PART 1: Single and Multi-line Text Fields
Question: “How can I get people to fill out a PDF form or a PDF worksheet without having them to print it out manually, write/type their responses and then scan the completed form/worksheet before emailing it back to me?”
Answer: There are quite a number of programs out there that let you do all that but if you are looking for something that is FREE to use and still does everything that you mentioned above, I recommend PDF Escape.
PDF Escape is an online PDF reader, editor & form filler. As a virtual business assistant, my clients would often ask me to create fillable worksheets, workbooks, forms, etc. that they can send to their peeps. I use this tool for that.
My clients can also easily just do this themselves in case I’m not around to do it for them. Sometimes your Proactive Virtual Assistant could get sick or could go on a long honeymoon and you have no one else to turn to but yourself. Or perhaps you don’t have a virtual business assistant at all and you are still doing everything yourself for your business. Don’t stress out! This PDF Escape tutorial is going to help you. It's super easy. I promise, it’s no sweat!
NOTE: If you are a Virtual Assistant yourself, learning this tool will help you serve your clients better and will also help you get more clients. Almost each client I have, had at one point asked me to help them out with fillable PDFs and PDF Escape is always my go-to tool. This will definitely be a great addition to your portfolio.
So, here’s the step by step way of making a PDF form fillable using this tool.
You can use PDF Escape for free without signing up. However, it won’t let you store your PDF files. That means that after you are done working with it and you close the browser, you won’t be able to retrieve the files you uploaded into PDF Escape. So make sure that you are all done, satisfied with the results and have saved your files in your computer drive before closing your browser.
You can also sign up and use it for free and with that you may save your PDF files online on its platform in addition to being allowed to use its basic editing features. Its upload limit per file is 10 MB or 100 pages and can store up to 10 files for 7 days.
But for this tutorial, we will use PDF Escape for free without signing up.
I. Get Started
1) Go to: www.pdfescape.com
2) Click on the “Use Free” tab.
3) Click “Choose File”, then select the PDF file you want to make fillable from your computer drive.
4) Click “Upload”.
II. Work it Out a Bit
This is the part where the PDF form or sheet you want to make fillable is already uploaded to PDF Escape and you are ready to make it fillable. Here’s an image of a sample PDF form.
5) Click on Form Field under the Insert tab on the upper right corner.
6) For the “Name” field or for any other field that requires only one line of text, click “Text” for Type and then click “Select”.
7) Click anywhere on the form and a rectangular light green shaded shape comes to view.
8) Drag and drop that shape to the first field that you want to make fillable. (In this example - the “Name” field).
9) Resize the shape accordingly by dragging your cursor around the whole field area so that it fills in the whole section. Once done, the whole box is now fillable.
10) Repeat steps 5 to 9 for all single text line fields.
If you have boxes or fields that require multiple text lines as in the message field above proceed to steps 11-17. Otherwise, move on to step 16.
11) Click on Form Field.
12) Select “Text Paragraph” in the Type dropdown.
13) Click “Select”.
14) Repeat steps 7-9. This time, filling in the Message field section or any other fields that require multiple text lines.
15) Repeat steps 12 – 14 for all multiple text line fields.
Once done, all your multiple text line fields are now fillable as shown in the sample below.
16) Review your document and make sure that you don’t miss any field. You will know if a field is fillable when you see the light green shape on it. You may also just type any text over it to test. If you're able to type a text, then that means the field is fillable.
17) Save and download your document to your computer drive.
Now you are ready to send that PDF file out to your clients and they can easily fill that in without printing it out.
CLICK HERE to read Part 2 of this series.
P.S. If you're an entrepreneur who wants to run and grow your business without the technical (and yes, also non-technical) overwhelm, you need a Proactive Virtual Assistant. I’ll be happy to chat with you about it.
P.P.S. If you are someone who's keen on becoming a Virtual Assistant, I have lots of good stuff for you too.
Send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to contact me.