How Can I Make Interactive and Fillable PDFs?

I get asked this question all the time!

What’s an interactive PDF?

An interactive PDF includes fields, like check boxes, and forms, spaces for readers to type in answers to questions. Many solopreneurs use these interactive features in worksheets for their digital products, and in intake forms for their clients. Interactive PDFs can also include advanced forms that link back to databases.


How to create fillable PDFS

To create PDFs with interactive fields, you first design and output your PDF (using Pages, InDesign, Word, etc.). Then, you use PDF software or apps to created the interactive and fillable bits.

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Software options for making interactive PDFs

Mac options

Adobe Acrobat XI Pro – $449
or via Creative Cloud subscription ($49.99/month)

PDFpen Pro – $99.95

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PC options

Adobe Acrobat XI Pro – $449
or via Creative Cloud subscription ($49.99/month)

Adobe Acrobat XI Standard – $299

Nitro Pro 8 – $119.99

CutePDF Professional – $49.95

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A web app option for making interactive PDFs

Web App (Mac & PC friendly)

PDFescape – Free

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Hire it out option

Fiverr – $5
Search for fillable PDF and you’ll find lots of folks who will create interactive PDFs for you.

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Choosing the best option for you

With all software purchases, it’s best to test before buying. Download a trial version of the software you’re interested in and test it out on a one page example of whatever kind of interactive PDF you’re creating. See how it works for you.

What do I use?
As a professional designer I use InDesign or Pages for layout and design and Adobe Acrobat for creation of interactive elements and fillable forms for all my client projects.

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Ready to learn more?

Join The PDF Workshop and learn more about creating beautiful, interactive PDFs for your business.


  1. Natalie on at

    Great timing on this post. I’m getting ready to create forms for my 1-on-1 Fitness Jumpstart Program. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Marinda on at

    Oh this is cool! I didn’t know there was free tool like PDFescape, thanks Christie!

    • christie on at

      Thanks Marinda, PDFescape works really well!

  3. Cheryl on at

    As usual Christie, you offer so much information that is clear and extremely helpful. Thank you.

    • christie on at

      You’re welcome Cheryl!

  4. Awesome! I always wanted to do this and just never got around to figuring out how. In fact I always outsourced the task. Will definitely give one of these options a try! Thanks so much Christie! You always have awesome, practical information to share!

    • christie on at

      You’re welcome Anastasia, glad this post was helpful!

  5. Megan Flatt on at

    This is SO great! I had not even approached this with my PDFs because I thought my only options were expensive. I love that there are some less expensive and even free. I also just tried fiverr for the first time for transcription services and I was so impressed! I am going to check out some of these other services as well!

  6. Pam Pearson on at

    What a great resource! Thanks for sharing. I’m currently completing a workbook that is a fillable PDF and thought – “How cool is this. I wonder how they did this!” Now I know. I’ll have to bookmark this so I can come back when I’m making my own.

    • christie on at

      Thanks Pam. Glad this is a bookmark worthy post!

  7. Great timing! I was just having a conversation about this with a client the other day. I knew about Adobe (we’re all PC people) but not the Fivr or PDFescape. Hmmm. Something to ponder, indeed . . .

    • christie on at

      Thanks Felicity. PDFescape has some limitations but it works pretty well for a free service!

  8. Teresa Deak on at

    How cool! I only know of about half of these programs! Thank you for sharing your expertise!!

    • christie on at

      Thanks Teresa, glad to introduce you to new resources!

  9. eyenie on at

    This is pretty exciting, I’m not gonna lie! I can’t wait to try out PDFescape! It feels like I have a whole new world of possibilities, tee hee! Thank you kindly for this kick-ass info 🙂 YAY!

    • christie on at

      You are welcome Eyenie!

  10. Fabulous information. I have to admit, seems somewhat overwhelming right now. But definitely something I want to look into. My first job is to get myself caught-up and organized with my scheduling. But I see this looming on the horizon this year. You are a great resource person. Thank you.

    • christie on at

      Thanks Jacqueline! Just come back to it when it’s time!

  11. Leah Shapiro on at

    Great list. To be honest I never thought about doing this….but I can totally see the value of it. I like that there is a free option…but knowing me- I’d hire it out on fiver. 😉

    • christie on at

      Leah, fiverr really is a great option for lots of small tasks like this!

  12. Very cool. I too am looking forward to trying pdfescape. Thanks!

  13. Brilliant Christie! Your post was manifestation at its best – I’m LITERALLY working on creating a free PDF for my newsletter subscribers next week and was thinking to myself “I wonder if there’s an easier/cheaper way to make it interactive” – and voila, here you are :).

  14. I’ve always wanted to know how to make fillable PDFs. Thanks for such a concise list. You’re a great resource as always.

  15. Jessica on at

    Wow — this is awesome! I am so glad you included inexpensive (and even FREE! — who knew?!) options as well. Can do another on how to use the data from a fillable form to funnel right into a database or CRM? Pretty please? 🙂

  16. Inga Deksne on at

    Thanks for sharing it, that’s very useful. I was thinking about creating interactive PDFs and apart from the expensive Adobe version didn’t know about alternatives.

  17. Christie.. this is so’re always so generous with information and believe me I came very close to taking this month’s round of your workshop but timing wasn’t a good fit for me.. Soon.. defnitely, soon.

    Love to you..

  18. Robyn Petrik on at

    This post was so helpful, thank you! I just started making content upgrades and had no idea how to create fillable boxes. PDFescape looks super handy, and I think I might try Fiverr when I need something done that PDFescape can’t do.

    • christie on at

      You’re welcome Robyn! Here’s to fillable forms!

  19. Catherine on at

    I would just like a professional to convert the PDF to online fillable forms…. who offers this seervice ???

    • christie on at

      Hire it out option

      Fiverr – $5
      Search for fillable PDF and you’ll find lots of folks who will create interactive PDFs for you.

  20. Cyndi on at

    Hi Christie, I’ve just come across your site, and I am loving all these great and helpful insights you are giving. Thank you so much! It’s so wonderful that someone with your clear technical know-how is willing to share their knowledge with us less technically-endowed folks. Best, Cyndi