Tips & Tricks: Making a Fillable, Printable PDF Form

In my last post, I included a link to a fillable, printable PDF form that I made to help librarians easily make thematic teacher wish list boards for the book fair: Fiesta Envelopes

This post will walk through the steps of making such a form for printing purposes. Some of these steps can be skipped if you just want a basic, fillable form.

1. You will need to have LibreOffice installed, if you don’t already. LibreOffice is a free, open-source software package which provides similar functionality to Microsoft Office. You can download the file to install LibreOffice here 2. Once LibreOFfice is installed, open it. You should see a screen like this:Screenshot 2014-02-10 16.20.06

You need to click on “Text Document”

2. Once you have a blank document open, click on View > Toolbars > Form Controls

Screenshot 2014-02-10 16.29.33

Now we’re ready to begin making a form.

3. Insert your graphics or text. For purposes of this post, we will be inserting graphics

Click on Insert>Picture>From File

Screenshot 2014-02-12 11.24.29

Navigate to the location where your graphic is located, and either double-click on it, click on Open, or hit the Enter key

Screenshot 2014-02-12 11.25.16

4. Check that your graphic is the desired size. If you want multiple items on one page, be sure they will all fit before going any further. There are two ways to resize items in LibreOffice. You can click on one of the green “handles” on the outer edge of the item and drag with the mouse until the item is the size you want.

Screenshot 2014-02-12 11.33.39

Or, if you know the exact measurements you would like for the graphic, you can double-click on it and change the measurements in the Width and Height boxes. Clicking the “Keep Ratio” button will keep your image from getting distorted.

Screenshot 2014-02-12 11.33.48

5. Now it’s time to add the places where users can fill in the form. On the Form Controls toolbar, click on the Text Box icon and draw the text box in the location where you would like it to be. You can resize and/or move it later, if needed.

Screenshot 2014-02-12 12.08.46

6. Now we’ll make the text box invisible. Double-click on the text box to open the Properties window.

Screenshot 2014-02-12 12.59.54

If you will have more than one text box, you will want to give each one a simple name so that you can set them up to be moved through in the correct order by hitting the Tab key. Otherwise you won’t be able to tell which Text Box 1 you’re entering data in first.

Within the Properties window, scroll down to the “Border” option. Click on the drop-down menu and select “Without Frame”

Screenshot 2014-02-12 13.30.23

Then click the More button (the one with the three dots on it) next to Background Color.

To match the background color of the text box exactly to your graphic, you will need to know the color’s hexadecimal code or it’s RGB values. You can determine this by either opening the picture in a graphics program such as Photoshop or Gimp and using the eyedropper tool, or you can download a program like Instant Eyedropper that can find the color code for any pixel on your computer screen.

Once you know the exact color you need, enter those values in the Color Picker window and click OK.

Screenshot 2014-02-12 13.43.42

7. If you want your box to have default text that shows what should be typed into it, you can enter it in the Default Text field. You can also change the font type, size, and alignment.

Screenshot 2014-02-12 14.09.39

8. Create as many fields as you need in your document. I recommend saving it in case you want to tweak your form  later. To create a fillable PDF that you can share with others, click on File>Export as PDF…

Screenshot 2014-02-12 14.12.57

Make sure that the checkbox is checked next to “Create PDF Form” and click Export.

Screenshot 2014-02-12 14.13.19

9. It’s a good idea to open your file and be sure it behaves the way you want it to before sending it to anyone, but you should now have a form that you or other people can use to type information into and print or save! Enjoy!!!

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Categories: Tech Tips, Tips & Tricks | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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