If you’ve ever faced the frustration of finding a form online that you need to fill out, only to have to print it, fill it out by hand, then scan it back into your computer and email it, you’ll appreciate these tips on how to fill out a non-interactive forms.
But wait? What do we mean by non-interactive? Let’s back up.
Interactive PDF Forms vs. Non-Interactive PDF Forms
There are two kinds of PDF form files. One is a PDF file with fillable fields, which lets you fill out the form directly simply by clicking into the fields. You basically point your cursor and type. You don’t need to use any other features. Easy-peasy. This is called an Interactive PDF Form.
The other kind of form is a plain PDF file with lines and text. No fields are present. It’s basically the same as any PDF document, except that it looks like a form. This is called a non-interactive PDF form. So can you fill it out? Yes! You just use the Typewriter feature in or . Here’s how.
Filling Out Non-Interactive PDF Forms with the Typewriter
You’ll know you’re working with a non-interactive PDF form if you place the pointer over a form field and the basic pointer icon doesn’t change. To use the Typewriter feature to fill out the form, choose the COMMENT ribbon > Typewriter Tool. Then it’s merely a matter of placing your cursor anywhere a form field appears and typing your text into the form. In essence, you’re inserting text into the document as you would with any other PDF file. To finish typing, click anywhere outside the text you’ve inputted. Then make sure to save or print a copy of the completed form.
For a Perfect Finish, Make Sure to Spell Check Your Form
You can even spell-check the entries if your security settings allow it and if you’ve installed the Spell Checker component. You’ll know if you have because, when you use typewriter to insert text, the tool will look for any spelling errors and highlight them with squiggly lines.
To correct any spelling mistakes, right click on the misspelled words and you’ll see a list of suggested words. Choose one of the suggested words to correct your input or ignore the squiggly line.
Of course, rather than using this streamlined way to fill out non-interactive PDF forms, you can always go back to the old-fashioned method of printing the form out (aka, using precious paper resources) and filling it out by hand (aka, like your great-great grandparents used to do). But with the Typewriter tool to guide your PDF form completion, why would you want to?
Note that the Spell Checker component has been integrated into Foxit PhantomPDF and Foxit Reader, however, you may need to manually install updates by going to Check for Updates in the Help menu.