Hero Image

How to create a fillable PDF form for free

Are you using fillable PDFs for your online course? If not, here’s how to create them, including a way to create more feature-rich digital workbooks instead.

By Wobo TeamDecember 7, 2022

Businesses and course creators have long used fillable PDFs to collect input and responses from students, staff, customers, and other stakeholders. However, creating a fillable PDF can often be cumbersome, requiring multiple software programs, and big learning curves.


In this article, we’ll look at how to create a fillable PDF for free and share an alternative, more feature-rich option to collect or record information using the Wobo online workbook creator software. We will discuss the following:

  • What are fillable PDFs?
  • Who uses fillable PDFs?
  • Is there a free way to make a PDF fillable?
  • Alternative to fillable PDF forms: Wobo
  • Creating your first (or next) interactive workbook

What are fillable PDFs?

An interactive or fillable PDF form allows users to digitally add written content to a PDF file and save or send it to another person. It’s suitable for adding fillable text fields or collecting digital signatures, but other input options or rich media are limited or unavailable.


A PDF form can be sent via email, uploaded to a website, or distributed through online learning platforms. Using a PDF form creator, anyone can create customized PDF forms for distribution and data collection. 


Learn more about interactive PDFs. 

Pros and cons of fillable PDFs

Creating a PDF form has long been the “traditional” way to record responses from others without requiring internet access. Yet, today, they are not the only way to collect data from staff, customers, or students. Here are the pros and cons of using fillable PDFs:


PROs of fillable PDFs

  • Protects the design of the document from tampering
  • Allows others to input text content
  • Can collect digital signatures
  • Allows for text fields, drop down list, radio buttons, and date input field types

CONs of fillable PDFs

  • Requires software to view/edit
  • PDFs are static. You can’t see updates in real time
  • Usually no automatic saving of user-inputs
  • Limited availability to add rich media like videos and audio files. 
  • Requires design knowledge to design the doc


A powerful alternative to a PDF file is an interactive workbook created by Wobo. With a Wobo interactive workbook. You can update the content anytime and push updates to students immediately. It also embeds in many popular Learning Management Systems (LMS) for students to view online. With Wobo workbooks, student work in the book is automatically saved and can be exported to a consolidated PDF file for future reference.

Who uses fillable PDFs? 

Fillable PDFs are great for all types of businesses and uses. If you have people who need to fill in a form, you can convert paper documents to digital, fillable forms using a PDF editor. 


Here are some examples of fillable PDF forms:

  • Employment forms
  • New client/customer intake forms
  • Contracts
  • Weekly/Monthly team member reports
  • Surveys and feedback collection
  • Online course worksheets

Is there a free way to make a PDF fillable? 

Yes, there are several ways to make fillable PDFs, although they often requires multiple software programs. Most software requires you to make the existing PDF document in another program (like Microsoft Word, Adobe InDesign, or Canva), then to create a fillable PDF document, you upload it to a second program.To create fillable forms, you need a PDF editor (like Adobe Acrobat) with the ability to add form fields to an existing PDF document. 

How do I create a fillable PDF without Adobe? 

Adobe Acrobat is a popular fillable PDF creator with a big learning curve. You open your existing PDF in Adobe Acrobat and add your form files. A helpful feature is the ability to accept online signatures and “lock” the PDF form to editing after a signature has been added.  


However, there are many other free and paid online tools to help you create fillable form fields in a PDF file. These tools include: 

  • Jotform: With their online form software, you can create a fillable PDF form that users can use regardless of device or internet access. They allow you to make a form from scratch or upload your existing PDF and add the fillable form fields. 
  • Sejda: With Seja, you upload your existing PDF and easily drag-and-drop form fields where you need them. They offer free (limited features) and paid access to their fillable PDF form maker. 
  • DocFly: Like the other PDF form creator software, you upload your PDF file to their online interface and add fillable form fields to the file. Their free version allows for up to 3 document exports per month before paying for a subscription. 


Read more about creating interactive PDF files.

Alternative to fillable PDF forms: Wobo

PDF forms are suitable for basic data collection needs, but if you want more powerful features and interactive, rich media, we suggest creating a digital workbook with Wobo. Here’s how to create your first interactive workbook:


  1. Log on to your Wobo account
  2. Click on the blue “New workbook” button in the top right corner.
  3. Browse the optimized, pre-designed templates, or click “Build your own” to start from scratch
  4. When prompted, give your workbook a name. 
  5. Click on the “Global Styles” button to set your brand logo, colors, fonts, and styles to apply to the whole document
  6. Click on the “Modules” button to add sections to your workbook. 
  7. Edit content by clicking on it on the page or navigating through the left-side toolbar. 
  8. When you want to add a new section on the page, click “Add Section” and choose the content type and options you want. 
  9. Follow the prompts and options to customize your workbook. 


Don’t forget that changes are automatically saved as you work. You can preview your book, as students will see it, by clicking on the “Preview” button. Another helpful feature is that you can preview it as it appears on a browser and mobile.  


Ready to publish your changes and have them updated for all students simultaneously? Click on the “Publish” button near the top right corner. It will turn blue when you have unpublished edits and appear grayed out when there are no edits to publish. 

Creating your first (or next) interactive workbook

Wobo is the best interactive digital workbook creator for online learning. It’s designed to help students reflect, react, and retain more information than fillable PDF student workbooks. 


Wobo Interactive workbook creator helps

  • educators launch faster with our professionally designed, fully customizable templates and easy-to-use interface.
  • educators create accessible workbooks to include learners with unique visual or auditory learning needs. 
  • educators update content on-the-fly with the ability to push workbook updates to students in real time.
  • educators protect their IP by adding watermarks, disabling copying, and more.
  • students download workbooks to PDF files to save coursework for offline reference.
  • students save work-in-progress automatically within the workbook.
  • students learn better through interactive elements within the workbook, including videos, audio files, and fillable form fields. 


Wobo is a much more robust option than using restrictive PDF documents and static form fields. With Wobo, you can add increased interactivity and powerful features for your student workbooks. 

You can try Wobo online workbook creator for free today and see how easy our workbook designer is. Start your free trial today

More students and sales await.

Empower students to take notes, complete structured exercises, and best of all, retain all their work once the course is complete. Sign up for email updates or book a demo to learn more.