How To Convert PDF Form To Regular PDF

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How To Convert PDF Form To Regular PDF

Overview of Converting PDF Forms to Regular PDFs

PDF forms, also known as interactive or fillable PDFs, are documents that include fields where users can enter or select information. These forms are incredibly useful for applications, surveys, and any documentation requiring user input. However, sometimes you might need to convert these forms into regular, non-interactive PDF documents. This could be necessary for archiving, sharing a filled form in a non-editable format, or ensuring compatibility across various PDF viewers that may not support interactive features.

Benefits of Converting PDF Forms to Regular PDFs

  • Enhanced Security: Regular PDFs prevent further editing, which is crucial for preserving the content integrity after the form has been filled out.
  • Better Compatibility: Non-interactive PDFs are more widely viewable on devices and PDF readers that may not support form fields.
  • Reduced File Size: Interactive elements can increase file size; flattening the form often results in a smaller file that is easier to share and store.
  • Printing Ease: Regular PDFs can be simpler to print without issues that sometimes arise with form fields, such as fields not printing correctly.

Steps to Convert a PDF Form to a Regular PDF

Follow these steps to convert your interactive PDF form into a standard, non-editable PDF document:

Step 1: Save or Export the Filled Form (If Necessary)

If your form is already filled out and you want to preserve the entered data, ensure you save or export the completed form before flattening it. This step may vary depending on the software you’re using:

  • In Adobe Acrobat Reader DC or Acrobat Pro DC, go to ‘File’ > ‘Save As’ and choose your desired location.
  • In other PDF editors, look for a ‘Save’ or ‘Export’ option in the File menu.

Step 2: Open Your PDF Form in a PDF Editor

Launch the PDF editing software that you will use to convert the form. If you don’t have a dedicated editor, Adobe Acrobat Reader DC offers basic functionality for free:

  • Open Adobe Acrobat Reader DC or another PDF editor of your choice.
  • Navigate to ‘File’ > ‘Open’ and select your PDF form.

Step 3: Print the Form to a PDF

Use the ‘Print’ function within your PDF editor to create a non-editable copy of the form. This process is known as ‘printing to PDF’ and essentially flattens the form:

  • Go to ‘File’ > ‘Print’ or press Ctrl+P (Cmd+P on Mac).
  • In the printer options, choose ‘Adobe PDF’ or another virtual PDF printer installed on your computer.
  • Adjust any print settings if necessary, and click ‘Print’ or ‘OK’.
  • Name the new document and choose where you want to save it.

Step 4: Verify the Conversion

After creating the regular PDF, it’s important to check that all form fields have been flattened and that the document appears as expected:

  • Open the new regular PDF in your preferred viewer.
  • Review each page to ensure all data is visible and correctly formatted.
  • Try clicking on where the form fields were to confirm they are no longer interactive.

Optional Step: Use Online Tools

If you do not have access to a desktop PDF editor, you can use online tools to convert your fillable PDF form into a regular PDF. Websites like Smallpdf, ILovePDF, or Adobe’s own online services can perform this task:

  • Visit an online PDF conversion tool.
  • Upload your fillable PDF form.
  • Select an option similar to ‘Convert to PDF’, ‘Flatten’, or ‘Make Non-Editable’.
  • Download the converted file once the process is complete.

Note: Be cautious when using online tools with sensitive or private information, as uploading documents to third-party servers can pose security risks.

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