Creating Fillable PDF Forms With InDesign and Acrobat

MargaretDesign Tools, Legal Product Design, Visual Creation Tools1 Comment

Tutorial to make interactive fillable form

Do you want to create a form to distribute out to the public, that users can fill in (within constraints set by you)? Then it’s worth investing in some powerful software, beyond standard Microsoft Word & Adobe Acrobat Reader. Learning to use Adobe products like InDesign & Illustrator is useful to create PDFs that are more usable, interactive, and user-friendly.

Here is one tutorial for using Adobe InDesign to create forms that your user can fill in just using any PDF reader: via Creating Fillable PDF Forms With InDesign and Adobe Acrobat. Click the link to go to the full tutorial.

Creating forms in Acrobat can be a taxing process. The recognition software may create fields on one line but not the next. You may get a radio button where you wanted a checkbox. Seemingly simple tasks that should take minutes can take hours to correct and fine tune. In this tutorial, you will learn how to design a clean, working form to minimize your workflow headaches.

The first rule of thumb is to keep your design uncluttered. The OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software that Acrobat uses to convert your design into a working form can only see clear, legible type and high-contrasting elements. The best way to ensure that your design is readable is to stick to a white background with black type for any info that needs to be converted. Avoid fancy graphical elements in the background. Also make sure elements are separated and there is no overlapping text, which can cause form fields to fuse together and do other funky things that can add hours to your work.

We’ll go through creating a simple form, but by no means does your design have to look exactly like this to get a form that works. Just follow the instructions on spacing and how to place form fields and otherwise do your own thing with it.


One Comment on ““Creating Fillable PDF Forms With InDesign and Acrobat”

  1. softserialhq

    i’ve been using PDF X change viewer for a couple of years now – love love love the fact that i can have tabbed documents open just like tabbed pages in a browser (which adobe still hasn’t thought to do!). it can also remember which documents i had open, AND where i had them open to (great for those uni ebooks)

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