How to create an editable PDF file

You may have come across some editable PDF templates for sale on Etsy and are wondering how to create your own. Editable PDFs are awesome because you can offer them to users who possibly don’t have the programs or skills to work in a file such as Photoshop or Illustrator. In this tutorial, we’ll take a template created in Illustrator and turn it into PDF that can be edited in Adobe Acrobat. If you don’t yet have Adobe Acrobat and would like to try it out, click here to start your free trial.

Step 1: Take notes on your design

Once you’ve completed your design in Illustrator, jot down the specs and attributes for each text field you’re thinking of making editable. This should include the font name, size, and color.

Step 2: Remove text fields

At this point, you might want to save a copy of your file. Name the first one with extension “-ORIGINAL”, and the new version “-EDITABLE”, or something to that effect. Now that you’ve taken careful notes on each text field, go ahead and delete the text.

Step 3: Save PDF file

Your file is now ready to be converted to an editable PDF. Click File > Save As, and change the Format that is located at the bottom of the pop-up on a Mac to Adobe PDF (pdf). Save the file as an [Illustrator Default], located towards the top of the Adobe PDF Preset dropdown menu.

Step 4: Open PDF in Adobe Acrobat

Now open the PDF file you just created in Adobe Acrobat. If there are any text fields the software automatically generates, simply click on each one individually and delete it by clicking on the delete key on your keyboard.

Step 5: Prepare Form

Click on the Prepare Form icon in the toolbar located to the right. If it isn’t visible at first, try clicking on the More Tools icon at the bottom, resembled by a wrench and plus sign. Select the text field cursor, and add as many fields as you need. For each one, you will be prompted to give it a name. Use a title that would make sense to someone on the receiving end of this file. Then, before closing the yellow pop-up, click on the All Properties link. Here you will give the text all the same attributes as the original design. If you need to make an update to the field after having saved it, you can double click on it, and the properties window should pop-up again.

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