PDF Hacks: Converting a Paper Form into a Fillable PDF Form

In our series, PDF Hacks, I’m highlighting the true potential of the Portable Document Format. I‘ll do all the research for you and present clever hacks – tools, tips, and not-so-obvious solutions to common problems. Check out last month’s PDF merging hack here.

Now without further ado…

PDF Hacks: Converting a Paper Form into a Digital PDF Form

Your boss has presented you with an old paper questionnaire and requested that you distribute it to the greater team via email, and then return the responses back to him. What do you do?

You have a few options here: 1) you could re-type up the form from scratch, 2) you could scan and send the document as-is and let your teammates figure out how to fill it out, 3) you could quit your job because it’s too much work, or 4) you could turn it into a PDF.

I recommend option #4.

Nearly every PDF editing software program on the market today uses OCR to recognize text on a scanned paper document. Now you can provide your team with digital forms that can be filled out from the comfort of their own desktop, eliminating errors, unreadable text, and the need for individuals to print, fill out and re-scan the form altogether.

Nitro Pro makes it really easy to create fillable forms on a scanned document so users can fill them in and send them back.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Load your source document into the flatbed scanner or the automatic document feeder of your printer.
  2. Once scanned, Nitro Pro 9 will automatically detect your scanned document, create a new PDF and apply OCR to make it searchable and editable.
  3. Click on the Forms tab, and select Text Field.
  4. Click and drag on the PDF to manually create a text field over where the paper fields were already created.
  5. You can further customize the field by right-clicking and selecting Properties. Here you can change formatting, confirm values, and even perform calculations.

You can also watch this quick video to learn how to create fillable forms in Nitro Pro.

Create PDF Forms

You just completed the task, kept your job, and impressed your boss with your PDF skills. Well done.

Have your own PDF form hacks? Tweet us @NitroHQ.