Tutorial: How to Create an Interactive PDF form in InDesign

Yes, another awesome thing that ID can do.

Why would you want to use Acrobat when you can do the entire thing in InDesign? Today I’ll show you how easy is to create an interactive PDF in ID.

Let’s get started.

In my example, you can see I am creating a basic form where people need to add their personal details.

basic form - plain

1. Open your ID document, go to the top bar menu and select: Window >> Workspace >> Interactive for PDF

2. Go to the shapes and select the rectangle, create a box big enough for the text you would like people to enter. You can style it up as you’d like.

Name - box eg

3. Once you are happy with how it looks, select the shape and go to: Object >> Interactive >> Convert to Text Field Immediately the edge of the box will be dashed lines, don’t worry, the shape won’t lose the style you applied to it earlier.

Note that when you select the rectangle, it will bring out a little window called ‘Buttons and Forms’, here are all the options of your interactive box.

·         Type: it is telling you is a text field

·         Name: you can named each of the interactive figures you create. I recommend using this option to keep your design organised.

·         Event: here you can decide how to activate the interactive field, for example, I like to choose ‘On Click’ which means that the person filling the form only needs to click on the box to start typing.

Buttons and forms - options2

4. Now, to create an option button, InDesign provides you with some buttons already styled. To bring out the options, got to Window >> Sample Buttons and Forms

Samples - buttons

In the example, I have a question that has two different answers as options, for this, I have selected a very basic buttons from the Sample Buttons and Forms window

You only need to drag them from to your workspace.


5. Select the button and change its settings under the ‘Buttons and Forms’ window. Enter its name and type of event you would like it to have. Do the same with the next button. See my example below.

Male button

6. Now let’s save your interactive design. Go to File >> Export >> enter a file name and, IMPORTANT before you click ‘save’ ensure the Type of the document is saved as ‘Adobe PDF (Interactive)’


It will bring up a window with the PDF setting, leave them as they are, the standard options are ok for now 🙂

7. You are done!

TIP#1: if you select an interactive shape you can see a preview of the PDF by clicking the little media icon on the bottom left corner of the Buttons and Forms window


Tip#2: When you have a space in the form where people need to enter a lot of information, ensure you select ‘Multiline’ option which can be found in the Buttons and Forms window, under PDF options. This is to have the text flowing within the created shape.

You have now an interactive PDF document.


2 thoughts on “Tutorial: How to Create an Interactive PDF form in InDesign

  1. Daniella says:

    Loved it!!!! I have to say everything I know about Photoshop or any other design subject comes from my succesful friend overseas, I feel so proud. (I still install lovely fonts on my computer 10 years after)

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