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Turn Word Document into PDF Form

zyman10 (TechnicalUser) (OP)
19 Feb 12 11:08

I have a MS Word document that is just a form like you would fill out at a doctor's office or job interview, and I need to turn into a PDF.  The issue is not the conversion.  The issue is once it is converted I want the form fields inside the PDF to be editable.  So if I put this PDF out on the web or emailed it to someone, then could download it to their computer and start filling it out by typing in the fields in the PDF without any extra software.   The key is no extra software for the end user.   I know this can be accomplished if I require that anyone who downloads this also has PDF writer, but my goal is to make it so anyone can do this.

Also it would be nice if they could tab between fields.

Is there a way to do this?

BobJacksonNCI (TechnicalUser)
19 Feb 12 11:21

What is the definition of "extra software"?

PDF's by design are not changeable without specialized software.

If the end user is expected to have Word, then you could change your document to a Word form and accomplish the task.


Bob   morning

zyman10 (TechnicalUser) (OP)
19 Feb 12 11:51
Well having microsoft word would be extra software.  I want someone who doesn't have word or any MS product, and no PDF writer to be able to fill out this form, save it, and send it back.

strongm (MIS)
19 Feb 12 13:22
> The issue is not the conversion.  The issue is once it is converted I want the form fields inside the PDF to be editable.

I beg to differ. The conversion is exactly the issue - you need a convertor that recognizes Word form fields and converts them to PDF form fields. Naturally Adobe Acrobat Pro can do this (although the documents often need a little bit of manual fix up afterwards).

The PDF forms can then be used quite happily by anyone with Acrobat Reader.

Of course if you are suggesting they don't even have Acrobat Reader than yopu are out of luck; a PDF needs at least some software before it can be read ...
tarn (TechnicalUser)
19 Feb 12 13:29
PDF's are just basically and image so using PDF is not a sensible option for your needs.

You say that what you want is so they can just download and then fill in the fields, so why not just provide a html page (form) with text fields and set the form action to MAILTO:?

This will mean that anyone that you want to have the form only needs the url link and then their own preferred web browser / mail client will process the form so you need do nothing other than provide the form on a webpage (as you were going to do with your .pdf), or you can email the html form direct via email again allowing their existing browser or mail client to do the processing.

The only downside is that you have to expose an email address in the html source but again that would probably have been in the instructions you gave them anyway.  

Take a look here for a simple example ... though you can get much more fancy.


LyleU (Vendor)
19 Feb 12 13:57
You can CREATE fillable PDF's using any version of the full Acrobat product from 7.0 onwards.

These can be opened and filled in by anyone using the Acrobat PDF Reader software. If the reader counts as "extra" software, then you are out of luck.

Here is a link:


"For every expert, there is an equal and opposite expert." - Arthur C. Clarke.


zyman10 (TechnicalUser) (OP)
19 Feb 12 14:29
Yes, I guess this is the obvious solution.  So as long as you have adobe reader, you can fill out a fillable form i make in adobe standard.

That makes sense.  

Thank you all.
strongm (MIS)
19 Feb 12 20:43
>PDF's are just basically and image so using PDF is not a sensible option for your needs

This is just wrong
tarn (TechnicalUser)
20 Feb 12 3:49


strongm: This is just wrong

Yes I totally apologise for that statement, I was using a school boy description and not thinking about the audience.

I have also researched and now believe that if the author of the .pdf has enabled it, then the recipient can indeed fill out form fields in an Adobe .pdf form document using basic Adobe reader.

I stand corrected. (maybe I should not stray so far from my expertise next time ;) )

zyman10 (TechnicalUser) (OP)
20 Feb 12 4:36
yeah, so the only way is for the user of the form to have pdf reader...

it would be nice to create an HTML form that mail-merged a .PDF or .DOC to me, but that's just a lot of work.

unless there is some sort of library that already does this with php or some similar web language, maybe this wouldn't be too bad.

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