make fillable pdf for without adobe acrobat

So you’ve sent that email with a form attached to an important client, only to get a call back asking if you forgot to attach the form because they’re unable to use/open what’s you’ve sent and you wonder – what the heck happened to the form I sent! Well…this is a rather familiar scenario to anyone that has tried to create fillable forms using either MS Word or Excel and it can be frustrating. In our guide today, we will let you know the procedure to make fillable PDF form without Adobe Acrobat using alternatives. 

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Adobe Acrobat is the defacto software for creating fillable PDF forms but it doesn’t come cheap, so if you’re a freelancer or a soloprenuer on a budget looking for an affordable or even free alternative to Adobe Acrobat then we’ve got you covered. We’ll explore some free and low-cost alternatives to Adobe Acrobat in this post. Fillable PDF forms are convenient and the most preferred and professional way to share files that required input so here is our list of available options.

PDFescape

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PDFescape is a free, online PDF reader, editor, form filler, & form designer. The software comes with an easy to use an online editor that lets anyone edit, view, and create PDF files including fillable forms. You can also download or print your creations for offline use. PDFescape also allows you to share your work with others straight from their online dashboard. If you find yourself needing to share fillable PDF forms quickly then this is a highly recommended option and it’s fully online, no software to download. 

They also offer paid plans (premium and ultimate) starting at $2.99/monthly billed yearly with way more features. Most people will find the free version adequate though.

Advantages:

  • User-friendly and intuitive interface that makes it easy to create files.
  • It comes with a PDF form creator that allows you to create PDF fillable forms online.
  • You can edit, annotate and organize your pages.
  • No watermark on documents to force you to upgrade.
  • Password protect your documents.

Disadvantages:

  • They impose a file size limit of 10 MB, maximum pages per file of 100 pages, maximum stored files of 10 files. If you’re a heavy user then you can upgrade to a paid subscription.
  • Free stores your files online for 7-days. Extend by going pro.

Go to PDFescape Website

JotForm

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JotForm is another online free PDF form maker that makes it easy for you to create fillable PDF forms for free. It comes with an easy-to-use drag-and-drop form builder, making it easy to create various fields of your form.

Jotform is an easy-to-use online form builder that lets you create fillable PDF forms online as well as publish them, be alerted via email for each response and gather data. This service offers a user-friendly drag and drop interface for building forms thus can be used by users of any skill level.

Advantages:

  • Easy to use drag and drop editor, get started in seconds.
  • It offers themes and templates which can be time-saving and inspiring.
  • Easy to sign-up with Facebook or Google account or am email address.
  • The free plan is sufficient for most basic daily use. 
  • Offers API for integration with other systems.
  • Business users can create payment forms.

Disadvantages:

  • Meant for simple form building, advanced users might find it inadequate.
  • It is not possible to adjust the form and put elements into the place you want.
  • Guest accounts are limited to 5 forms, need to delete an existing form or upgrade to continue to use. And no idea where to delete an existing form, there is no guide.

Go to JotForm Website

DocHub

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DocHub is a freemium online service offering PDF form builder that allows anyone to easily create fillable PDF forms that you can save to your computer or export to supported online storage services such as Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive. You can import PDF form templates in the interface, or using the application’s form builder to create new forms from scratch, it’s totally up to you.

Advantages:

  • Easily create, import, edit and fill PDF forms on any computer.
  • Open files directly from Gmail, Google Drive and Dropbox.
  • 256-bit SSL encryption, OAuth 2.0 authentication and redundant, encrypted storage.
  • Share documents with collaborators or the world from your personal DocHub url.

Disadvantages:

  • Limited functionality. Only has Text Filed, CheckBox, Signature Field and Initial field to create PDF fillable forms. It is not meet all requirements to create PDF form.
  • Registration required to be able to use the application.
  • It has limitations for free users, such as 2000 documents per account, 5 signatures per month, 3 sign requests per month etc.

Go to DocHub Website

Formdesk

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Formdesk is a paid service that allows anyone to build online fillable PDF forms. They offer a trial account for 3 Months upgradable to either standard or Business for € 49 / year or € 1.000 / year respectively. 

Advantages:

  • You can tweak more than 100 settings for 12 components
  • Each item/question in your form can be individually styled
  • Choose from 100 standard themes that you may further customize
  • Use stylesheets, and link classes and tags to the different form components
  • You can copy the layout from one form to another
  • You can set up a template form for your (or your user’s) default style

Advantages:

  • It does not allow you to download PDF fillable forms. If you download it, it will be unfillable.
  • The UI can be rather complex and confusing for new customers to understand, definitely something they need to look at as they improve their service. 

Go to formdesk Website

WuFoo

wufoo-logo

If you’re familiar with Survey Money then Wufoo is an online service owned by them and it’s very popular with a massive user base and growing, with Wufoo you can create forms easily. It is a flexible and easy-to-use service that allows you to create professional forms for various uses such as reports, collecting data, surveys ~ “surveys are powered by Survey Monkey”, etc. Wufoo features a web interface that is very easy to navigate and comes with a user-friendly form builder that allows you to build forms in a matter of minutes. It offers a free plan and paid plans.

Advantages:

  • Easily build & customize online forms
  • Collect data, payments & files
  • Automate workflows to save time
  • Make sense of your data ie Analyze your data with ease, and in whatever way suits you best.
  • State-of-the-art security measures to keep your data safe at all times.

Disadvantages:

  • You must sign up to use the application.
  • You cannot download fillable PDF forms
  • It has limitations for the trial version, such as 1 user, 5 forms, and 100 entries.

Go to Wufoo Website

PDFElement

pdf-element-logo

PDFelement is a software for Windows and macOS providing all-in-one PDF solution, with this software you can easily create, edit, convert, annotate, protect, merge, watermark, compress, and sign PDF files conveniently. You can also create and share PDF forms and export collected data into a spreadsheet. 

PDFelement offers three plans namely PDFelement Standard ($69/year), PDFelement Pro ($79/Year) and PDFelement Business. It’s also available for Android and iOS.

Advantages:

  • Create fillable PDF forms automatically from excel forms, word forms. 
  • Edit, convert, annotate, protect your PDF fils.
  • Word processor to easily edit files.
  • Convert PDF files to office files while retaining layouts, formatting and tables.
  • Gather feedback from colleagues and customers with ease.
  • Combine collected forms for analysis and export for offline use.

Disadvantage:

  • PDFelement for MAC or WIN can work very fast and stable. But online form creators are very slow and may not open lots of PDF forms only with several pages.
  • There’s no free version. Only a trial version.

Go to PDFelement Website

LibreOffice

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OpenOffice and LibreOffice offer a free solution for creating fillable PDF forms. Forms created with OpenOffice and LibreOffice retain their interactive elements even after being saved in PDF format just like forms created in Adobe Acrobat. If you are already familiar with MS Office, then you will quickly be able to use these cross-platform, open-source alternatives. 

The process of creating fillable ODF forms works almost the same in both OpenOffice and LibreOffice. We’ll explore the steps at length below.

We’ll explain exactly what you need to do to create PDFs using OpenOffice Writer, which is the free equivalent to MS Word, these applications share code which means it’s possible to use the same process to create forms in all other OpenOffice applications including Calc.

So here are the steps:

  1. Download and install either OpenOffice or LibreOffice
  2. Launch the version you’ve installed
  3. Click on “File” “New” “XML Form Document” to create a new document that allows forms to be created.
  4. Now click on “Toolbars” “Form Controls” under the menu item “View” to display the toolbar for forms. Nb. This appears as a separate window, but can also be attached to the menu bar at the top of the window.
  5. To start designing your form, all you need to do now is activate the “Draft Mode” in the toolbar.

Design your interactive form with the tools that OpenOffice or LibreOffice offers ie text, images, objects, forms, tables, etc. Use the mouse to put interactive elements anywhere in your form.

When you’re done, click “File” then “Export as PDF” to convert your OpenOffice or LibreOffice file into a fillable PDF. Your users will be able to easily repeat the same with almost any PDF reader, that is fill in the form and choose to either print it or save and send it to themselves.

PDF forms created using OpenOffice or LibreOffice can be read, filled, printed, and saved with almost all PDF viewing programs.

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