A Beginner's Guide To Creating A PDF Form Online

Online PDF forms can be overwhelming to use— here's a beginner's guide to lead your way.
Sheim Palmes
Reading time: 7 minutes.

man sitting while creating online PDF form

Remember when every single business transaction included papers?

While papers are the main best friend of offices, using them is not just challenging, but also prone to human error—typos, misspellings, and hard-to-read handwritings.

The rise of PDF editor online is not new today. When Adobe released the PDF format in 2008 as an open standard, people have seen the wonders of using it. In fact, PDF was not limited to IT and tech companies, but it became widely used in all fields such as hospitals, schools, and the real estate industry. You might be used to printing PDFs for the longest time–now, with the advancement of technology, it is possible to create online fillable PDF forms through different PDF editors found online.

Although PDF is considered a universal file format, not everyone has the knowledge to navigate it. As an average person who still gets confused with PDF, how on earth will I even create a PDF form online?

If you’re a beginner and don’t have an inch of idea on how to create an online PDF form, we’ve got you covered!

Related: How To Build an Online Form

The Benefits of Using PDF

business PDF forms being combined in one master file

Who would have thought that PDF has tons of advantages for businesses? Some of these benefits are:

It’s convenient.

Since PDFs are not editable, there is no way that you can “accidentally” click on something that would disrupt the positioning and the format of the PDF you are reading–making it an ideal format for easy reading.

It’s portable.

Basically, it’s a portable document format–it really lives up to its name. Unlike the traditional fuss in Microsoft Word and PowerPoints, we can’t experience missing images and messy fonts in PDFs. Once it’s done, it’s done–you can access and open it anywhere, anytime.

Adjustable file size.

Can’t send your file in email because it’s too large? Documents with numerous graphics and images tend to be the culprit in file sizes. Thankfully, PDFs are pretty flexible. To decrease the file size, you can lower the quality of PDFs to make them smaller.

Highly secured files.

How many times have you received a word document and accidentally changed its texts or format? Since word document is easy to edit, people can freely add and forge some information in it. PDFs are highly used by companies because it is not editable. Additionally, PDFs retain the exact format of the file.

Most importantly, PDFs are highly secured–it contains a security setting where you can encrypt the document or protect it using a password. This enables limited access for users who do not know the password; protecting vital, sensitive information and details from being discovered.

Now that you know the importance of PDFs–should you use a PDF Editor Online to create and convert them into web forms?

The answer is YES.

No matter how convenient it is to use PDF, nothing still beats the benefits of going online. Years ago, everything used to be a printed PDF. Offices were messy–a pile of application forms, sales documents, stock lists, and target papers. Aside from the difficulty of locating every single paper, the process of managing it was slow.

A Solution to Manage PDF Forms: A PDF Editor & Creator Online

After years of frustration in working with PDF forms, we decided to create a pdf online editor and creator; a one-stop centralized way to manage and fill out PDF forms online.

PlatoForms is a PDF online editor and all-in-one solution tool. Whether you need a pdf online editor, use online forms, PDF forms, or printed PDF forms, you can store and manage them all in the same place.

How to Create an Online PDF Form?

PDF file and PDF editor online

You don’t have to be an IT specialist just to create an online PDF form. Here are the detailed steps on how to create a PDF form from scratch:

Step 1: Log in to your PlatoForms account.

Signing up is free! Navigate to the form builder, and select Create a PDF Form from scratch. The form builder lets you build a PDF form from the ground up, and then publish it online as a web form.

Step 2: Start building your PDF.

Click “Create an online form for an existing PDF”.

Step 3: Upload your PDF!

Upon uploading the PDF, you are given two options:

How to create an online PDF form two options

PlatoForms offers PDF form online and web form. Choose ‘Build an online web form’. The PDF form will map the widgets to corresponding fields. The process converts the PDF uploaded into a web form; where you can easily input texts, titles, signatures, etc.

Step 4: Time to design your form

Time to design how your form will look like! PlatoForms includes a drag-and-drop form builder, where you can conveniently input and edit the texts.

To edit the text box, click ‘single line text’. You can put the form name and fill name in this section.

PDF: Change the PDF font size, font style, and color of your texts in this section.

Preview: This section enables you to take a look at how the text is going to look like in the actual form.

PDF editor online on preview mode

To add your title, add a text box to the Form Builder and enter your text. You can style your text with the tools in the left column.

Step 5: Customize and add elements to your web form!

Click the ‘add’ button to add elements such as text input, choice, signature, and photo. You can easily drag and drop the box whenever you like, or add checkboxes upon desire.

how to create an online PDF form guide

Use the tools in the top toolbar of the Form Builder to add your questions to your form. As you add fields, you should decide on the best way to present your data — input box, choice (radio buttons), dropdown, and more.

Generally, if it’s a custom answer, an input box will work best; whereas if it is a multiple-choice, use the choice tool or a dropdown list. I prefer to use the choice boxes for smaller lists (of two or three items), and the dropdown for longer lists (three or more items). But, it is your choice, see what works best for you!

In the example I’ve used:

Name and Email fields = input box

Type of spaceship required? = dropdown

Do you have your astronaut license? = choice

Top Tip: Once your fields are set up, you can drag and drop to move them around the form positioning them exactly where you want them.

Once done, click the ‘preview’ button to take a look at the finished form you just created. You can also easily test the form in this section!

Step 6: Publish your online web form!

To share your web form, click ‘publish’ and share the public URL or copy the embedded link to include the finished form in your website.

Again, you have two options for publishing:

  • Public URL

how to share PDF forms online link

This is a URL that links straight to your web forms. Share it with your users or add it to your website. Your visitors can then click the link to access the form.

  • Embedded

how to share PDF form using code

This option embeds the web forms directly on your website. Just copy the embed code and add it to an HTML section of your page. The web form is then visible (and fillable) directly on your website.

Finished? Test your form.

The easiest way to test your web forms is to visit the Public URL link. Copy it into your browser and fill out your form.

how to create a pdf form, testing

Once you’ve submitted your form, you’ll receive a notification in the dashboard of your PlatoForms account. You can click the notification to view the data filled out by your user.

That’s it! You now know how to create an online PDF form. Congratulations! Bookmark this page if you think you might need help again in the future or take a look at our documentation page.

Gone are the days where you have to fill out a form and take the time to submit it back and forth—with PlatoForms, filling out a form is made easy with five steps or so.

Have you tried creating a Web Form with PlatoForms? Let us know how you got on in the comments below!

Key takeaways

How to design your form?

Once you open the file, you can notice that above the form that there are tabs which you can use the first one is:

ADD - This tab will show the Form and PDF Attributes.

You can find attributes in the form, namely, text input, dropdown, signature, and photo. Which means you can add and format these items in your form. While PDF Attributes contain elements like font style and size.

To move and resize the objects or the boxes in your form, you can click and drag it for adjusting, positioning, or resizing.

How to use the preview options?

Click the preview tab for a preview of your work. You can choose the preview form, and it will show you the form design and preview with blank details. While Preview PDF will let you view a file wherein it has filled-up data, and that will be what it looked like when someone entered his or her data in there.

How to publish your work?

If your form is already okay for you, click publish. You will go back to your dashboard a pop-up box will appear, asking you to choose a public or embedded script. Please copy the link that you chose and share it with the people or participants of your research or survey.

How to monitor your data?

Information gathered from your participants will be sent to your email for monitoring. You can also check the Submissions on the left side of the Menu.

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