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How to Fill Out a PDF Form and Email It (With Adobe, Online, and More)

March 6, 2022
Author
Inkit Team

Received a PDF document with multiple forms via email and not sure how to fill it in?

We'll show you all the ways to fill out, add text, or simply add a fillable form to any PDF document, online or offline below.

A paperless office starts with filling out a PDF form on the go and emailing it back within the minute.

PDFs are great because they’re typically universal - pretty much anyone can open and view them. They are convenient and can be viewed on almost any type of device. 

The only disadvantage PDF documents can have is that they’re uneditable and it can be difficult to modify them. 

If you need to sign or fill in a form on a PDF that is already fillable (or not), there are a few different ways you can do this.

Below we’ll cover a few different options if you’re looking for ways to fill out a PDF form and email it with software such as Adobe Acrobat, online services, and more. And we'll also cover how to fill out a PDF form that is not fillable.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • How to Check If Your PDF Document Is Fillable Onscreen With Adobe Acrobat
  • How to Fill Out a PDF Form And Email It (Online and Offline)
  • How to Fill In Interactive PDF Forms 
  • How To Convert A PDF File To A Fillable Form

But first, you’ll need to check and see if your PDF is already fillable. 

How to Check If Your PDF Document Is Fillable Onscreen With Adobe Acrobat

To determine if your PDF is already fillable, you can use Adobe Acrobat. 

Follow these steps to find any interactive fields in your PDF document (if applicable):

1. Open the form in an Acrobat product.

2. Select the Hand tool, and then drag it over fields in the PDF form. The form contains form fields if the Hand tool changes to either of the following icons:

  • An I-beam (the Text Select tool, which you use to type text in a text field
  • A pointing hand (which you use to select an option or to check a box)

3. In Acrobat 3D, Acrobat 7, or Adobe Reader 7, click Highlight Fields or Highlight Required Fields in the Document Message Bar. Interactive fields display a colored fill.

flat vs smart pdf when filling out document forms

Once you make any text or other changes to your document, you can always flatten the PDF file later.

How to Fill Out a PDF Form And Email It (Online and Offline)

Depending on your available software or personal preference, there are many different ways you can fill in your PDF forms. 

The options mentioned below include online, offline, and through different PDF software

Let’s take a look.

Filling out a PDF form with Adobe Fill & Sign

Adobe has a product suite that can take care of almost any need with PDFs. 

Their Fill & Sign app allows you to fill, sign, and snap a picture of forms and fill them out anywhere. 

Here’s how to fill out a PDF form with Adobe’s Fill & Sign.

1. Open a PDF document in Acrobat DC.

2. Click the “Fill & Sign” tool in the right pane.

3. Fill out your form. Complete form filling by clicking a text field and typing or adding a text box. You can add checkmarks and fill in radio buttons too.

4. Sign your form.

5. Click “Sign” in the toolbar at the top of the page. Then draw, type, or choose an image for your signature. Then click “Apply” to place your signature on the form.

Fill out a PDF form online with PDFescape

PDFescape is a free online PDF you can use to fill out forms and more.

Like most online PDF tools, you’ll first have to upload your PDF document on the site and follow the steps online. The process is fairly straightforward, but like most online tools, you should be careful with what you upload.

So, make sure you’re following the best practices for secure document management when filling out PDF forms.

With that said, here’s how to fill out your PDF forms online with PDFescape: 

1. Log into PDFescape and click “Open” in the top left corner.

2. Next, click “Upload PDF to PDFescape” and choose the document from the files on your computer.

upload pdf file to edit pdf form

3. If your form is already fillable, you can click on the areas and fill as desired. If you’re looking to add text boxes or other form fields, you can do so by clicking the desired option in the top left corner of the navigation menu. To add your text box, simply click and drag on the document and type to fill in. 

add text to pdf file

4. After you’ve finished editing or filling your document, click the save icon in the left navigation menu to save and download the PDF to your computer. 

How to fill out a PDF form online with Google Docs

If you have a Gmail account, you already have access to Google Docs online for free. 

Google Docs allows you to edit your PDFs on your computer. You can add text, edit pages with images or remove them, add shapes, and even add signatures. 

It's easy to convert PDF files into Google Docs as you only need to have the original file. However, due to the differences between the PDF format and Google Docs format, font styles, images, and other formatting choices can be affected when turning PDF into Google Docs.

Though, for simple text editing and filling, Google Docs can do the trick for document forms.

Here’s how to fill a PDF form with Google Docs:

1. Open Google Drive in another browser tab and go to the file you wish to edit. Upload the file to Google Drive if it is saved to your computer. 

2. Right-click on the document and navigate to "Open with...".

how to open pdf document with google docs to make edits


3. From there, select Google Docs from the list of editors available. The document will open in a new tab in Google Docs. The text in the opened document will be editable.

4. To add text, place the cursor anywhere you wish and type.

5. After you've finished editing, go to File > Download > PDF Document (.pdf). The document will be downloaded to your device in PDF.

download google docs as pdf file

Looking for other ways to edit PDF documents with Google Docs?

Be sure to also read:

Now, let’s take a look at how to make the same changes with Google Drive on mobile.

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How to fill out a PDF form online with Google Drive on Mobile

If you’re away from the office or your computer but need to fill out a PDF form, you can do so on Google Drive mobile app. 

Please note: this option works if the PDF form is already fillable. 

If it is not, you can use the Adobe Fill & Sign app or the PDFescape website in your mobile browser. While PDFescape isn’t quite as user-friendly on the mobile browser, it is a good free option when you’re in a pinch. 

Here’s how you can edit a fillable PDF with Google Drive on mobile: 

  1. On your Android or iOS device, open the Google Drive app.
  2. Open a PDF form.
  3. Enter your text.

As you can see, filling out a PDF form on the go is just as straightforward.

If you’re looking for more ways to edit and fill in PDF forms on iPhone, be sure to read:

How to Fill In Interactive PDF Forms 

An interactive PDF is a PDF document that is already fillable. Often, these documents contain multiple types of rich media content such as links, audio and video files, images, GIFs, clickable buttons, fillable forms, and more. 

You can fill out your interactive PDF form just as you would any other PDF that is already fillable. This will include opening your document in your desired PDF editor, filling in the available forms, and saving your document to your files on your computer. 

Now, if you’re wondering what to do if your PDF document isn’t fillable?

Let’s take a look at some other ways to fill in PDF forms.

How To Convert A PDF File To A Fillable Form

If your PDF is uneditable and doesn’t have form fields available, you can make your form fillable by utilizing one of a few different apps. 

Below we will cover what to do if you have access to the Adobe suite, and we will also discuss how to create a fillable document without Adobe. 

Creating a fillable form with Adobe

If you have access to Adobe Acrobat, you can create a fillable PDF by following these steps: 

  1. Open Acrobat:
  2. Click on the “Tools” tab and select “Prepare Form.”
  1. Select a file or scan a document. Acrobat will automatically analyze your document and add form fields.
  1. Add new form fields. Use the top toolbar and adjust the layout using tools in the right pane.
  1. Save your fillable PDF. You can also share it with others or click Distribute to collect responses automatically.

Not using Adobe Acrobat for your PDF file management and organization?

Here’s how to create a fillable form without Adobe.

Adding a custom fillable form to a PDF file without Adobe

The process for this follows a similar structure as editing PDF documents online. As in, you’d be uploading your document to a website like PDFescape (as mentioned above), AmpowerPDF, JotForm, or even offline with MS Word.

Filling out a form with PDFexcape is similar to creating a fillable form. The fillable form option just requires an extra step. Here’s how to do it: 

1. Upload and open your PDF document with PDFescape.

2. Next, click “Upload PDF to PDFescape” and choose the document from the files on your computer

3. To add text boxes or other form fields, you can do so by clicking the desired option in the top left corner of the navigation menu. To add your text box, simply click and drag on the document and type to fill in.

add fillable form to pdf document

4. After you’ve finished editing or filling your document, click the save icon in the left navigation menu to save and download the PDF to your computer. 

Looking for more ways to add a custom fillable form to your PDF document?

Check out our full guide to making a fillable PDF form without Adobe for more ways to do so - including offline with MS Word, and more.

Now, once you’re done editing your PDF document form, here’s how to send it as an email attachment.

How to Send A Filled In PDF Form as an Email Attachment

If you’ve downloaded your filled PDF form to your computer, sending it as an email is as simple as attaching it to your new email. 

This typically is done by clicking a paperclip icon on a new message, choosing your document, and completing the email. 

See the full guide to sending a PDF file as an email attachment to learn how to do so with Gmail, Outlook, and more.

Meanwhile, if you want to send your document directly from the Adobe suite, then, here’s how to do so:

1. Click Distribute in the lower-right corner of the right-hand pane.

2. A series of messages might appear, depending on the conditions Acrobat detects in your form. Respond to the onscreen instructions as needed, and save the form.

3. Choose a distribution and collection method. Email or collect responses in your email inbox.

4. Internal Server. Distribute and collect responses on an internal server such as SharePoint or Network Folder. For more information, see Specify a server.

5. Click Continue and follow the onscreen instructions for distributing the form.

If you choose to collect responses in your email inbox, do one of the following: 

  • Enter the email addresses separated with a semi-colon, or click the To button to select email addresses from your address book.

Edit the default message.

  • Select the option Collect Name & Email from Recipients To Provide Optimal Tracking. The system prompts recipients to provide their name and email address when they submit the form. This guarantees that in Tracker, you see exactly who has and hasn't replied, and when.
  • Deselect the option if you want to receive anonymous submissions, or you don't care about that level of tracking.

Conclusion

Hope this helped!

Filling out and emailing PDF forms is simple with all of the options available today. If you have access to the Adobe suite, there are some great features within it. If you’re looking to utilize a free version, there are many options available as well. Such as Google Docs or MS Word.

If you found this guide to filling out PDF forms helpful, then you might also want to read:

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