Tips for Enabling and Completing Fillable PDF Forms

Have you ever been asked to complete and electronically submit a fillable PDF form only to find that you couldn’t save it after you’d finished completing it?  That all you could do was print it, then have to snail mail, fax, or scan it back in?

Or maybe you’re the one who created a form then received complaints from users who spent time completing the form but couldn’t save it?

If those completing the form were using the free Adobe Acrobat Reader, you’ve probably encountered this problem.  While saving fillable PDFs is easy with Adobe Acrobat Pro, it’s often not possible for those using Acrobat Reader.

There are a couple of ways around this problem without spending hundreds to purchase Acrobat Pro.

For form creators, there are some simple changes that you can make to way that you save your form in Acrobat Pro that will allow users to be able to save the form that they’ve just completed.  Rather than selecting Save, you’ll do a Save As and select Reader Extended PDF.  For more information, see these instructions from Adobe.

I followed the instructions and successfully created a form that I could complete and save using the free Acrobat Reader.  I also found that I could reopen it later and add more information.  That’s especially useful for longer forms.

For form users, there is an app called Sign My Pad that allows one to fill out as well as sign any PDF form, regardless of how it was saved.  It doesn’t even have to be a fillable form.   You can add text, boxes, signatures, etc. to any PDF.  Sign My Pad is available for less than $4 for both iPad and Android.