The process involved in how to fill out a PDF form can be quick and painless, or a major headache. Which one it ends up being for you depends on the file you are working with, what’s installed on your computer, what permissions you have as a user on that computer, and if you are connected to the internet.
First things first, actually getting to how to fill out a PDF, you must be able to open the PDF file you are trying to fill out. This requires you to at least have a PDF capable reader, which generally installed on almost every computer by default. If not though, you can download Adobe’s PDF reader and install it for free. While there are many other PDF capable readers on the market, going with Adobe will ensure that you don’t run into problems down the road. Not all PDF readers support filling out PDF forms. If you want to go with a reader other than Adobe, then just make sure to research that specific program and make sure it offers the capabilities you need.
Once you have a PDF reader you can then proceed to open a PDF file. This doesn’t mean it will necessarily open though. PDF files allow for the author to set a password to protect the contents of the file if they so wish. If you’re unlucky enough to have run into a password protected PDF you will need to contact the author for the password before you can open it. Sorry! Most of the time this shouldn’t be an issue though. PDF files are rarely password protected, especially those distributed publicly on the internet.
After opening the PDF file in your reader of choice, you can then click on the fields and fill out the form as you’d expect. It’s really not that difficult to learn how to fill out a PDF form now is it? At least not if you were paying attention and got a PDF reader with that capability! If not, go back to that step and proceed from there! Or you can just skip ahead and try the next method …
Now, if you don’t have permissions to install programs, as can be the case on many public workstations, you will have to contact your administrator to get them to install a PDF reader for you. If they are unavailable or it will take too long, there is another way though. You can go online and search for “fill out PDF form online” in your favorite search engine, and it will show you a bunch of results for websites that offer this service. To use those services, just upload the file to their servers, and then fill the form out in your browser. After you are finished, you can download the file and save it. Just be careful what you upload, or who you upload to. Sensitive or personal information may not be secure with them or on their servers. So pick a service which you trust.
If you would like a more structured how to on this subject, here is another article about how to fill out PDF forms.