How to Make a Fillable PDF in Word: A Step-by-Step Guide

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By Matthew Simpson

Creating a fillable PDF in Word is a great way to make forms that others can fill out electronically. It’s a simple process that involves creating a Word document, adding form fields, and then converting the document into a fillable PDF. After reading this paragraph, you’ll have a good idea of what steps you need to take to accomplish this task.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Make a Fillable PDF in Word

Before we dive into the detailed steps, let’s understand what we’re aiming to achieve here. By making a fillable PDF in Word, you’re essentially creating a digital form that users can fill out on their computers or mobile devices, without having to print it out and fill it in by hand. This can save time and resources and makes it easier to collect and organize information.

Step 1: Open Microsoft Word

Open up Microsoft Word on your computer to get started.

When you open Word, you can choose to create a new document or open an existing one that you want to make fillable. Make sure you’re familiar with the Word interface so you can easily navigate through the next steps.

Step 2: Enable the "Developer" Tab

Access the "Developer" tab in Word, which is where you’ll find the tools to create form fields.

You’ll need to enable this tab if it’s not already visible. Go to ‘File’ > ‘Options’ > ‘Customize Ribbon’ and check the box next to ‘Developer’ in the right-hand column. This will add the Developer tab to your ribbon.

Step 3: Add Form Fields

Use the controls in the "Developer" tab to add different types of form fields to your document.

You can add text fields, check boxes, drop-down lists, and more. Click on the ‘Design Mode’ button to start adding these fields to your document. You can click and drag on your document to place the fields where you want them.

Step 4: Customize the Form Fields

Adjust the properties of each form field to suit your needs.

Right-click on each form field and select ‘Properties’ to customize settings like the color, size, and default text. This allows you to make sure the form fields work exactly how you want them to.

Step 5: Save the Document as a PDF

Once you’ve added all of your form fields, save the Word document as a PDF.

Go to ‘File’ > ‘Save As’ and choose ‘PDF’ from the drop-down menu next to ‘Save as type’. Make sure to check the box that says ‘Create PDF form’ if you want the fields to be fillable in the PDF.

After you’ve completed these steps, you’ll have a fillable PDF that you can distribute to others. They’ll be able to fill out the form fields directly in their PDF reader, making it a convenient way to collect information or feedback.

Tips: Making a Fillable PDF in Word

  • Always save a copy of the original Word document before converting it to PDF, just in case you need to make changes later on.
  • Use the ‘Preview’ function in the ‘Developer’ tab to test the form fields before saving the document as a PDF.
  • Consider adding instructional text to guide users on how to fill out the form.
  • Protect sensitive information by adding password encryption to the PDF.
  • Keep the design of the form simple and user-friendly to ensure it’s easy for people to fill out.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I make sure the form fields are fillable in the PDF?

Make sure you check the ‘Create PDF form’ box when saving the Word document as a PDF. This ensures the fields remain interactive.

Can I edit the PDF form after I’ve made it?

You can edit the original Word document and re-save it as a PDF. Direct editing of the PDF form fields may require a PDF editor.

How can I distribute the fillable PDF?

You can email the PDF, share a link to it, or host it on a website for users to download and fill out.

Can users save their data in the fillable PDF form?

Yes, if you enable the ‘Save’ feature when creating the PDF, users can save their data in the form.

How do I add a signature field to the form?

In the ‘Developer’ tab, use the ‘Signature Line’ feature to add a field where users can digitally sign the PDF.


  1. Open Microsoft Word.
  2. Enable the "Developer" Tab.
  3. Add Form Fields.
  4. Customize the Form Fields.
  5. Save the Document as a PDF.


Making a fillable PDF in Word is a straightforward process that can greatly streamline how you gather information. Whether you’re creating forms for event registrations, surveys, or job applications, the ability to fill out documents electronically is a game-changer. With this tutorial, you now have the know-how to create professional, fillable PDFs right from Word. Remember, the key is in the details—take the time to design your form thoughtfully and test it thoroughly. Your recipients will thank you for making their lives easier, and you’ll have a more efficient way to collect and manage data. So go ahead, give it a try, and see how making a fillable PDF in Word can benefit you and your audience.