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Create fillable PDF forms: A step-by-step guide

create fillable pdf
By Drazen Vujovic. Last Updated February 2, 2024

PDF files have come a long way from their static origins. 

They evolved into interactive forms that encourage user engagement with different field properties. However, some people still don’t know how to unleash their full potential.

In this post, we’ll show you:

  • The difference between traditional PDF and fillable forms
  • Benefits of using a fillable PDF file
  • How to create a fillable PDF form from the existing document

Let’s dive in!

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The difference between traditional PDF files and fillable forms

Traditional PDF documents are static files that you can print and fill out by hand. They are essentially digital versions of paper forms — users download and print them, fill them out manually, scan them, and send them via email.

On the other hand, fillable PDF forms are interactive and dynamic documents. 

That means you can fill them out directly on a computer or smartphone without printing. They contain editable fields such as:

  • Checkboxes
  • Radio buttons
  • Text fields
  • Drop-down menus
  • Signature fields

With a fillable PDF form, you can enter data on your own or select options from the provided menus. 

Why use a fillable PDF form

Perhaps this sounds obvious, but some reasons for using a fillable PDF document might surprise you. Here’s our list of the most important benefits:

  1. Fillable PDFs allow you to type directly into the form fields — no manual handwriting needed 
  2. They look professional due to consistent fonts, alignment, and formatting
  3. A fillable form ensures consistency because you can present information uniformly across all submissions
  4. Fillable PDFs are accessible to people with disabilities who may rely on assistive technologies such as screen readers 
  5. It’s also easy to store these files electronically, which means they don’t require physical storage space
  6. Different types of form fields allow for structured data collection
  7. Although they lack the auto-saving feature, fillable PDFs allow you or your clients to save a partially filled form and return to it later
  8. Electronic documents can also include fields for digital signatures, so you can securely sign documents without printing 


You can count on all features only if you subscribe to Adobe Acrobat. If you want full editing capabilities, you’ll need to pay $240 per year for the Adobe Pro package.

How to create a fillable PDF form from the existing document

Adobe Acrobat makes it easy to create a fillable PDF document in a matter of minutes. You can create it from an existing PDF document, a Microsoft Word file, an image, or even a scanned paper document.

Here’s how to do that in a few simple steps:

  • Step 1: Launch Adobe Acrobat
  • Step 2: Go to ToolsPrepare Form
  • Step 3: Select a file from your device or scan a document 
  • Step 4: Add more fields to the form (or delete some if needed)
  • Step 5: Go to Toolbar and make layout adjustments to the document 
  • Step 6: Save your fillable form 
  • Step 7: Click Distribute to share the form with your clients or colleagues

The best thing about Adobe Acrobat is that it automatically scans and interprets uploaded files to create fillable form fields. All you need to do is to adjust the file and add extra fields if necessary. 

Content Snare: A better way to create forms and capture data

Fillable form fields make PDF a much better tool for individual users. But if you spend a lot of time chasing clients for information, content, or documents, PDF is not enough for your business.

Enter Content Snare, a tool designed to help you build perfect online forms with features that streamline information gathering and document collection processes. How come?

Firstly, you don’t have to build forms from scratch. Our library of templates is packed with ready-made solutions for digital agencies, marketing teams, accounting practices, law firms, and many other types of businesses. 

You can use a template as is or customize it to suit your demands. Here’s an example of our Landing Page template:

Secondly, Content Snare offers a whole pack of features that speed up your work. We’ll briefly explain only some of the most notable options:

  • All requests come with automated reminders, so you don’t have to bother with repetitive tasks like emails
  • The system automatically saves user inputs — your clients can abandon the form without saving progress and still pick up where they left off
  • You can monitor the progress of all requests thanks to our user-friendly dashboard
  • Content Snare lets you control access, delegating tasks and responsibilities to other members of your team
  • It’s easy to download requests and export data in different formats, PDF included
  • You can approve an item or reject it if it’s not the right piece of information or content
  • You can even write a message within forms to clarify your request

In addition, sending sensitive information or PDF forms via email is not secure enough

We understand that you want to protect yourself and your clients, so we take security very seriously. Content Snare relies on advanced firewalls, user authentication, encryption, backups, and network isolation to keep your data perfectly secure at all times. 

Last but not least, Content Snare’s Zapier integration makes it easy to connect with thousands of third-party apps. That way, you can add our platform to your toolkit without slowing down internal procedures or interfering with the existing systems.

With so many advanced functionalities, it’s clear that Content Snare is a much more powerful tool than a PDF form creator. Are you ready to try it out?

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Improve your data gathering process using our ready-made templates, in-form conversations, automated reminders, and many other advanced features.

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Drazen Vujovic

Dražen Vujović is a journalist and content writer. More importantly, he is a father of two and a long-distance runner.