Looking for a way to make professional looking pdf forms
September 3, 2018 6:10 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone suggest a program that is both a) easy to use and b) allows me to make professional looking pdf forms? I'd prefer something that's free, but that's not absolutely necessary.
posted by Proginoskes to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Can you share some examples of what you are trying to do? I know that many educators who sell PDFs on Teachers Pay Teachers use a presentation app like Google Presentations, or Microsoft's Powerpoint to create PDFs that look graphic designed.
posted by momochan at 6:43 PM on September 3, 2018

I want to be able to create something like this where the fields can be filled in directly in the pdf editor.
posted by Proginoskes at 6:53 PM on September 3, 2018

Do you want them fillable and data sent to a server, or just fillable fields for a user to key in and print? For the latter, I've use Scribus, a free DTP system.
posted by scruss at 6:59 PM on September 3, 2018

Doesn't need to be sent to a server. Just fillable and then the user can print and send it in. I'll check out Scribus, thanks!
posted by Proginoskes at 7:01 PM on September 3, 2018

I just checked and LibreOffice does it too, in a much simpler way than Scribus. Mini tutorial: Create PDF Forms with LibreOffice
posted by scruss at 7:20 AM on September 4, 2018

That type of form was created by a professional graphic designer, probably using InDesign to create the look and feel of the form. They would then use InDesign or Acrobat to create the form fields.

I'm pointing this out because there's a gap of "professional-looking" between the form the OP linked to, and the LibreOffice sample form that scruss linked to. Depending on your final needs, it may be worth having a designer set up the form for you. (Not free, but will save you a lot of time and effort in the long run.)

If you decide to DIY it, I recommend separating the design of the form from the form fields. First just create a nice-looking form. You can use Word, Publisher, LibreOffice, any desktop publishing program (DTPP).

THEN think about how to make it a fillable form. Sometimes this can be done in the DTPP, but there are other options too. You can make a pdf from the DTPP, and import that pdf into any number of programs that will create "fillable fields" in the pdf. There are probably many free or low-cost options online. "Fillable Form PDF" would be a good search term to use.
posted by hydra77 at 7:48 AM on September 4, 2018

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