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Customisable PDFs — Part 1: Creating Text Fields

I originally created this in response to a post on MacRumors but thought it might make a nice first tutorial for my site. Although the example used is a poster, this method can be used on any PDF, no matter what size, shape or intended purpose.

Right, do yourself a poster. I did a quick example in Adobe Illustrator just for this tutorial, but any PDF should be the same if created with a respectable program.

Once PDF’d, open with Acrobat Pro (I’m using 8). Use the TouchUp Object tool to delete anything you may have placed as a placeholder, like my yellow box and the text ‘Space for customised text.’

Next use the Text Field tool to draw a text field. This will be where your customisable text will be entered.

The dialogue box that pops up will let you set all the options you want to apply to this entry field. Double click on the text field using the Select Object Tool to edit the details in the future.

Once your done, enable the usage rights in Reader, agree to whatever it says and save it where you want it. (Probably best to save it as a new file rather than over your original.)

Anyone should then be able to open the PDF in an up-to-date version of Acrobat Reader (available free) and replace the text by clicking on it and typing. They will then be able to save, save as, e-mail, print etc.

I hope this makes sense and works for you! If not, post a comment and I’ll see what I can do to help.


Want your client to be able to place an image into your PDF template? Check out Part 2: Creating an Image Area!


7 Responses to “Customisable PDFs — Part 1: Creating Text Fields”

  1. How I’ll do my posters? (Coming Soon!) « Eclipse Now Says:

    [...] 2 August, 2009 by eclipsenow doug barned – Customisable PDFs. [...]

  2. Eclipse Now Says:

    Hi Doug,
    Wondering how to turn these text fields 90% so that they enable customisable tear-off-tabs down the bottom of the flyer?

    I want to create greenie posters that greenie groups can edit to have THEIR local meeting details or website or phone number on.

  3. Doug Says:

    Hi there, thanks for the Pingback :)

    You can make the text appear at a 90 degree angle by using the settings in the dialogue box (5th paragraph in tutorial).

    This is the area to adjust.

    Hope that helps! Let us know how you get on…


  4. Ric Says:

    HI Doug,

    This has been a really useful tutorial. Thanks for posting up.

    Just wondering if I can do the same with images? Is there a way to leave a blank amount of space that the client can drop one of their own images into?


  5. Doug Says:

    Hi Ric

    Thanks for the comment :) that is certainly possible. Give me a few days (if you can wait) and I’ll get a step-by-step tutorial up for you!


  6. Ric Says:

    Thanks Doug, that would be amazing and very useful!

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