How to replace background pages in PDF online forms using Acrobat X or XI

Learn how to avoid creating form fields again by replacing background pages with existing PDF online form fields.

By December 13, 2011


Learn how you can use Acrobat X or XI to replace the background pages of PDF online forms with existing PDF online form fields to avoid creating all the online form fields again. Acrobat has a simple process called Replace pages that allows you to modify your original PDF form design while maintaining all the existing PDF online form fields that you’ve placed on your PDF form.

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How to replace background pages in PDF online forms using Acrobat X or XI

Lori KassubaDecember 13, 2011

When developing a form in Acrobat X or XI Std. or Pro., have you ever had to return to your original form document to make edits or changes? Such as this misspelled word in this particular document. This can be quite a time-consuming task if you've already placed numerous form fields on your PDF form. Fortunately, Acrobat has a simple process, called Replace pages, that allows you to modify your original form design while maintaining all the existing form fields that you’ve placed on your PDF form.

To begin, I'll go ahead and correct the spelling in my form in Microsoft Word, and then save the changes and exit out of Word. Next, I’ll bring up my original form in Acrobat with the misspelled word. And I'll open up the Tools pane, Pages panel, and select the Replace command. In the dialog, select the file that you would like to replace. And notice that you can select any type of file that Acrobat converts. So, I’ll select the Word file that I just updated, and the Replace pages command will automatically convert the Word file to PDF and then you can select the pages you would like to update. In this particular case, I’ll just update the first page. And voila, the underlying form design is updated while maintaining your existing form fields.

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PA Association of Area Agencies on Aging, Inc.

8, 2015-08-27 27, 2015

I created a form in Microsoft Word and converted it to a fillable form in Acrobat X Pro.  I then submitted it to be approved by our Director.  The form came back to me with changes to be made, so I made the changes in the word document and had to recreate the form, which meant reformatting all of the form fields!  After a few more change requests, I thought to myself, “There’s got to be an easier way!!”  I decided to google a solution, and after many unsuccessful attempts I found your tutorial!!  Hallelujah!  I’m so happy that I now know the simple step of making the necessary change in the word doc…saving it…then opening up the PDF form to be updated and simply replacing the background page!!

Life is good :)


Lori Kassuba

2, 2015-03-02 02, 2015

Hi Craig Gonzalez,

I’ve heard of this happening when you copy/paste form fields but not when you use the Replace Pages command. Are you using this specific command?


Craig Gonzalez

2, 2015-02-26 26, 2015

I tried this, My orignal background is a PDF doc as well as the replacement. When I do this all the fielsds get moved. The actually flip Horizontilly and Vertically. Why?

Lori Kassuba

10, 2014-07-13 13, 2014

Hi Holly,

What type of information in on the page before you add the background? If it’s a scanned image, then it will be difficult to see the new background. Have you tried using the Watermark feature instead? This command allows you to place the content behind the page or on top of the page - which might be what you need.



11, 2014-07-11 11, 2014


I’m trying to add a background to my pdf but it just won’t show, any advice? Using Adobe Acrobat 9 Standard. Regardless of whether I press ‘OK’ or press ‘Apply to Multiple’ it doesn’t work.

Ange Holt

5, 2014-03-15 15, 2014

Many thanks - that tutorial was exactly what I was after.

Bharat Solanki

1, 2012-12-17 17, 2012

How to use b ackground command in Adobe Reader x.
( i.e.I want to write word letter on my company letter pad-pdf)

Thanks in advance !!

Hi Bharat,

The replace pages command is only available in Acrobat Std. or Pro.


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