Create fillable PDF

You can populate fillable PDF forms using Plumsail Documents. There are at least two ways to do this:

You can use Adobe Acrobat Pro or any other PDF editor to work with your PDF file. This article describes how to create a fillable PDF using Acrobat Pro. Alternatively, please see this instruction to create a fillable PDF with Nitro Pro

Create new PDF file

First, we need to create a new blank PDF file. Click on Create PDF button in the menu and choose Blank page.

Acrobat new

We need to add text which will indicate a field title on our form (click on Edit Pdf and then Add Text in the menu):

Acrobat Pro add text

Create form fields

After that, we should add fields to our PDF file (Prepare Form button in the menu). We should specify the field’s name. Later you will want to automatically populate values to this form. That is why it is important to assign the correct field name. When populating the form you will submit some object with values. The field name has to match property names in this object.

Acrobat Pro add field

For example, you have a field with the name “Text1”. In this case, you will need to submit an object with the structure like this to fill this field:

{
  "Text1": "Some value"
}

Click on the field -> Properties section to change field name:

Acrobat Pro specify name

Create checkbox field

You can add and edit specific fields like checkboxes and radio buttons the same way. To check a box, you’ll need to submit an object with a true or false value. Use the following structure:

{
  "Checkbox1": true
}

Create group of checkboxes

The checkbox group allows selecting only one option in it, i.e. works like radio buttons. To create the one, add several checkboxes with the same name. They will be displayed in the list of fields with their indexes after the hash character.

Checkbox group

For each checkbox from the group, set a different export value in properties and submit it as a string to check the accordant box.

{
  "Checkbox1": "0"
}
Export value

Create radio-button field

To choose a radio button, you’ll need to create a radio-button group in your pdf. To do this, just give the same Name to several radio-button fields and a group will be created automatically. Then you need to specify the “Radio Button Choice” field for each option of the radio-button group. This is the value you need to submit to check the radio button. Please note that you can style radio buttons as checkboxes for a better “paper-like” visualization:

Style radio buttons

Create image field

Add an image field to the form and use its name in the data source object. In the latter, the image should be provided as a base64 string. Only PNG images are supported.

Add image field

For example, this JSON data source gives the following result:

Add image result

Create QR code field

Add an image field and open its properties. Switch to the General tab and enter #qrcode in the Tooltip field. The string provided in the accordant data source property will be converted to a QR code.

Add QR code field

For example, this JSON data source gives the following result:

{
  "link": "https://www.plumsail.com/"
}
Add QR code result

Create barcode field

Add an image field and open its properties. Switch to the General tab and enter #barcode in the Tooltip field and after a whitespace - its type. The string provided in the accordant data source property will be converted to a barcode of the specified type. The available ones are the following:

  • CODE128

  • CODE11

  • CODE39

  • UPCA

  • MSI

  • ISBN

  • EAN13

  • ITF14

Add barcode field

For example, this JSON data source gives the following result:

{
  "isbn": "978-3-16-148410-0"
}
Add barcode result

Example

Download the example of a fillable PDF for this article.

Fillable PDF example

Here is the example of the data object that could be used for populating this form:

{
      "FirstName": "David",
      "LastName": "Navarro",
      "Address": "3 Main St.",
      "City": "New York",
      "PostalCode": "972013",
      "PhoneNumber": "202-555-0131",
      "Email": "[email protected]",
      "Activities": "Sports: football, basketball, volleyball",
      "CurrentlyWorking": "No",
      "HistoryCompany": "Acme Corp",
      "HistoryEmploymentSector": "Public",
      "HistorySupervisor": "Derek Clark",
      "HistoryPhoneNumber": "555-777-9999",
      "HistoryPosition": "Marketing director",
      "HistoryDuties": "Developing marketing strategy",
      "HistoryLeaving": "Moving to another city",
      "HistoryContact": "Yes",
      "HistoryEmploymentForm": "Trainee",
      "Date": "06/30/2019",
      "PersonalDataConsent" : false
}

Use cases

Please review examples to learn how to set up an automatically Fillable pdf: