Creating PDF Forms

Creating PDF Forms

This section describes how to use Kofax Power PDF to create PDF forms with interactive elements, such as text fields and check boxes. Information is also provided on how to collect data from forms that have been completed electronically.

Note: Some form elements that have been added to a PDF in Kofax Power PDF may not work as expected for Mac users who are completing the form in the Preview application. 

The directions this section explain how to add form elements to a document that was created in another application (e.g. Microsoft Word), then converted to PDF.

1. Open the PDF file in Power PDF.

Blank PDF form in Power PDF


2. Click the Forms tab in the top menu. Tools for creating a PDF form will appear in the top ribbon, in the Form Elements section.

Form Element tools


3. Select one of the Form Element tools from the top ribbon. A brief description of each form element is provided below.

  • Button - A clickable button with colors, text, and icons that can be customized.
Form button
  • Radio Button - A circular button that can be filled in by clicking.
Form radio button
  • Check Box - A check box that can be checked by clicking.
Form check box
  • Text Field - A text box that people can type in. The allowed format for responses (e.g. a date in the format of mm/dd/yy) can be determined ahead of time. 
Form text field
  • List Box - A list of options for users to pick from. The ability to make multiple selections can be enabled. Selected items will be highlighted in the list.
Form list box
  • Combo Box - An expandable menu of options for users to pick from. Once a selection is made, it will be displayed in the box.
Form combo box
  • Digital Signature - A predetermined location for users to place digital signatures.
An example of a digital signature field


4. Click and drag across the area on the form where you would like to leave the form element.

Adding a text field to a PDF


5. A window will appear where you can manage the properties of the form element, including colors, allowed formats, action triggers, and more. Click Close to save your changes.

An example of a form field properties window


6. Continue adding form elements as necessary.

Adding form elements


7. Save the form when you are done.

It is important to check the tab order of a form you create so users can tab from one field to the next in proper order.


Setting the Tab Order

1. Open the PDF form in Power PDF. The form should already contain form elements. If it doesn't, follow the directions in the previous section to add form elements to the PDF.

2. Click the Forms tab in the top menu. Tools for creating and editing PDF forms will appear in the top ribbon.

Set Tab Order button in Power PDF

3. Select Set Tab Order, located in the Fields section. Numbered text boxes will appear within each of the fields in the form. This numbering indicates the order in which boxes will become accessible as someone tabs through the form. (If the Set Tab Order button is not clickable, follow the directions in the Setting Unspecified Tab Order section below.)

Form elements in Power PDF with black text boxes indicating tab order

4. Double-click on the field that you would like to make accessible first. This field should now be labeled with a number '1'.

5. Determine the tab order of the remaining fields by clicking on each one in succession. The numbers labeling each field will change to reflect the new tab order

6. When you are done, click on an area outside of the form fields. The new tab order will be saved.


Setting Unspecified Tab Order

1. Click on the Pages icon in the left-hand toolbar to open the Pages panel.

Pages icon in left-hand menu

2. Right-click on one of the page thumbnail images.

3. Select Page Properties.

Selecting Page Properties in the Pages Panel

4. In the Page Properties window, select Unspecified, then click Close.

Selecting Unspecified tab order


After people have filled out a PDF form, Power PDF can be used to quickly aggregate all of their responses into a single spreadsheet. Aggregating form data in this way requires that:

  • Interactive form elements (e.g. text fields, check boxes, etc.) have been built into the form. For more information on how to do this, see the above section on Adding Form Elements to a PDF.
  • Users have completed the form electronically, as opposed to doing it on paper.
  • You have access to the completed forms wherever they have been saved (e.g. a Box folder). 

It is also recommended that, when creating the form, each form element be given a very specific field name so that the exported data makes more sense. 

Exporting Data from Completed Forms

1. Click the Forms tab in the top menu. Tools for creating and managing PDF form elements will appear in the top ribbon.

2. Click Import/Export Data. A dropdown menu will appear. 

3. Select Export Data from Multiple Forms. A window will appear where you can specify which files to export data from.

Option to export data from forms

4. Click the Add Files button.

Adding files to export data from

5. Select the files that you would like to export data from and click Open

Selecting forms for data export

6. Once all of the desired files are listed, click the Export button. A file manager window will appear.

Export button in the file selection window

7. The exported form data will be aggregated into a .csv file. Give the file a name and choose a location to save it to.

Naming and saving exported data file

8. Click Save. The data will begin to export. This may take a few minutes.

9. To view the data, find the file wherever it was saved to. Right-click on the file and select Open with > Excel. The file will open in Excel, where you can edit and analyze it as necessary.

Viewing exported form data in Excel