Creating a Fillable PDF

Fillable PDFs are great for documents that need a specific formatting structure and the data is not going to vary in length.  They are really easy for people to read and fill out as well.  To create a fillable PDF, you'll need to use a PDF editing software program like Nitro Pro and Adobe.

nitro_pdf.png

 

In your PDF, you will define the different fields you want to use in your document. 

Make sure to use unique names for each field name. Do not use numbers on their own (eg '123') or include spaces, punctuation, special characters, or hyphens in the field names to ensure an easy integration process.

 

nitro_properties.png

 

Checkboxes: Using checkboxes in your fillable PDF can be a little tricky, but once you understand the process, it is fairly straight forward.  Each checkbox in your PDF has an "On" value or an "Export" value.  When the value that you are passing to the PDF matches this "On" value, the checkbox will be checked.  For example, you have checkboxes for Gender (2 boxes - Male and Female), you will want to make the "On" value of the Male checkbox be "Male".

Please note:  the Export value for a checkbox is limited to 125 characters

 

nitro_checkbox.png

 

Once you have the PDF created, simply upload it to Formstack Documents and we'll automatically detect the fields and take it from there! If you need to make any changes, simply make the changes in your PDF editor, then upload the updated version to Formstack Documents.

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Comments

32 comments
  • Hi, can the data collected in a fillable pdf be merged into a document like a report or written invoice?

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  • Hi Troy,

    Yes, you could add a submit button to the PDF and send the data to another webmerge document (Merge URL): https://webmerge.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/206526036-Save-Answers-from-a-Fillable-PDF-Form

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  • How do you go about parsing the Formstack data from checkboxes into this? It exports whatever selections into one cell which are separated by commas.

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  • Hi Andrea,

    You'll want to name each of your checkboxes a unique name in the PDF, then in Formstack, you can pick the specific option you want to match up to that specific checkbox field. In the field dropdown in Formstack, you'll see all of your options listed there too.

    Thanks!

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  • i'm still not sure i'm understanding...
    our form has various "checkboxes" that should be "checked" if/when applicable.

    the uploaded form has each checkbox set as a "checkbox," (in Nitro) but i'm still unclear of what would be filled out in the entry field to pass a "check" onto the form.

    i'm getting the same result if i leave a field blank or add an "X"...nothing is passed to the final PDF form: the checkboxes remain blank/unchecked. help!

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  • Hi Christian,

    You need to set the "Export" value of the checkbox (in the PDF field settings) to the value that's coming over in your merge value. By default, most PDFs use "Yes", but you can change that to anything you'd like.

    When the "Export" value of the checkbox matches the merge data value, it checks the box.

    Thanks!

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  • That did the trick, Jeremy! Thank you for clarifying!

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  • Any suggestions for when a PDF (created in Acrobat) has export values for checkboxes set to the correct merge values, but the multi-select picklist fields still won't merge from Salesforce?

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  • Hi Agnes,

    I'd suggest changing the picklist to a textbox instead. That way you're just printing the selected value. Will that work for you?

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  • Referring to Christian's question, are you saying to configure, export a checkbox from Acrobat, you need to default a value as being checked? I really hope that is not the case . . . .

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  • Hi Jen,

    No, you need to make sure the "Export" value of your checkbox matches the value that's coming over in the merge data. You do not need to check the box by default.

    Thanks!

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  • thank you for the quick reply!! Much appreciated!!

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  • Can Conditional Logic be used in a Fillable PDF?

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  • Hi Simran,

    Unfortunately, no - the format of the fillable PDF is static so it cannot be changed.

    Sorry!

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  • Can the fillable PDF be populated via webmerge Pipedrive?

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  • Hi Paul,

    Yes, please check out this help article for WebMerge + Pipedrive: https://support.webmerge.me/hc/en-us/articles/206526286-Pipedrive

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  • Great article Jeremy! How do you configure the PDF so that Docusign knows that a signature goes there? In a Word Doc, I do the \s1\ but how do you do that in the PDF?

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  • ^ I tested myself and figured it out. I do the same thing and put white text in the PDF of that same \s1\ and DocuSign knows where to put it!

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  • Hi, is it possible to create a form fill pdf that retains one or more form fill fields after it is merged? There is information required to complete the form that is not known at the time of data capture and can only be inserted at the time the end user downloads to form to print. We want to compile the document with conditional logic using webmerge inserting 98% of the data required, leaving the one or two remaining pieces of information to be inserted by by the user through pdf form-fill.

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  • Hi Ian,

    Yes, under the Settings tab inside WebMerge, choose "No" for the Flatten setting. This will leave the PDF fields on the PDF.

    Thanks!

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  • Hi Jeremy,

    I've had no problem setting up the fillable PDF and mapping it from webmerge. I can't seem to figure out how to format the data outputting from Zoho into number and currency format in the PDF (for example data from Zoho comes out 100000, but I want it on the PDF as $100,000. I've successfully used the modifiers to do this in word, but can't figure out what to do to get it to function in a PDF. I've tried setting currency fields in the PDF, but they don't reformat the data unless you manually click in the field after merge and manipulate. Any suggestions?

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  • Hi Rick,

    You'll want to use the Field Map (https://support.webmerge.me/hc/en-us/articles/206526086-Field-Map) to format data before it goes into the Fillable PDF.

    Thanks!

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  • Thanks for the quick reply. I'm confused what I'm supposed to enter in the field map tab corresponding to the PDF field I'm trying to import the data to. In my instance, the PDF field is called "Policy Face Amount". What do I enter in the box below the field name in the field map format the data from Zoho into the PDF in number format? Sorry, I'm not usually this slow.

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  • Hi Rick,

    Ideally, you shouldn't be using spaces in your field names :) But you would enter the same field like this (we automatically convert spaces to underscores):

    {$Policy_Face_Amount|number_format:0}

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  • is it possible to save the form data into a custom SF object?

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  • Hi Robby,

    You could use Zapier to do that :) -- You can setup a Webhook delivery on your document to send data to Zapier and they can update the Salesforce record.

    Thanks!

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  • Can multi lists from an application (iForm) be functional with individulal checkboxes on an PDF? I cannot figure out a way to get WebMerge to grab one option from a multi list array being passed.

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  • Hi Jeffrey,

    Yes, but you'll need to use unique names for each checkbox in your PDF, then use the Field Map (https://support.webmerge.me/hc/en-us/articles/206526086-Field-Map) to set the value of each checkbox field using logic like:

    {if in_array("Red", $Colors)}on{/if}

    or string search:
    {if strstr($Colors, "Red"}on{/if}

    The "on" part in the if statement needs to be the "Export" value that you setup in your PDF.

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  • Hi Jeremy,

    I'm trying to attach PDF document and gives Sorry, but you did not upload a PDF with fillable fields or it is password protected but it is fillable PDF document not sure why is this happening??

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  • Hi Hemanth,

    Please check the Security Settings under File > Properties to make sure that those are all set to "Allowed". We specifically need access to Fill Form Fields, Document Assembly, Modify Document

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