What PDF Form Elements Can Do for You

27 / 1 / 2020


How to have the Perfect Valentines for any Individual

Learn More

How does a PDF Compressor Work?

Learn More

How to use MS Word to create a survey

Learn More

A PDF becomes a form when the author of the document puts something that makes the file interactive to their readers. Those things are called form elements or form fields and they come in different formats and sizes. These elements allow users to interact with the document as they input their answers directly on it. They can be defined by the controls that vary in the text input, checkbox, radio button, list box, and button.

These form fields can be elaborated and defined as follows:


The most common type of form element is the checkbox. It allows users to check and tick all applicable answers they want, which allows multiple answers to be selected. It can usually be found on forms with choices and boxes ☐ beside it that can be checked or unchecked with just a click of a mouse.

checkbox form field


The text box is where content and text is encoded into. It is sometimes called text box, text field or text entry box. It allows receivers of the form to enter their desired text on the box. It comes in two different sizes: a single-line text box for short entries like names or numbers and the multi-line text box which was meant for messages and long addresses. Though sizes differ, these two can still be found in a rectangle shape with a border that makes a distinct separation from the contents of the form.   


Also known as a combo box, list box, drop-down menu, drop menu, pull-down list or picklist. It allows receivers to choose one answer from the list provided in the form. An unanswered drop list shows an inactive single display, which usually is a blank. Once the drop list is activated, it will show the various options provided by the writer which is displayed in a list – hence the term “drop-down list.” Readers who select an answer will find that the form will now display the new answer on the default inactive view.

Radio Button

The term “radio button” was named after old radios where buttons were pushed in to select options. A radio button is a simpler form of the checkbox. The difference between the two can be observed in the shape and its function. A radio button, as the name suggests, is a circle in shape and can only allow one option to be selected. Usually, when creators use this for forms, it is expected that there will be a possibility that no answer will be selected from the receiver.


Submit button

A submit button isn’t available for PDFs but is often available from online forms created from websites and codes. The purpose of a submit button is to provide an easy accessible way to instantly send the repost to the creator. It is usually found at the end of the form.

Password input

This special feature is usually provided for those forms with limited access. Creators add an open password to the form to avoid unwanted viewers. A special encryption tool is used to add this text input at the very beginning. Once this is added, a password will be required before viewing the contents of the form.

Read also: How to Add Checkboxes and Textboxes

Why is it important to add form fields?

First and foremost, providing form fields helps users gather data quickly and efficiently. With answers minimized to a summary of choices and minimal text input, data will be easier to organize and compare. For readers, this quick way will be easier to answer. Have you noticed that when readers are given surveys with checkbox or list choices, people tend to give in 80% of the time to answer the survey than those surveys that need written answers? That’s because form fields give readers suggestive answers and don’t require them to provide so much effort. In a bigger picture, form fields also give companies to interact and give their customers a chance to give suggestions and feedbacks. Knowing your customers is actually considered gold if you can find a way to use it and capture more market.  

writing answers

Would PDF forms give you accurate data?

Since form fields allow fast and easy ways to provide answers from your audience, they become the preferred way to collect data but the question always remains, is it accurate and safe? This quick reporting method can give us default answers and can give a summed up direct to the point result. This method can also provide guidance to those fickle-minded individuals or those who simply don’t know how to answer. 

In terms of security, of course, the possibility of human error can still be witnessed however, higher security can be applied to the document once turned into PDF format. There are two ways from which the PDF can be secured – one, PDF forms allow password protection and two, data integrity can be preserved through the conversion of PDF into flat PDF forms. This means the converter removes the form’s ability to be interactive, hence editing capabilities are limited so the document can be kept safe.  editing capabilities.

How to add form fields using DeftPDF

You know it! Here at DeftPDF we always give ways for you to easily add elements into your PDF. So here's how you can add those checkboxes, radio buttons and text fields on your PDF. Watch this short video tutorial to learn how: 



Want to get updates and subscribe to our blog? Get weekly e-notifications by creating a free account with us:  DeftPDF online