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Create a Form from an Existing Document in Acrobat XI

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Create a Form from an Existing Document in Acrobat XI: A picture of the video titled

Create a Form from an Existing Document in Acrobat XI: Overview

            Using Acrobat XI, you can create interactive forms in a number of different ways. Forms can be created from scratch using Adobe Forms Central, or forms can be made from documents created in other software applications. Acrobat XI even allows you to create interactive forms from scanned paper documents. In this lesson, you will learn how to create a form from an existing document using Acrobat XI Pro.

            Electronic forms are used in the same way traditional paper forms are used. A person fills information into the form, the form is submitted, and the recipient collects the information. PDF forms have several advantages over HTML forms. For example, PDF forms can be sent as email attachments. And, unlike HTML forms, PDF forms can be downloaded and saved. This is an advantage if the form is very long, or if the person filling out the form wants to work offline.

            To create a form from an existing document, open the PDF you want to convert into a form in Acrobat and expand the Forms panel found in the Tools pane in the Task Pane. Select the “Create” tool within the Forms panel to open the “Create Form” wizard.

            In the first screen of the “Create Form” wizard, Acrobat gives you the option to create a form from scratch or a template, or to create a form from an existing document. To create a form from an existing document, select the “From Existing Document” option button and then click the “Next” button to continue.

            After selecting the “From Existing Document” option button and clicking the “Next” button, the “Existing Form” screen is shown. This screen allows you to select the existing PDF to use as the basis for the form. To use the currently opened PDF, choose the “Current Document” option button. To browse for a different PDF instead, select the “Choose Another File” option button and then click the “Browse…” button to open an “Open” dialog box. You can then select the file to use and click the “Open” button to display it within the “Existing Form” screen. You can also select the “Scan a Paper Form” option button to create a form from a scanned paper form within your scanner. After selecting your desired option button, click the “Continue” button.

Create a Form from an Existing Document in Acrobat XI: A picture of the video titled "11.1- Creating Form from an Existing Document" playing within the "Mastering Acrobat Made Easy v.XI Pro" interface. The video shows the "Existing Form" screen within Acrobat XI Pro.

Create a Form from an Existing Document in Acrobat XI: A picture of the video titled “11.1- Creating Form from an Existing Document” playing within the “Mastering Acrobat Made Easy v.XI Pro” interface. The video shows the “Existing Form” screen within Acrobat XI Pro.

            After selecting the “Current Document” option button and clicking the “Continue” button, Acrobat will create a form from an existing document and show the “Form Editing” message box. It informs you that Acrobat is now in “Form Editing Mode” and that Acrobat searched the document and detected the areas that will be form fields. Click “OK” after reading this message. You will then see the Forms pane appear in the Task Pane. There are several panels used to customize forms within the Forms pane. In the Tasks panel, for example, you will find tasks related to forms. In the Fields panel, you can see each form field identified. You can then customize the existing from using the tools within the Forms pane in the Task Pane. When you are finished, you can click the “Close Form Editing” button above the Forms pane in the Task Pane to close the form editing mode.

Create a Form from an Existing Document in Acrobat XI: Instructions

  1. To create a form from an existing document, open the PDF to convert into a form in Acrobat and expand the Forms panel found in the Tools pane in the Task Pane.
  2. Select the “Create” tool within the Forms panel to open the “Create Form” wizard.
  3. To create a form from the currently opened PDF, select the “From Existing Document” option button and then click the “Next” button to continue.
  4. To use the currently opened PDF, choose the “Current Document” option button.
  5. To browse for a different PDF instead, select the “Choose Another File” option button and click the “Browse…” button to launch an “Open” dialog box where you can select the file to use and click the “Open” button to display it within the “Existing Form” screen.
  6. You can also select the “Scan a Paper Form” option button to create a form from a scanned paper form within your scanner.
  7. After selecting your desired option button, click the “Continue” button.
  8. After selecting the “Current Document” option button and clicking the “Continue” button, Acrobat will convert the currently opened PDF into a form and show the “Form Editing” message box. It informs you that Acrobat is now in “Form Editing Mode” and that Acrobat searched the document and detected the areas that will be form fields. Click “OK” after reading this message.
  9. You will then see the Forms pane appear in the Task Pane. There are several panels used to customize forms within the Forms pane. In the Tasks panel, for example, you will find tasks related to forms. In the Fields panel, you can see each form field identified. You can then customize the existing from using the tools within the Forms pane in the Task Pane.
  10. When you are finished, you can click the “Close Form Editing” button above the Forms pane in the Task Pane to close the form editing mode.

Create a Form from an Existing Document in Acrobat XI: Video Lesson

            The following video lesson, titled “11.1- Creating a Form from an Existing Document,” shows how to create a form from an existing document using Adobe Acrobat XI Pro. This video is from our complete Acrobat training, titled “Mastering Acrobat Made Easy v.XI.”

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