Does anyone know how to make a editable pdf file for my online program?

I'm creating workbooks for my online program and would like to offer participants the option to answer questions straight into the pdf.

Top voted answer
Jef Lippiatt

Jef Lippiatt, Owner at Startup Chucktown

There are several ways you can look into going about this:

  • You will need Adobe Acrobat Pro (I believe) to have this ability within the "Tools" section. There will even be an option at the end of the form you can add a button that sends completed forms to your email address.
  • You can create interactive documents in Microsoft Word as well. I've used these successfully when deploying them as surveys. However, if you export an interactive Word document to PDF, I am not sure if it will keep the interactive parts or not. Sorry, I haven't tried that functionality.
  • You could add a link to an interactive Google Form document for them to fill out as they are going through the material (this could also be submitted to you and used as a lead capture if you get their names and emails - if you aren't capturing them elsewhere)

Tony Zilles

Tony Zilles at Digital Business Media

There are two angles to your question regarding an "editable" PDF.

Interactive PDF

The situation you describe is requires an interactive PDF where the page includes form elements. Users can enter data into the page and then send it to you. The extent and nature of the interaction in PDFs is broad and includes programmable actions like conditional visibility and so on. The methods of sending the data to you vary. you can choose a communication mode that suits the technology best for the situation e.g. email, form post, etc). this is a great way to collect info quickly and easily. I believe this is what you need at the moment. As Jef says the Adobe software has this covered, but so do many other products that are far less costly and in many cases far easier to use. My favourite for creating interactive forms is PagePlus by Serif. I won't go on about it except to say that it will do what you want(and lots more) and will not cost you a lot of money to acquire or a lot of time to learn.

PDF Editing

Another spin on your question is actually editing PDFs. Sometimes this can be very handy and if you are using PDFs extensively in your business documentation then the time will soon come when directly editing PDFs is going to be very useful. There's a product called TurboPDF that provide very high value in PDF creation and editing. Not only can you edit content in PDFs, you can deconstruct, edit, add and reconstruct PDFs from PDFs and almost any other document source to make new versions and even manage multiple versions. I believe that most of this functionality is available with various Adobe tools, but the cost is high in both price and time to learn. TurboPDF is low cost and although it has a learning curve, commonly used tasks are very quickly mastered. While this kind of tool is very handy when you are stitching PDFs together for your own purposes it does provide an insight into PDF security. There is none. But security has now passed as one of the strengths of the format. Portability, versatility and platform independence are its strengths today.