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Fillable PDF Form Tips

Fillable Adobe PDFs allow you to complete a form right on your computer. This cuts down on errors and expedites processing. However, not all browsers are compatible with the fillable PDF form. Depending on the browser you are using, you may see different results when you attempt to complete a fillable PDF.

We have compiled this list of basic instructions for common Adobe PDF issues.

Save the form to your computer before completing it

We suggest that you first download the PDF form to your computer or network drive, and then open it with Adobe Reader and fill it. You can either type information directly into each field, or copy and paste the text. The font is preselected and cannot be changed. You can only type regular text (upper and lower cases); the system will not accept underlined text, bold or italics, script or formulas, curved or slanted apostrophes, double quotation marks, or long dashes.

You can save your data and re-open the file later to modify or enter additional information.

Use the latest version of Adobe Reader

To open and complete the PDF forms, you will need Adobe Reader (the latest version is recommended). If you do not have it installed on your computer, you may download the latest version free of charge from get.adobe.com.

Mac users: don’t use Preview

For Macintosh system users: DO NOT use the Preview program to fill in the PDF form. Adobe Reader is the only program that will allow you to work with the form properly, and allow us to read the results once back on a Windows machine.

Chrome users: don’t use Chrome PDF Viewer

For Chrome browser users: DO NOT use the Chrome PDF viewer program to fill in the PDF form. Adobe Reader is the only program that will allow you to work with the form properly.

Installing Adobe Acrobat Reader

How to Update Reader or Acrobat

Adobe PDF Plug-In

Opening Fillable Forms in Different Browsers

Completing A Fillable Form

Installing Adobe Acrobat Reader

Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view fillable forms, enter data, print, and save. Adobe Reader is available free from Adobe. If you do not have Adobe Reader, please install it prior to opening the fillable form. Get the free download.

For best results, always update your browser and Adobe when prompted. We recommend using the most recent version of Adobe Reader.


How to Update Adobe Reader

Adobe releases regular security updates for Reader.

  1. Open Reader
  2. Choose Help > Check for Updates

If you have problems with a file, such as PDF pages that don't appear in the browser window, please review the troubleshooting information in Adobe Support.


Adobe PDF Plug-In

Go to Adobe Support for information on configuring browser plugins.


Opening Fillable Forms in Different Browsers

Not all browsers are compatible with fillable PDF forms.

Go to Adobe Support for additional information on PDF browser compatibility.

Google Chrome and Apple Safari come with built-in PDF viewers that are enabled by default to open PDF files directly in the browser window. If you are using one of these browsers, you should first download the form and then open it using Adobe Reader.

For Mac users, Adobe Acrobat is also recommended since Preview will not allow saving the form in a way that guarantees proper printing of the document.


Completing a Fillable Form

Avoid completing the form online within your web browser using a built-in PDF viewer. Save the form (PDF format) to a drive or location on your computer

Use the latest version of Adobe Reader to complete fillable PDF forms. Mac and Windows versions of the free Adobe Reader are available from Adobe. Get the free download.

Before completing the form:

  1. If viewing the form in a built-in PDF viewer using Chrome or Firefox, right-click the PDF and select Save as or Save Page As
  2. You should then be prompted to choose a location to save the file
  3. Make sure the type is set to PDF
  4. Select the location on your computer and click the Save button
  5. Please note the file name and location of the saved file
  6. Once saved, navigate to the file on your computer and open it
  7. You are now ready to complete the form

Please be advised that the fillable PDF forms will not automatically save. It is strongly recommended that you periodically save data entered into a form.

After you have completed the form, save a final version of the file to your computer.