How to Save PDF Form Data

Our day to day lives often require us to fill out forms; either for your dream apartment, an exciting new job, or purchase orders for your business. Oftentimes, you’ll be sent a PDF form to fill. This article will answer a few questions relating to this, including;

  • How to fill a PDF form?
  • How to save data in a fillable pdf form?
  • How to save a PDF fillable form as read only?

We’ll be using Adobe Acrobat Reader, our favorite PDF editor, to answer these common questions.

DID YOU KNOW: Adobe PDF Library SDK is built with the same core technologies that Adobe used to build Acrobat!

1 How do you fill a PDF form?

There are two types of PDF forms you may encounter; interactive forms or flattened forms.

How to fill a flattened PDF form

Hit the "Fill & Sign" button to start creating your own fields

A flattened PDF is a file that is no longer editable. Flattening a PDF merges all of the interactive elements (such as checkboxes, buttons, fillable forms, annotations, etc.) into one layer.

Open your flattened PDF form with Adobe Reader and use the “Fill & Sign” tool to create your own fillable elements on the document.

How to fill an interactive PDF form

Interactive forms are PDFs that allow you to directly edit fields without any extra steps. This is what you think of when you hear fillable PDF forms. Simply click on each field as you would a website, and fill it with the relevant information. 

2 How to save a fillable PDF form

You have few options when it comes to saving the data typed into PDF forms. Adobe Reader has built in capabilities to send your filled form directly to relevant recipients, or you can save your information the old fashioned way.

Create a link to a read only copy

Choose the option on the left to get started

Using the “Fill & Sign” utility gives you an option to send a read-only copy of your filled document that you’re then able to share with others.

Here’s an example of what this looks like.

Send to other signatories

In addition to creating a link with Adobe Sign, you can also set up your form to be signed by others. This is great if you need a signature from your new landlord or are cosigning a loan. Just add your recipients emails, create a new field in the form for them to sign, and send it out. 

You’ll get updates and notifications, and once they’ve signed you’ll be sent a completed document for your records. As of the day this article is published, a user can only use this feature twice every 30 days with the free Adobe Reader.

You can send to as many signatories as you want

Save as normal, but..

You could just save your filled PDF form as you would your other documents, but there are some caveats. If you filled out an interactive PDF form, then you’ll be able to edit any of your filled information later. If you filled out a flattened PDF with the “Fill & Sign” utility, then you won’t be able to edit those form-fields later on.

Flatten your PDF form

If you don’t want your form data to be editable, you’ll want to make sure that your document is flattened. Adobe Reader does not include this functionality natively, but you can use the free trial of PDF Forms Flattener to flatten your documents.

DID YOU KNOW: PDF Forms Flattener can be used to bulk flatten PDF forms?! Amazing if your business deals with a ton of client paperwork

Check out this other how-to article about flattening PDFs for more information.

The End

Hopefully we answered all of your burning questions about filling and saving PDF documents. We know it probably brightened up your day. 

For those enterprise-level readers and developers that are looking to build their own applications, or add additional form functionality, we suggest checking out Adobe PDF Library with Forms Extension. Import or export XFA or AcroForms data to or from your form documents and much more.

Smack the beautiful pink button below to get a 7-day trial.

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