Fillable PDF Forms Primer
Converting to a Fillable PDF form isn't as simple as you would think it should be.
Unfortunately, Converting a Word Document or PDF file into a fillable form isn't as easy as it should be. Acrobat Professional now includes a field tool that searches for things that appear to be entry points and creates fields and it works reasonably well. The major issue is font size and tool tips. Font size is default to auto so each field will often have a different font size. If you're you're looking for a professional appearance, you won't get it. Tool tips are messages that pop up when your mouse hovers over a field. The auto-field tool picks a nearby text string as the tool tip. Sometimes it's correct but often it's wrong so you'll spend a lot of time fixing things.
Adobe Livecycle Designer is included with Acrobat Pro (on PC) and is much more powerful in positioning but doesn't work directly with the original pdf if you want all the capabilites of Designer. In converting it for Designer (for full editing capability), the forms often break and require rebuilding layouts and dealing with the intricacies of each and every form element. Text, text boxes, checkboxes and radio buttons often need extensive adjustment to recreate the imported PDF. Of course, I have to make some exceptions because someone will protest such a strong statement. A few forms move to Designer smoothly. If you tried using Adobe Livecycle Designer, you have discovered what it means to have a professional tool with lots of control.
Get a fixed price quote.
Send me your form with what you want done and I'll give you a fixed price quote. If I have trouble and it takes twice a long to convert, you pay the committed price.
The other option is to grind your way through the learning process.
If you are reasonably comfortable with computers and very persistent, you can figure out enough to create basic forms. There is a huge support group at planetpdf.com. It's so large that it's sometimes hard to find the tip you need. There are a number of books on Acrobat that can help if you learn by reading. I like "The Acrobat PDF Bible" by Ted Padova and "How to do everything with Adobe Acrobat" by Doug Sahlin. The problem with those books is the breadth of Adobe Acrobat. In the "bible" 100 pages out of 854 are about forms. In "how to" 57 out of 480 pages are about forms.
I'm a thrifty guy and kind of stubborn so I tend to shy away from training. Some of that comes from countless hours of hopelessly boring classroom training sessions. You've probably attended one. The instructor spends the first 15 minutes introducing himself and the course. Then he covers basics to get everyone up to a common point. You then get to follow the instructor through a pre-defined curriculum that meets a broad set of needs. This is necessary to fill classes and not leave anyone behind. Along the way you get to listen to the talkative classmate that dominates questions. Ugh.
We do things differently. We only cover what you want and need. Usually 1-2 hours is enough to get people creating forms. Check out our training offering.
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