Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro: Creating pdf forms

Adobe available on both Windows and Mac. For complete software compatibility lists, follow links at the end of this post.

Introduction
This blog post is going to discuss the process of creating a pdf form containing text boxes in which the user can type information and then save the document along with that information. Creating such a pdf file becomes useful in the situation when you want multiple people to fill out a digital form in which information can be typed without altering the layout of the pdf or modifying any of the preexisting information.

Using Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro to add text fields
Let’s suppose we already have a pdf file that we want to add text boxes to. Creating such a pdf is achieved in a simple way by using different applications such as Microsoft Word, Adobe Photoshop or simply scanning a hard copy document. We will also need to have a copy of Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro installed. For this blog post we used the following pdf file: SampleForm
This pdf was created using Adobe Photoshop and we would like to add text boxes for the Last name, First name, Address fields and ending with Telephone field. To do this we have to open the pdf with Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro. From the Forms menu we click on Start form Wizard. The wizard will try to add text boxes automatically to your pdf based on the content of your file. In the Create or Edit Form click on Use an existing file and click Next. Leave the Use the current document option selected and click Next. You will notice that Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro will add text boxes for you, but in most cases it will add text boxes in places where none should exist or it will omit some fields. This is not a problem though, because we can manually add/remove text boxes as we like.
For this tutorial, our pdf had a text box under the Sample Form title of the page and it should not be there. We simply click on this text box and press delete on the keyboard to delete it. A second problem we noticed with our pdf was the omission of the Address and Postal Code text boxes. To add text boxes you have to click on the Add New Field drop down menu and click on Text Field.

You can now drag a box around the region where you would like users to type their information. We added two text boxes, one next to the Address field and one next to the Postal Code.

There are also other options that one can access from the Add New Field menu, such as Check Boxes, Radio Buttons, List Boxes etc. We are not going to discuss them in this blog post, but they can be added and modified in a similar way.

Basic Text Field options
1. Changing the font of the text field. When users type in their information, the text field will use the default font for Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro. Changing the font type is done by right-clicking on the respective text field and going to Properties.

In the Text Field Properties window go to the Appearance tab and change the font from the Font drop down menu. You can also change the alignment of the text by going to the Options tab in the same Text Field Properties window and clicking on the Alignment drop down menu and selecting Left/Center/Right.

2. Setting some text fields as required. You may want that some text fields require some information before the pdf file is saved. To do this right click on the text field you want to set as required and click on Set as Required Field. You will see that the border of the text field turns red indicating that it is a required field.

3. Setting all text fields to have the same size. If you dislike your text fields having different dimensions you can resize them automatically based on their Height/Width/Both. To do this, you have to select all text fields that you want to modify by holding down the CTRL button on your keyboard and selecting the text fields. Right-click over one of the selected text fields and go to Set Fields to Same Size and select Height/Width/Both.

Saving the pdf file
After all editing has been completed you have to click on Close Form Editing to be able to save the pdf file.

You can now go to File->Save As to make a copy of your pdf form. If at a later point in time you would like to reedit the pdf form, all you have to do is open the file with Acrobat Pro and from the Forms menu access the Add or Edit fields. After that,  you can edit your text fields as explained above.

Conclusion
In this blog post we have illustrated a fast and easy way to create a pdf form using Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro. To illustrate the process we added only text fields to our pdf form; in reality, there are more options available to you, such as Check Boxes, Radio Buttons, List Boxes etc.

If you have any questions related to this blog post, feel free to contact us at the STA Program, telephone x2589 or by email at sta-help@trincoll.edu.

Follow these links for complete software compatibility lists.

Lab software http://www.trincoll.edu/Library/its/computing/Pages/Lab.aspx
Supported software http://www.trincoll.edu/Library/its/computing/Pages/Software.aspx
Office software http://www.trincoll.edu/Library/its/computing/Pages/Office.aspx

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