In this tutorial, learn how to fill in forms using and save PDF forms using the free Reader. This quick tip looks at the differences between a basic PDF form and a Reader-enabled PDF form and how to save either fillable PDF form using Acrobat Reader.
Donna Baker March 26, 2012
This interactive PDF form is opened in Adobe Reader X. A warning dialog box explains that you can only save a printed copy of the form. Click the Close button, then click the first field to start typing the information. Now you can start filling in the fields.
Here’s another version of the same PDF form in Adobe Reader X. Click to activate the first field and start filling in the form. Why is there a difference?
The key is in the file name—the suffix _distributed means the file has been saved with more features for use in Adobe Reader X. You'll see a few differences in the program window: The _distributed form has a new Navigation pane not available in the basic form; the _distributed form has a Submit button not available in the basic form, and the _distributed form includes an Extended tool pane not available in the basic form.
The modified form is called a Reader-enabled form. Let’s see how to use it. Click the Document Extensions tab to see a list of features added to the form. Let’s look at the Comment pane. Notice the pane shows active commenting tools. Now let’s check out the Extended tools. Extended features let you add more content, use digital and other signatures, or use special tools for data and measurements.Click Extended to close the Tool pane again.
When you finish filling out the form, click Save to save a copy to your computer, or click the Submit Form button to return the file. The Submit Form dialog box opens. The address, subject, and attachment are already prepared. Type your e-mail address and name, then click Send to submit the form.
Let’s go back to the basic form now. Click Sign, and you see there are no usable tools, just a dialog box explaining the document’s status. Click Comment, and you see you can’t use the comment tools, either.
To save your form, click File > Save As > PDF. Here’s the blank form message again. Continue to save a blank form, or click Cancel. Printing is the only way to save a completed copy of the form. Click the Print button, choose your printer settings, and click Print.
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