Downloaded a form in PDF format but have no idea what to do with it other than print it and fill out the printed copy? That’s so 1980. Here’s how you can use PDFElement 6 on your Mac to fill out — and even sign — any PDF document in minutes.
Whether you’re a college student, work at a big corporation or are self-employed, filling out paperwork is a fact of life. We’ve all tried to squeeze information into little boxes with a pen and had to keep reminding ourselves to be legible as we proceeded, just to make a mistake and have to start over. Super frustrating!
Modern forms are all available in PDF format, however, so why do people keep printing them, filling out the printout, and scanning that back in to send? Because it’s hard to fill out forms online, right?
Actually, no, it’s not. Modern PDF management tools like Wondershare’s slick PDFelement 6 make it a breeze, so easy that you’ll be mad at yourself for all the time — and paper! — you wasted with the print -> fill out -> scan cycle you’ve been using.
Wondershare is also running a contest for college students, professors and full-time college employees where you submit a published review of their PDFelements program and are entered for a chance to win a $1000 scholarship or a new MacBook Pro. You can learn more here: PDFelement Scholarship Challenge.
Back to our tutorial, however. Let’s check out the various features and capabilities of PDFelement for Mac by filling out a form that I’ve had to send to people way too often: An IRS W-9 document. Easily downloaded from the IRS Web site, it’s the kind of form that looks daunting but is quite easy to fill in. To start, simply launch PDFelement Mac:
Easiest way to proceed is to click on the “Open File…” button on the left side and select the IRS document. It’s instantly opened and displayed thusly:
Look very closely at the above image and you’ll see a grey bar along the top of the document that says “This document contains interactive form fields.” That’s great and means that the PDF is designed to be an interactive form. It’s going to be [mostly] easy to fill out in the program!
In fact, all of the light blue areas are input fields, so it’s straightforward to click and type, filling in most everything. Here I am filling in the beginning of the address area:
Notice that there’s a subtle box surrounding the field I’m entering and that “Murkwood” has been given a red underscore to indicate it’s not known in the spelling dictionary. If it’s spelled correctly, you can ignore the red line because it’ll vanish once you click out of that field. Otherwise, fix the spelling as you would any other input.
Where things get a bit more tricky is when you get down to the signature area on this W-9, because neither the signature or date are fields you can enter directly (no blue background). Or are they?
Let’s tackle the date first as it’s easier. On the top bar, click on “Comment”, then off the “… More” option, choose “Text Comment” from the resultant pop-up box. You can see that below:
Once you’ve chosen Text Comment, simply click in the field area you want to add the text – in this case the date – and start typing. Here’s a close-up of what that’ll look like:
The dotted box shows what you’re entering and vanishes once you click out of that area. Drag it to be in exactly the right spot, edit it as needed, and you can enter text even when there’s no input field. Easy!
The signature itself is a bit more complicated, but here’s where PDFelement shines over the built-in Mac Preview program: In Preview you have to super awkwardly hold up a signature sample to the computer’s camera and hope it works. In PDFelement 6, you can actually create and edit a photo, then use that as your signature! I signed a clean, white piece of paper, took a photo of it, then used a graphics program to set the background to be transparent. Save as a GIF (which supports transparent backgrounds) and here’s the result:
Martin Brenner (a fictional character, in case you haven’t figured it out) you now have a signature. Congratulations. But how to turn that digital file into a signature within PDFelement for Mac? It’s on the same little pop-up “More” menu in the Comment area:
This time, instead of choosing Text Comment, choose Signature and since you don’t have anything yet, you’ll see this:
You can guess what to do next: click on the “+” on the top right of this area of the screen.
Now you’ll see all the different ways you can add a signature to your PDFelement setup:
Since I already have a signature sample I’ve saved – with the transparent background, which is important – I am going to choose “Create from Image“. Personally, I think it’s the easiest of the options…
If your signature sample is against a white background rather than grey, you don’t have a transparent background. If it’s like the above, great, use the drag handles to make the smallest possible bounding box that contains every stroke and edge of your signature. Then click “Done”.
Now you have a signature ready to go!
To use it is simple: click on the signature, then click in the document to indicate where you want it placed.
Most likely, it’ll be the wrong size. Don’t panic!
Clearly Martin hasn’t worked with the IRS before because they’re going to kick back this crazy signature form! No worries, though. Click on the signature and you’ll get a sizing box and “handles” so you can move and size it to be exactly what you want. Like this:
Click out of that field and the box and tiny squares all vanish. And it looks fantastic:
Perfect, exactly like having printed out, signed, and scanned in the document, but oh, so much easier. All thanks to the slick and quite powerful PDFelement for Mac. Not only can it make filling in forms a breeze, but it’s quite capable of letting you edit PDF documents, even those you didn’t create in the first place. That can be quite handy, particularly if you find typos and mistakes in official forms and want to fix them before you sign it.
You can learn more about PDFelement 6 for Mac by going to the aptly named URL pdf.wondershare.com.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. My opinions and assessment of the benefit of this program is my own, however.