PDF" and "From Blank Page" and begin using the Start Form Wizard.

Step 3

Follow the on-screen instructions in the Start Form Wizard.

Step 4

Select the "Forms" menu. Click "Add or Edit Fields" to begin adding interactive form fields.

Step 5

Click "Form Tools" under "Forms." Select a form tool to begin. Each tool corresponds to a different type of an interactive form field, such as a fillable text box, check box, list or button.

Step 6

Click on the page where you want to add the field. Drag a rectangle to customize the size of the field.

Step 7

Type a name for the field in the "Field Name" box. Choose if you want the field to be mandatory. Click "Show All Properties" to change other field properties.

Step 8

Continue adding different fields until you've completed the form.

Step 9

Click the "Preview" button to preview the form. Click the "Edit Layout" button to continue editing.

Step 10

Save the form.

Enable Reader Rights

Step 1

Click "Close Form Editing."

Step 2

Click the "Advanced" menu.

Step 3

Select "Extend Features in Adobe Reader" if you're using Acrobat Pro or Pro Extended. Select "Extend Forms Fill-In & Save In Adobe Reader" in Acrobat Standard. This will ensure Reader users can save their filled-in data on their computers when you send the PDF to them. In Acrobat Pro and Pro Extended, the rights also allow users to add comments, sign the PDF digitally and use the Typewriter Tool.