How to use LibreOffice Writer to create fillable PDF forms

library Writer can be used to create fillable PDF forms. In this use case, it is a free and open source alternative to Adobe Acrobat. LibreOffice is also cross-platform, so you can use it not only on Windows and macOS, but also on Linux.
PDF files may contain editable form fields that can be filled / edited and saved by the user. Therefore, you can use the keyboard to fill the document without having to print the document, fill the document with a pen, and scan the document to be able to send the document online.
This article explains how to use LibreOffice Writer to create PDFs with fillable forms (interactive forms), and explains instructions for creating some common form elements, such as adding text input fields, list boxes (drop-down lists), option buttons (radio buttons) )), Check box, and then export the document as a PDF form.
I have taken a screenshot of this tutorial using LibreOffice version 6.1 on Linux, but the instructions should be the same as other versions or operating systems. Please note that the icon or LibreOffice toolbar may vary depending on the version and operating system you are using different. use.
Related to PDF:

  • PDFArranger: Merge, split, rotate, crop or rearrange PDF documents (PDF-Shuffler Fork)
  • Easily compress PDF files in Linux with Densify

How to create a form in LibreOffice Writer

LibreOffice form control

First start LibreOffice Writer, it will open a new blank document. To be able to add the form to the new LibreOffice Writer document, select it from its menu View > Toolbars > Form Controls with View > Toolbars > Form Design .
right now, Form Design Show the toolbar (at the bottom of LibreOffice Writer by default), and click Display Grid with Snap to Grid Button to enable it, which allows you to easily align form controls later: LibreOffice display grid snap to grid

A. Create a text label in LibreOffice Writer (text displayed next to the text input field)

Now it’s time to insert some form controls in our new document. In the LibreOffice form control toolbar, click Label , Then click and hold the left mouse button to draw the label in the document: Libreoffice add label field

Double-click the label you just added, and enter the name and label. Label fields are fields that appear as text in the document: LibreOffice edit label field

B. Create a text box (text input field) in LibreOffice

On the Form Control toolbar, click Text Box , And then draw a text box to the right of the text label (by clicking and holding the left mouse button) (see the method for creating text labels above): Libreoffice insert text box

Double-click the text box, enter a name for it, and then click the three-point button on the right in the label field and assign it the label created on its left, then click OK : LibreOffice edit text box assignment label

C. Create a list box (drop-down list) in LibreOffice

First create a text label as shown in step A. Then click List Box From the “Form Controls” toolbar, then draw a text box to the right of the label: Libreoffice insert list box drop-down menu

Double-click the list box added to the document, enter a name, and then click the three dot buttons in the label field, and assign it a label added to the left of the list box: Libreoffice edit list box drop-down menu

Do not close the “List Box” property window for now. To add a list of options to a list box (drop-down list), scroll down in the list box properties window, and then List entries field.
If you have a list of entries in a text editor, and each entry is on a separate line, you can copy and paste it directly here, and then press Enter, it will automatically add these entries. Alternatively, you can manually enter each list entry by entering an entry and then pressing Shift + Enter Add a new one, and so on: Libreoffice edit list box drop-down menu

To test your new list box, please exit design mode by clicking Design Mode Buttons on the toolbar of the form controls: LibreOffice form exits design mode

And try to use the list box (drop-down list): LibreOffice drop-down list

Remember to click Design Mode Click the button again to enter design mode so that new form elements can be added later.

D. Add option buttons (radio buttons) in LibreOffice

You may also need to add some radio buttons, called option buttons in LibreOffice. In the LibreOffice form control toolbar, press Option Button Icon, and then draw it to the position you want to place in the LibreOffice document. Add any number of option buttons: LibreOffice insert option button radio button

Double-click each option button, and then change its label to the text that appears next to each option button in the document. For Name with Group name Field, make sure to enter the same value for each option button in the same group: LibreOffice editing option button radio button group

This way, if you want to add multiple sets of option buttons, the option button group will not interfere with other such buttons.

E. Add a checkbox in LibreOffice

In the LibreOffice form control toolbar, click the check box button, and then draw it in the document by holding down the left mouse button: LibreOffice insert check box

If it is a check box, there is no need to create a separate label, because by default, a text label appears next to the check box.
Double-click the check box and enter the name and label: LibreOffice edit check box properties

The label you enter in this property window is displayed to the right of the document check box.

Export LibreOffice documents as PDF forms

Now that you have created a document with interactive fillable forms in LibreOffice Writer, it’s time to export it as a PDF form.
Choose from the LibreOffice menu File -> Export As -> Export as PDF... . make sure Create PDF form Enabled, and Submit format Set to PDF: Export PDF form option LibreOffice

If you cannot enable Create PDF form Checkbox, Archive PDF/A-1a The option may have been enabled, so disable the option, you should be able to enable Create PDF form Options.
When trying out PDF, make sure it is not read-only.
You should be able to use the default Gnome Document Viewer (Evince) or Okular (document viewer developed by KDE) on Linux, Adobe Acrobat Reader on Windows, Preview on Mac, or use online PDF to fill out PDF forms. On any operating system (for example, PDF escape .
This is a fillable PDF form that I created using LibreOffice Writer. I archived these forms using Evince (the gnome’s document viewer) and Okular (KDE’s document viewer)-screenshots taken in Ubuntu 18.10 and Kubuntu 18.04 Fill in the PDF form Linux Evince Fill in the PDF form Linux Okular

If you want to download the example used in these two screenshots (source ODT or exported PDF document), you can download it by clicking the following link:


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