Remember the time when people actually liked using PDF?
That was a decade or two ago when PDF was one of the rare ways to bypass traditional paper forms.
But things have changed.
While still largely in use, PDF forms have many limitations. For many businesses, fillable PDFs are a bottleneck rather than a solution.
If you’re using fillable PDF forms in your work, read on to learn about their pros, cons, and alternatives.
Let’s dive in!
Still using inefficient PDF forms? Try Content Snare
Improve your data gathering process using our ready-made templates, in-form conversations, automated reminders, and many other advanced features.
What’s a PDF form? A brief overview
A PDF form is a digital document that allows users to input and manage data directly within the document itself.
Unlike traditional PDF documents, which are static and cannot be modified, PDF forms include fillable form fields, checkboxes, radio buttons, drop-down lists, and other interactive elements that facilitate user interaction.
As such, fillable PDF forms give you some practical benefits:
- Simplicity: A fillable PDF form is as simple as a traditional paper form. Millions of users rely on its fillable form fields to fill in information directly on their devices.
- Universality: You can use PDF forms on nearly all types of devices and operating systems.
- Familiarity: Most people already know how to use PDF documents.
Main drawbacks of a fillable PDF form
PDF is a widespread data entry tool, but it’s far from perfect. In this section, we’ll breeze through the main drawbacks of using a traditional PDF form in your work:
1. Limited features
We mentioned that PDF contains important elements like signature fields or drop-down menus, but it still pales in comparison with modern platforms. Today, many document collection tools can create better fillable forms because they offer many other, often superior, features.
For instance, you can’t approve or reject client inputs in a PDF file. You also cannot start a conversation within documents — once your client fills out a form, you have to engage in endless back-and-forth emails to explain what needs to be changed.
These kinds of details make PDF files a bit outdated and inefficient.
2. Longer forms are complicated
PDF forms can be complex and challenging for users to fill out, particularly if the form is lengthy or contains numerous fields. Navigating between fields, especially in cases where the form lacks clear instructions or intuitive navigation, often results in frustration and errors.
3. Lack of real-time cooperation
PDFs are typically static documents that don’t support real-time collaboration among multiple users. This is a serious issue if your team has to contribute to or review the same form simultaneously.
In this case, they will have to pass the existing document back and forth, which causes version control issues and delays.
4. It’s not the safest data collection tool
A typical PDF form is only as secure as the way you send it. If that’s via email, it’s not very secure.
While you can some security to your document, it’s a process that requires certain effort. For instance, you’ll need to manually set up a password or enable encryption to protect sensitive information.
Streamline data collection with Content Snare
PDF forms are nice, but they are too slow and insufficient for contemporary businesses.
If you want to streamline data collection processes, you’ll need a modern tool with features that take file and information gathering to the next level.
A tool like Content Snare.
Our platform gives you a broad scope of functions that drastically outperform the average PDF editor. Here’s just a quick glimpse at what you get from us:
- Automated reminders: Your client still didn’t fill out the form? Not a problem! Automatic reminders will give them a gentle nudge, so you don’t have to chase clients for info or content anymore.
- Auto-save: Unlike most other form builders, Content Snare allows your clients to come back and pick up where they left off. No need to click ‘Save’ before exiting the form.
- Templates: We give you dozens of built-in data gathering templates to help you build comprehensive forms in minutes.
- Drag-and-drop: If you wish to customize the existing template or add a new form field, you can do it quickly with our drag-and-drop builder.
- A clear dashboard: A simple user interface lets you see everything in a split second — version history, pending requests, and many more.
- Discussions: You can answer clients’ questions within forms, avoiding all those awkward, endless email threads.
- Security: We understand that you’re managing sensitive data, hence multiple levels of security (2FA, encryption, firewalls, access controls, etc.)
What’s best, you can still use the PDF format if that’s your preferred option. Content Snare enables you to automatically export PDF files to popular platforms like Dropbox or Google Drive.