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How to type into a PDF form in Reader

Learn how you can enter text into a PDF form that does not have fillable PDF form fields.

By Lori Kassuba – December 13, 2011


In this tutorial, learn how you can enter text into a PDF form that does not have fillable PDF form fields. One quick way to see if your PDF file has form fields is to look in the Document Message Bar.

View transcript

How to type into a PDF form in Reader

Lori Kassuba – December 13, 2011

Have you ever downloaded a PDF form only to find that the actual form doesn’t contain any fillable form fields? Like the file on the right. One quick way tosee if your PDF file has form fields is to look in the Document Message Bar. This is the purple space between the Toolbar and the Document Pane. If your PDF file has fillable form fields, you'll see a message telling you to fill out the form, like the file on the left. If you don’t see any Message bar, like the file on the right, then your PDF file doesn’t contain any pre-existing form fields. So, if you still desire to fill out your form electronically, you’ll need to use Acrobat X Standard or Pro. to do this. You can download a 30-day trial copy of Acrobat from to check out this functionality.

Now once you have downloaded and installed your copy of Acrobat, like I have open now. All you need to do is follow these simple steps to fill out your form.Open your PDF document, go to the Tools pane, Content panel and select the Add or Edit Text Box tool. This tool is also referred to as the Typewriter toolbecause of the typewriter icon. After selecting this tool, move the cursor, which will appear as an I-beam with the letter A, into the document and click in the area you'd like to type. You can also change the font size, up to 24 points, font type, font color, as well as line spacing with the Typewriter tool operations. Right-clicking on typewriter text allows you to spell check and perform Thesaurus look ups.

Products covered:

Acrobat XAcrobat Reader

Related topics:

PDF Forms

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Comments for this tutorial are now closed.

Lori Kassuba

7, 2016-02-12 12, 2016

Hi Debbie Tromp,

If you need to add more text try using the Add Text Tool located under the Comments tool.


Debbie Tromp

11, 2016-02-10 10, 2016

How do I extend the highlighted field to add a letter to a word I am typing

Lori Kassuba

7, 2016-01-15 15, 2016

Hi Rand E Oertle,

The Distribute command is located in the Prepare Form tool in Acrobat DC. This will automatically create a submit message bar on your form that returns the completed forms to you.


Rand E Oertle

12, 2016-01-08 08, 2016

Your answer assumes I know a lot more than I do. What is a Distribute command in Adobe?  The answer doesn’t help me at all.

Lori Kassuba

6, 2015-12-23 23, 2015


If you use the Distribute command in Acrobat, then it will automatically add a submit button to your form.



12, 2015-12-22 22, 2015

Comment faire pour envoyé le formulaire

How to send the form?

Lori Kassuba

7, 2015-08-27 27, 2015

Hi Safdar Ali,

The easiest way would be to download the very latest version of Acrobat Reader (DC) and use the Fill & Sign tool to fill out a form.


Lori Kassuba

7, 2015-08-27 27, 2015

Hi Mangesh,

In Reader XI or later (DC) you can use the Add Text comment tool to add a dash line through this area.


Safdar Ali

8, 2015-08-17 17, 2015


  how to write in PDF file please guide me in simple way so that I can understand.hope you will give me good response asap.
Safdar Ali


10, 2015-07-02 02, 2015

how can I score off inapplicable portion in a pdf form, diagonally with a dotted line and N.A. typed in the middle.  Like ”————————- N.A.————————”

David Reyes

10, 2015-05-29 29, 2015

Hi Lori,

Thanks for taking the time to make this video. It was short, sweet, and straight to the point!


Lori Kassuba

6, 2015-01-29 29, 2015

Hi Janet R,

Yes, Adobe Reader Mobile for Android has a comment tool that allows you to add text to your PDF.


Janet R

4, 2015-01-27 27, 2015

Can I edit or enter text on my samsung tablet?

Lori Kassuba

2, 2015-01-21 21, 2015

Hi Olha Hirka,

You’re welcome and thanks for letting us know it worked for you.


Olha Hirka

4, 2015-01-16 16, 2015

Thank you so much, Lori.  Just what I needed!

Lori Kassuba

2, 2015-01-16 16, 2015

Hi Olha Hirka,

In order for someone to change the font color in a form field, the person that created the form needs to set the field up to “Allow Rich Text Formatting”. Once this is done, then you can use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + e to bring up the field properties and change the text color.


Olha Hirka

4, 2015-01-13 13, 2015

Is there any way for a user who is filling out a text field in a PDF form (Reader XI) to select font color?


1, 2014-09-15 15, 2014

Thanks Lori! I downloaded XI :)

Lori Kassuba

4, 2014-07-03 03, 2014

Hi Samantha S,

Version XI of the free Reader now includes the Add Text tool under the Comments pane so you don’t need to download Acrobat to fill out a form.


Samantha S

11, 2014-07-01 01, 2014

what is it that we have to download?? what is the 30 day trail called?


12, 2014-06-19 19, 2014

Thank you for this tutorial. I now know how to change my font sizes and fill out the form quickly and easily!


11, 2013-12-09 09, 2013

Thanks for the info. It was easy to understand and helpful. Keep up the good work!

Patty Friesen

9, 2013-11-29 29, 2013

Hi Tenly,

The final screen has a replay button in the upper right corner. Just click “Watch again,” and the video immediately begins to replay.

Hope this helps.


Tenly Rodrigues

12, 2013-11-29 29, 2013

This tutorial sounds good. too bad I am not able to replay the video to see if it really works

Mary N

8, 2013-04-23 23, 2013

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this short but informative video.  The contents are simple but through and easy to follow and is incredibly helpful to people like me who need to fill out several PDF forms that do not contain editable field.  You have saved me much time and hassle.  Thanks again.

Comments for this tutorial are now closed.