Top 3 Ways to Make a Fillable PDF without Adobe Acrobat

Adobe is the company that came up with the idea of the Portable Document Format (PDF). This means that their PDF product – Adobe Acrobat – is one of the most reliable tools for working with PDF files. Adobe Acrobat is, however, too expensive for most people – for this reason, most people who work with PDF files search for more affordable alternatives. In this article, we will show you the alternatives you can use to make fillable PDF without Adobe Acrobat.

How to Make a Fillable PDF without Adobe Acrobat?

Method 1: Use Microsoft Word to Make a Fillable PDF without Adobe Acrobat

If you do have Microsoft Word 2010 and higher, you won’t need any additional tool to create fillable PDF documents. To make a fillable PDF without Adobe Acrobat, you will simply need to follow the steps below:

Step 1: Locate the Word file you would like to convert into a fillable PDF on your computer and open it. If you are yet to create the file, open Microsoft Word and then simply go to File > choose New.

Step 2: Show the developer tab in Word by selecting File > Options > Customize Ribbon. Select the Developer tab to enable it and then hit the OK button.

customize ribbon on word

Step 3: Type the text you would like to have on the fillable PDF file.

Step 4: For each item, you would like the users to enter some text, you will have to add some text control. To add the text control, you will need to visit the Developer tab > select Rich Text Content Control or Plain Text Content Control. Repeat for all the other fillable fields.

Step 5: To add a drop-down list or a combo box for any field that you would like to add multiple choices, you will simply need to select the Developer tab > click Drop-Down List Content Control or Combo Box Content Control. To customize the options available on the drop-down list or combo box, you will simply need to select Properties under the Developer tab.

Step 6: If you would like to have a checkbox on the fillable PDF file, you can add it by visiting the Developer tab > Check Box Content Control.

Step 7: Once you are done with customizing the document, you simply need to save it as a PDF file. To do this, visit File > Save As > give the file name > in the “Save as type” option, choose PDF > choose where to save the document and then hit the Save button.

Method 2: Use an Online Tool to Create Fillable PDF Form without Adobe

JOTFORM

If you do not have Microsoft Word on your computer, you may want to try using an online tool. JOTFORM is one of the best tools you can use – the tool lets you make a fillable PDF without Adobe Acrobat for free.

In addition to being extremely easy to use, the tool makes things much simpler for you by offering templates you can use. If you are pressed for time, you can always select a template that appears to have the look you would like to have on your fillable form and then proceed to edit it.

To make a fillable PDF without Adobe Acrobat using JOTFORM, you will need to follow the simple steps we have outlined below:

Step 1: Launch your favorite computer web browser and visit https://www.jotform.com/myforms. You may be required to create an account. The account creating process is quite simple and you should be through within a couple of seconds.

Step 2: After the account creation, select Create Form.

Step 3: You will be able to choose from three options – Import Form, Use Template, and Blank Form. To create a new form from scratch, choose the Blank Form option.

Step 4: Tap on Add Form Elements and start adding the fields you would like to have on the Fillable PDF.

PDFescape

This is another web-based tool that you can use to make a fillable PDF without Adobe Acrobat. The tool does allow its users to create the files for free if they use the Unregistered option – this option, however, denies you the ability to open the files you had worked with previously and continue with the editing where you had left it. To enjoy the benefits of a registered user, you may need to pay $2.99/month subscription fees.

Below, we have the steps you will need to follow to create your fillable forms using PDFescape:

Step 1: Visit https://www.pdfescape.com/open/ via your computer’s web browser. Select “Create new PDF Document”. Select the Page Count, Page Size, and then hit the Create button.

create fillable pdf with pdfescape

Step 2: Under the Insert tab, you should find options which allow you to create your fillable form. Use the options and customize the fillable PDF to your liking.

Step 3: Once you are done, you can download the document to your computer.

Method 3: Use Paid Computer Programs

If you do want to make fillable PDF without Adobe Acrobat regularly and you do not have Microsoft Word on your computer, you may want to invest in a tool to help you with the PDF file creation. While the tools we have outlined below will still require you to pay for them, they are much cheaper compared to Adobe Acrobat.

PDFelement Pro

This tool works on both macOS and Windows PC. The powerful editing tool allows you to modify the fillable forms to obtain a document that suits your needs. To use this tool, however, you will need to pay $129 for a lifetime license. This is much cheaper compared to paying $14.99 per month for Adobe Acrobat Pro.

To make fillable PDF without Adobe Acrobat using PDFelement Pro, you will need to follow the steps we have outlined below:

Step 1: Download and install PDFelement Pro on your macOS or Windows PC.

Step 2: After installing the tool, open it and then select File > Create > Blank Document.

Step 3: From the Form menu, create the fillable PDF file by selecting options like Text Field, CheckBox, Radio Button, List Box, etc. After adding all the needed elements, simply align them.

Step 4: After creating the fillable PDF, you can save it by visiting File > Save As > giving the document a name > hitting Save.

ApowerPDF

This tool features an extremely user-friendly interface. This makes it one of the easiest tools to use. In addition to helping you create fillable PDF documents, the tool has other editing options, including allowing you to add text to PDF documents, modify PDF graphics, add watermarks, etc.

Compared to Adobe Acrobat, ApowerPDF is still cheaper. The lifetime license will cost you only $79.95. You can, however, opt for an annual license which will cost you $39.95.

To make a fillable PDF without Adobe Acrobat using ApowerPDF, you will simply need to follow the steps we have outlined below:

Step 1: Download and install ApowerPDF on your computer.

Step 2: After launching the tool, select Create on the Home interface.

Step 3: Select the Blank Document and then choose the Forms tab.

Step 4: Add the form fields you would like to have on the fillable PDF. To change the appearance, name, and layout of a field, simply double-click on the field.

Step 5: Once you are done with editing the PDF form, you can save it to your computer by selecting File > Save.

Summary

If you would like to make a fillable PDF document without having to invest in Adobe Acrobat, this article should help you find ideal alternatives. While some of the tools listed in this article do require their users to pay for licenses, the tools’ lifetime licenses are cheaper than having to pay $14.99 per month for Adobe Acrobat subscription. If you have a stable internet connection, you can avoid paying for desktop programs by making use of online tools.

Author: Treyton Collins

A tech editor for Starzsoft.com offering professional how-to articles for Windows, Android and Apple users.