How to create a fillable PDF form in LibreOffice

PDF is used by everyone nowadays because of its convenience to open, create, read, review and print the document regardless of the hardware device or operating system or a software program you are using. PDF is most commonly used as a steady document that is complete which do not require further changes and are only read at the receiver end. However, it is lesser known that PDF can be used as a fillable PDF file that enables to create a form with blank fields like text areas, checkboxes and multiple choice options which allows the user at the receiving end to fill the blank fields and submit.

Fillable PDF is a printer output put into a file. The blank fields are editable and allow you to fill the editable form fields using a keyboard on any digital devices and submit online. In simple words, you can create an interactive PDF form that can be filled by a user on a keyboard rather than a conventional method of publishing forms wherein the user had to print the document to fill the form fields on a paper and scan the filled document to submit it online. An easy way to create a fillable PDF form is by using a free office software called LibreOffice.

LibreOffice is a popular open source office suite used by millions of people create professional looking documents like brochures, marketing reports, newsletter, thesis, technical drawings and many more.  Libre Office is a free application that serves as a most suitable platform to create fillable PDF forms. In this article, we explain how to generate a customized fillable PDF form using a document editing tool of the Libre Office suite called Libre Write that can be used anywhere, regardless of the operating system or hardware device.

Generate a fillable PDF form in LibreOffice

Create a document in a Libre Office’s Libre Write

Download and install LibreOffice suite and then launch Libre Write and click New to create a document

In the LibreWriter’s Toolbar, Go to View tab and select Toolbar from the drop-down menu.

create a fillable PDF form in LibreOffice

In the Toolbar submenu, select Form Control. This will display a Form Control toolbar in your document interface through which you can drag various form fields and drop them to document. Follow the below steps to create a form with blank fields like text label, text box, list box and multiple choice options in Libre Office.

Add form fields

Add Text Label

The label is a text what is displayed in your document. Follow the below steps to add label field to your document.

Drag the Label from the Form Control toolbar and drop it to the document.

Click and hold the left mouse button to draw the label field.

Right click on the Text label and choose Control to open Control Window.

In the Properties window, you can edit the meta of the Text Label such as Name, Label, Visibility width, position, etc. You can also add Events to the Text Label.

Add Text Box

Drag the Text Box from the Form Control toolbar and place it next to the text label field in your document.

Click and hold the left mouse button to draw the Text box field.

Right click on the Text Box and choose Control to open Control Window.

In the Properties window, you can edit the metadata of the Text box such as Name, Label, text length, etc. You can also add Events to the Text box

Add List Box

Add a text label as mentioned earlier.

Drag the List Box from the Form Control toolbar and place it next to the text label field in your document.

Click and hold the left mouse button to draw the List box field.

Right click on the List Box and choose Control to open Control Window.

In the Properties window, you can edit the metadata of the List box such as Name, Label field, etc. You can also add Events to the List Box.

To add the entries to list, scroll down the List Box properties menu and manually type the list names in the List entries field.

Add Option Buttons

Drag the Options button from the Form Control toolbar and drop it to the document.

Click and hold the left mouse button to draw the options button field and place it in your document.

Right click on the Options button and choose Control to open Control Window.

In the Properties window, you can edit the metadata  of the Options button such as Name, Label field, group name, etc. You can also add Events to the Option Buttons

You can add as many option button as you want by repeating the above steps.

Add Checkbox

Drag the Checkbox from the Form Control toolbar and drop it to the document.

Click and hold the left mouse button to draw the Checkbox field and place it in your document.

Right click on the Checkbox and choose Control to open Control Window.

In the Properties window, you can edit the metadata of the Checkbox such as Name, Label field, label, etc. You can also add Events to the Checkbox.

You can add as many checkboxes as you want by repeating the above steps.

Export document as a PDF form

Once you are done with adding various form fields next step is to export the document as a PDF form. Follow the below steps to create a PDF form

Navigate to File and click Export as PDF from the drop-down menu.

Select the option Create PDF form.

In the Submit form, choose format among the options FDF, PDF, HTML or XML  from the drop-down list.

Select Export bookmarks and click the Export button to create a PDF form.

Once done, you can open the file in a PDF viewer. To test the functionality, you can fill up al the blank fields and save. If everything is proper, you should be able to see complete data once you reopen the file.

That’s all.

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Pavithra is a Windows enthusiast, who loves keeping abreast with the latest in the world of technology.

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