Filling in an Interactive PDF Form Using PDFill™

  1. Obtain and install the latest version of Acrobat Reader™, if not already done (free).
  2. Obtain and install the latest version of PDFill™, if not already done (cheap, or free if you don't mind advertising watermarks appearing in your documents).
  3. Go to an interactive PDF form on Irene's site. The page should open in Acrobat Reader™.
  4. Fill in the form, either directly while online or after saving the form to your hard drive.
  5. If you installed PDFill™ after installing Acrobat Reader™, you should find an option in Acrobat Reader's™ File | Print options to print to PDFillPDFWriter. Select this option and print your filled-in form to a new PDF file and save it. Note that the printed/saved filled-in form cannot be changed or further filled in; it's not an interactive PDF file. The file you still have open on your screen can be changed, but not the saved version.
  6. Either the currently open or saved filled-in form can be printed to an actual printer.

That's the fast and simple way of filling in an interactive PDF form using PDFill™, and I have to wonder if the makers of PDFill™ envisioned this method because it doesn't require using the actual PDFill™ Editor.

To use the actual editor (which allows you to change fonts and other elements of style, highlight text, add watermarks, etc., do the following:

  1. Do the first three steps as above.
  2. Save the PDF file to your hard drive using the "save-as" option in the File menu of Acrobat Reader™.
  3. Open the PDFill™ application. To open the saved PDF file into PDFill™, select the option "Open New PDF Project" in the File menu. This also converts the PDF file into a PFL file.
  4. Click the far left icon on the bottom toolbar (the arrow).
  5. Adjust font size & style using the bottom toolbar, if desired.
  6. Click with your mouse at the beginning of the first pinkish field to be filled in. Fill in the field. Click the next field to be filled in. Similarly fill in all desired fields.
  7. Click the "Save Project for Future Editing" icon (top toolbar, third icon from the left) to save the PFL file. It might be wise to do this early and often while filling in the form.
  8. You now have a saved copy of your filled-in PFL file. You can save the result as a PDF file by clicking the "PDF" icon (top toolbar, 4th from the left). A "Save PDF Options" screen will appear. You can safely ignore this, if you want, and click the "Skip Options" Button. Save the file.
  9. At this point, you can print out the PDF file, reload and change the PFL file, or whatever. Note, however, the previously mentioned printing exception. In PDFill you won't see a scroll bar suddenly appear after you've filled up the available field, but the text will scroll nonetheless. Still, however, anything you type in after the field had been completely filled won't print out. The filled-in PFL file can be saved and sent as an email attachment, but anything too large to fit in the field provided can't be fully printed out.
  10. You will notice in the top toolbar an icon button to "Save and Email the Edited PDF". This goes through the routine in step (8) above and then opens your email client with the saved filled-in PDF file as an attachment.
  11. There are other buttons and options to experiment with, but the above covers the essentials.