How to create PDF forms from existing documents in Acrobat XI

Learn how create a fillable PDF form from an existing file using the Form Wizard.

By October 5, 2012

 



In this tutorial, learn how create a fillable PDF form from an existing file using the Form Wizard like a scanned document or Microsoft Word file.

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How to create PDF forms from existing documents in Acrobat XI

Donna BakerOctober 5, 2012

How do I turn an existing document into a PDF form with fillable fields?

Follow these 5 simple steps to create a fillable PDF form from an existing document using Acrobat XI Std. or Pro.

  1. Open the Forms panel and click Create. Click Create
  2. Click From Existing Document and click Next. Use an existing document. Click Next.
  3. Pick the document and click Continue to create the form fields. Click Continue to start field recognition. Click to use the open document. Description of Form Editing Mode.Click OK.
  4. The Form Editing pane opens showing form tools and a list of fields. Named form fields. Form Field toolbar
  5. Review the list of field names. Field names use column headings. Name includes Row number.

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Products covered:

Acrobat XI

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PDF Forms

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31 comments

Comments for this tutorial are now closed.

Lori Kassuba

7, 2015-03-02 02, 2015

Hi Bryce,

You’ll need Acrobat and not just the free Reader to create PDF forms.

Thanks,
Lori

Bryce

6, 2015-02-25 25, 2015

Hi,
The forms panel does not show up on my copy of reader XI.
What can be done to fix this?
Thanks.

Lori Kassuba

7, 2014-02-12 12, 2014

Hi Adar Belinkoff,

I would try running the Text Recognition command on the scanned document first to see if you get better results during the form field creation process.

Thanks,
Lori

Adar Belinkoff

9, 2014-02-10 10, 2014

I am having trouble creating editable PDFs from scanned PDFs.  I follow the steps in the tutorial but either I get a few editable fields or none at all. What am I doing wrong?

donna baker

6, 2014-01-25 25, 2014

Hi Kumbi -

You’ll have to check with your network administrator or provider to see if there’s some firewall issue that’s causing the block.

donna.

kumbi

2, 2014-01-22 22, 2014

i am using Adobe reader for some personal isues,but always it is blocking my service,so please how can i can be able to use it without blocking?

Lori Kassuba

2, 2014-01-13 13, 2014

Hi Sandy,

First thing is to make sure your daughter is using Adobe Reader version XI on her computer - this will allow her to save all the information she types in the form you create. Second, are these worksheets existing documents like from a program such as Microsoft Word? If so, use the technique mentioned in this tutorial to create form fields. Once you have the fields created, she can fill them in using Adobe Reader XI.

Thanks,
Lori

Sandy

10, 2014-01-06 06, 2014

Please help? I have just purchased Acrobat Pro XI. I’m just a parent, and all I need to do is create lots of PDF fillable worksheets for my daughter who can’t write and so needs to type her answers into fields. However, I’m totally new at this, and I have never created a form like this before. What are all the codes identifying the fields to be used for? I’m so confused! If I make a form/worksheet, can she open and complete it on her own laptop desktop with Adobe Reader? There’s no Dummies book available yet, but is there a place where I can find basic info for how to do this?

donna baker

5, 2013-12-02 02, 2013

Hi Ann-Sofie -

To both your questions - yes. You should ask that they use the newest version of Adobe Reader. Also, make sure your form is Reader-enabled. You can do that by using the Form distribution process, or using the File > Save as command and choose a Reader-enabled format.

donna.

I doesn’t matter if I use typewriter or Text fields. It is the same problem. I have re-done the forms several times, but some of my customers can’t use them in any format.

Can it be related to version of Adobe Reader?
Can their IT-dep have done something to prohobit the function?

 

Ann-Sofie

10, 2013-11-30 30, 2013

I doesn’t matter if I use typewriter or Text fields. It is the same problem. I have re-done the forms several times, but some of my customers can’t use them in any format.

Can it be related to version of Adobe Reader?
Can their IT-dep have done something to prohobit the function?

donna baker

6, 2013-11-29 29, 2013

Hi Annsofie -

You may want to recreate your form again. You want to use Text fields, not Typewriter-enabled files. There’s quite a difference. With the text fields, once you save it for distribution, the code is added to the file to allow Reader users to enter and save data. With the Typewriter version, you are producing a document that allows users to add Typewriter comments, which are different. For the latter, you’d still need to save the file with enabled features for Reader users.

donna.

Annsofie

9, 2013-11-20 20, 2013

Hi Donna and Patty
I have created a PDF form according to the video. Some of my users are having problems with the form. Either they can’t fill it in or, they can fill it in but not save it to bo able to resend it to me.

I have tried to make the form with Typewriter fields but it doesn’t help.
Any suggestion on solution?

donna baker

6, 2013-11-14 14, 2013

Hi Stephen -

Create your first field, such as a text field, and configure it as you like. Then right-click the field, and choose Use Current Properties as New Defaults. Now when you add additional fields of the same kind, you’ll have your new defaults. The defaults don’t carry over from form to form, however.

donna.

When creating forms how do you change the defaults for Properties; Font etc.

 

Stephen J

1, 2013-11-09 09, 2013

When creating forms how do you change the defaults for Properties; Font etc.

Lori Kassuba

3, 2013-11-05 05, 2013

Hi Marc,

You’ll find information in this discussion about how to create a script to load a list from an external file CSV file:
http://answers.acrobatusers.com/How-load-combo-box-drop-data-file-file-q63777.aspx

Thanks,
Lori

Lori Kassuba

3, 2013-11-05 05, 2013

Hi Christl,

You can use Page Templates to build new continuation pages onto your PDF. Here is a link to a discussion on the subject:
http://answers.acrobatusers.com/How-I-automatically-generate-page-PDF-form-q41216.aspx

Thanks,
Lori

Marc

8, 2013-11-02 02, 2013

Hello,
How do I add multiple items (50+) to list in a drop down box? I know I can type each item individually and add it, but I’m looking for a faster way to add allot of items quickly from a spreadsheet. One of my lists has 1000 item. Help!
Marc

Christl

7, 2013-09-27 27, 2013

I have a pdf form that has continuation sheets, but i need additional continuation sheets. How do I add and have it number the attachment.

kim

2, 2013-04-15 15, 2013

Thanks Donna, I will try the repair installation.

appreciate your comments,

Kim

donna baker

9, 2013-04-11 11, 2013

Hi Kim -

I’ve never heard of this particular problem, and I wonder if it’s related to the ‘health’ of your software. If you look in the Fields panel, do you have the odd new fields listed there? You could just select and delete them.

If you’re using Windows, try Help > Repair Acrobat Installation and let the program go through its components to check for any bits of code that aren’t working properly. Give it a few minutes to fix itself, then try again.

donna.

Kim M.

3, 2013-04-04 04, 2013

Hi Everyone,  I’m having a problem i hope someone can help me with.  I’ve created various forms with check and text boxes.  no problem.  when i edit the forms to line up the boxes to the left and some also distribute vertically, some (not all) of the boxes wind up duplicating themselves.  what i mean is that all of a sudden in one position i have 1 box on top of another.  has anyone else had this problem?  any ideas would be greatly appreciated.  thanks

donna baker

10, 2013-02-05 05, 2013

Hi DS -

You can’t as that’s a part of the form field. I guess you could change the colors to white so the arrows disappear. I haven’t tried that, but it should be possible, and would help with the display of the page.

donna.

momo

1, 2013-01-30 30, 2013

zeros: video NON en Français et pas d’audio!?
a refaire!

Bonjour Maurice,
Je suis désolé que la vidéo n’est pas disponible en français, mais il a intentionnellement aucun son, comme il est indiqué dans le coin inférieur droit de l’écran.
Patty

DS

8, 2013-01-29 29, 2013

I am trying to use drop-downs with grades for items on my training form so that I can select a grade for each subject but the form looks cluttered with all the drop down arrows on it. How can I hide the drop down arrows but still retain the drop-down list?

donna baker

6, 2013-01-28 28, 2013

Hi Bonnie -

You can’t do that. There has to be some way of defining when you’re finished working in (or focusing) on one field and setting the focus on the next field. Rather than the space bar, you can use the Tab key, but some action must always occur for the program to move on to the next field.

donna.

Bonnie Boudreaux

4, 2013-01-23 23, 2013

I have a Louisiana state form (Boat Registration) that I am trying to set up as a PDF file to fill in without having to “space bar to each box”. I would appreciate ANY assistance in making this a PDF file that is easily fillable.

donna baker

6, 2013-01-15 15, 2013

Hi Milt -

Do you know if the forms are captured text or not? If not, you won’t be able to build a form. Also, it would be very useful if the page is tagged as that makes the autorecognition of form fields more precise.

To check, open a form file in Acrobat. Open the Text Recognition tools in the Tools panel, and click In This File. That’ll convert the page image to words and graphics. Then open the Accessibility tools, and click Add Tags to Document.

Once both those steps are completed, save the file. Now open the Forms tools, and click Create. Hopefully your files will now process.

donna.

donna baker

6, 2013-01-15 15, 2013

Hi Thom Parker -

A silent movie star. I love it. Now where did I leave my false eyelashes…

donna.

Milt Kelly

5, 2013-01-08 08, 2013

I have several forms created in Word (97-2003) that were eemailed to me by a colleague. Attempting to create them into PDF forms, I am told that the cannot be created in Acrobat because they are an improper format for Acrobat XI Pro.  I’ve tried several things to effect the conversion unsuccessfully including Convert with INFO in Word, Save as, and printing to PDF all to no avail.  Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated>  Thanks in advance

Thom Parker

3, 2012-12-20 20, 2012

Go Donna, You are truly a silent movie star;) The presentation is brilliant!! You’ve managed to pack the most relevant and informative information in to the smallest space.

Cheers,

Patty Friesen

4, 2012-12-03 03, 2012

Hi P Woo,

The video has no audio, so there is no sound. The picture works fine for me. You may have to let the video buffer for a few seconds before the images display.

Let me know if you continue to have trouble viewing.

Thanks, Patty

P Woo

1, 2012-12-02 02, 2012

I have no sound and no picture.

Matt Wise

5, 2012-11-13 13, 2012

My audio works.

Aleksandar Radoicic

12, 2012-11-05 05, 2012

There is no sound.

Hi Aleksandar,

Some of our videos are read-only. In the bottom right corner of the video pane, a “No audio” icon appears to indicate when a video has no audio.

Hope this helps.

Patty

Patty Friesen

6, 2012-10-22 22, 2012

Hi RF,

Some of our videos are read-only. In the bottom right corner of the video pane, a “No audio” icon appears to indicate when a video has no audio.

Hope this helps.

Patty

RF McMullen

4, 2012-10-21 21, 2012

There is no audio -

Comments for this tutorial are now closed.