Reading:
How to add interactive form elements to a PDF

How to add interactive form elements to a PDF

Avatar photo
February 25, 2023

Add interactive form elements to your PDFs with this guide. Learn to create text fields, buttons, checkboxes, and more. Follow our step-by-step instructions for engaging and interactive PDFs.

Table of Contents

Introduction

PDFs are a great way to share documents, but they can also be made interactive by adding forms and hyperlinks. We’ll look in detail at how to add forms and hyperlinks using Adobe Acrobat DC.

ElementDescription
Text FieldAn interactive field that allows users to enter text, numbers, or symbols.
ButtonAn interactive button that performs a specific action, such as submitting the form, resetting the form, or opening a web page.
CheckboxAn interactive box that allows users to select one or more options from a list of choices.
Radio ButtonAn interactive button that allows users to select one option from a list of choices.
DropdownAn interactive field that displays a list of choices when clicked, and allows users to select one option from the list.
Option ListAn interactive list of choices that allows users to select one or more options.
SignatureAn interactive field that allows users to sign the form electronically using a mouse or touch screen.

Element #1: Text field

Adding interactive form elements, such as text fields, to a PDF file is a useful way to collect information from users. Text fields allow users to input their own information directly into the PDF, which can then be saved or printed.

How to add a text field to a PDF:

Step 1: Open the PDF


Open the PDF file that you want to add the text field to in Adobe Acrobat DC.

Step 2: Open the Form Editing Tools


Click on the “Tools” menu on the right-hand side of the screen and select “Prepare Form.”

Step 3: Add the Text Field


Select the “Text Field” option from the Form Editing Tools. Drag your mouse to create a text field in the desired location on the PDF. You can also adjust the size and properties of the text field by clicking on it and selecting “Properties.”

Step 4: Customize the Text Field


You can customize the text field by changing its name, default text, and formatting options. To do this, select the text field and click on “Properties.”

Step 5: Save the PDF


Once you have finished adding and customizing the text field, save the PDF file. The user can now enter text into the field and save or print the filled-out form.

Adding a text field to a PDF file is a straightforward process with Adobe Acrobat DC. It provides a convenient way for users to input information directly into the PDF document, and it can be saved and printed with ease. If you have any further questions or need additional help with adding text fields or other interactive form elements to your PDFs, Adobe offers a range of tutorials and support resources to assist you.

Element #2: Button

Interactive buttons are a useful addition to any PDF document as they allow the user to take action when clicking on them. Buttons can be used for a variety of purposes, such as submitting a form, navigating to a specific page, or opening a website.

How to add a button to a PDF file using Adobe Acrobat DC:

Step 1: Open the PDF


Open the PDF file that you want to add the button to in Adobe Acrobat DC.

Step 2: Open the Form Editing Tools


Click on the “Tools” menu on the right-hand side of the screen and select “Prepare Form.

Step 3: Add the Button


Select the “Button” option from the Form Editing Tools. Drag your mouse to create a button in the desired location on the PDF. You can also adjust the size and properties of the button by clicking on it and selecting “Properties.

Step 4: Customize the Button


You can customize the button by changing its appearance, name, and actions. To do this, select the button and click on “Properties.”

Step 5: Add an Action

To add an action to the button, select it and click on “Actions” in the Properties panel. You can choose from a variety of actions, such as opening a file or web page, submitting a form, or playing a sound.

Step 6: Save the PDF


Once you have finished customizing the button, save the PDF file. The user can now click on the button to take the desired action.

Adding a button to a PDF file provides users with a convenient way to take an action within the document, whether it’s to go to a specific page or submit a form. By using interactive buttons, you can increase the functionality and interactivity of your PDF documents and provide a better user experience for your readers.

interactive form elements

Element #3: Checkbox

Checkboxes are a useful interactive form elements for PDF files that allow users to make selections from a list of options.

How to add a checkbox to a PDF file:

Step 1: Open the PDF

Open the PDF file that you want to add the checkbox to in Adobe Acrobat DC.

Step 2: Open the Form

Editing Tools Click on the “Tools” menu on the right-hand side of the screen and select “Prepare Form.”

Step 3: Add the Checkbox

Select the “Checkbox” option from the Form Editing Tools. Drag your mouse to create a checkbox in the desired location on the PDF. You can also adjust the size and properties of the checkbox by clicking on it and selecting “Properties.”

Step 4: Customize the Checkbox

You can customize the checkbox by changing its name, default state, and appearance options. To do this, select the checkbox and click on “Properties.”

Step 5: Add More Checkboxes

If you need to add more checkboxes, select the “Checkbox” option again and repeat the process.

Step 6: Save the PDF

Once you have finished adding and customizing the checkboxes, save the PDF file. The user can now select the desired checkboxes when filling out the form.

Adding a checkbox to a PDF file is a straightforward process with Adobe Acrobat DC. It provides a convenient way for users to make selections from a list of options, and it can be saved and printed with ease. By using interactive checkboxes, you can improve the usability and functionality of your PDF documents and provide a better user experience for your readers.

Checkbox

Element #4: Radio Button

One of the most commonly used elements of interactive forms is radio buttons. Radio buttons allow users to select only one option from a predefined set of options, which makes them useful for surveys, questionnaires, and other types of forms.

How to add radio buttons to a PDF file:

Step 1:

Open a PDF file in Adobe Acrobat.

Step 2:

Click the Prepare Form tool in the right pane.

Step 3:

Acrobat will automatically detect all the fields in the document that can be converted into interactive form fields. If radio buttons are not automatically detected, you can add them manually by selecting the Radio Button tool from the toolbar.

Step 4:

Click and drag the cursor to create a rectangular frame in which to place the radio button.

Step 5:

In the Options dialog box, give the radio button a name and set the options for the button. For example, if you are creating a poll, you can create a radio button with the options: Strongly Agree, Agree, Neutral, Disagree, and Strongly Disagree.

Step 6:

Repeat steps 4 and 5 to create additional radio buttons.

Step 7:

Save the PDF file.

Once the radio buttons have been added to the PDF file, you can use the Preview tool to test them and make sure they work as intended. Users can select only one option from a predefined set of options by clicking on a radio button. Radio buttons can also be grouped together so that users can select one option from several.

Radio Button

Element #5: Dropdown

The most commonly used Interactive form elements is the drop-down list. Drop-down lists allow users to select one option from a predefined set of options, which makes them useful for surveys, questionnaires, and other types of forms.

How to add drop-down lists to a PDF file:

Step 1:

Open a PDF file in Adobe Acrobat.

Step 2:

Click the Prepare Form tool in the right pane.

Step 3:

Acrobat will automatically detect all the fields in the document that can be converted to interactive form fields. If the drop-down lists are not automatically detected, you can add them manually by selecting the drop-down tool in the toolbar.

Step 4:

Click and drag the cursor to create a rectangular box in which to place the drop-down list.

Step 5:

In the Options dialog box, give the drop-down list a name and set the options for the list. For example, if you’re creating a survey, you could create a drop-down list with Age Group, Gender, and Education Level options.

Step 6:

On the Options tab, enter the options that you want to appear in the drop-down list. You can add, remove, or edit parameters as needed.

Step 7:

On the Format tab, set the appearance and behavior of the drop-down list. You can choose how many choices will be visible at one time, and whether the user can enter his or her own answer.

Step 8:

Save the PDF file.

After adding drop-down lists to a PDF file, the preview tool can also be used. Users can select one option from a predefined set of options by clicking on the drop-down list and selecting the desired option.

Option List

Element #6: Option List

Now we’re going to look at one of the most commonly used elements of a form, which is an options list. Option lists allow users to select one or more options from a predefined set of options, which makes them useful for surveys and questionnaires.

How to add option lists to a PDF file:

Step 1:

Open a PDF file in Adobe Acrobat.

Step 2:

Click the Prepare Form tool in the right pane.

Step 3:

Acrobat will automatically detect all the fields in the document that can be converted to interactive form fields. If the option lists are not automatically detected, you can add them manually by selecting the Checkbox tool in the toolbar.

Step 4:

Click and drag the cursor to create a rectangular frame in which to place the option list.

Step 5:

In the Options dialog box, give the option list a name and set options for the list. For example, if you are creating a survey, you could create a list of options with the options “Choose anything that applies: Sports, movies, music, books.

Step 6:

On the Options tab, enter the options that you want to appear in the options list. You can add, remove, or edit options as needed.

Step 7:

On the Format tab, set the appearance and behavior of the options list. You can choose whether the user can select one or more options from the list and how the options are displayed.

Step 8:

Save the PDF file.

Once the option lists have been added to the PDF file, you can use the Preview tool to test them and make sure they work as intended. Users can select one or more options from a predefined set of options by clicking on the checkboxes next to each option.

By following the steps in this paragraph, you can easily add option lists to a PDF file and make it more interactive and appealing to users.

Interactive form element: Signature

Element #7: Signature

Adding an interactive form elements like a signature to a PDF file can be useful for documents that require a signature, such as contracts or legal forms. Fortunately, adding a signature field to a PDF file is a straightforward process.

To begin, you will need a PDF editor that supports interactive form elements, such as Adobe Acrobat Pro DC or Foxit PhantomPDF.

Once you have your PDF editor, follow these steps to add a signature field to your PDF:

  1. Open the PDF file in your PDF editor.
  2. Navigate to the “Forms” or “Form Tools” menu, depending on your editor.
  3. Select the “Signature Field” tool, usually represented by an icon with a pen or stylus.
  4. Click and drag on the PDF where you want the signature field to be placed. You can adjust the size and position of the field as necessary.
  5. In the field properties, you can choose various options such as field name, appearance, and signature type (e.g. handwritten, digital certificate, or biometric).
  6. Save the changes to the PDF file.


Once you have added a signature field to your PDF, you can distribute the document to the necessary parties who can then sign the form using their preferred method. For handwritten signatures, the user can use a touchscreen, mouse, or stylus to sign directly on the PDF. For digital signatures, the user can use a digital certificate to sign the PDF, or biometric signatures can use the user’s biometric information, such as a fingerprint, to verify their identity.

With the right tools and a little bit of know-how, you can create professional and legally binding PDF forms with ease.

If you want to know more about how to sign a PDF file, you can read about it in our previous blog article.

foxit

Related Stories

November 19, 2022

PDF vs DOCX: Which format is better?