How to Create Fillable PDF Worksheets
Worksheets and workbooks are a pretty standard part of any online course. With more and more people going paperless, it is important to give people an easy way to take notes and complete homework without either having to print things out or have expensive software that allows pdf editing.
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Create Your Document
If you are making your own worksheets and workbooks, it’s important to use whatever tool you are most familiar with. This will reduce your frustration around having to learn a new tool, since putting together your documents is plenty of work on it’s own!
All of the tools listed allow you to print to or export as PDF.
Note: unless you are using Adobe Acrobat, I’d recommend designing & creating your document first (including spaces for the form fields) before you actually make it fillable.
Simple Worksheets - Google Docs/Microsoft Word
If your worksheet is simple and needs a lot of whitespace for notes/homework then you might want to stick with a word processor. If you’ve come from the corporate world that will probably be Microsoft Word, but if you don’t have access to the MS Suite in your business then I would recommend setting up a Google (GSuite) account* and using Google Docs instead. It’s the cost of 1 expensive latte a month, and if you use my partner link you can take an extra 20% off the first year subscription!
Note: yes, you can set up a free Google account (the ones that come with a @gmail.com email) but a basic account is something you can use for your entire business. Want to see how? I break it down here.
If your worksheet is heavily designed with a lot of visual elements then a word processor will be more frustrating than anything. Better to use something that lets you drag and drop text and images to where you need them.
Again, if you’re a Microsoft user that’s probably going to be PowerPoint, but if you’re using G Suite* I highly recommend Google Slides! One of the big benefits of these tools is that you can use or create templates for different page configurations to use again and again.
Note: If you want your documents to be portrait (instead of the default landscape) you can go to page settings and change the orientation and size.
If you’ve been using Canva for all of your graphics and are comfortable with the platform, you can also use it to create your worksheets and workbooks - just pick the portrait letter-size template and start designing!
Note: Canva has a limit of 30 pages per document, so keep this in mind if you’re creating a large workbook. Also keep in mind that the bigger your file gets, the more laggy Canva will start to get, especially if you’ve added a lot of high res images.
Make Your Document Fillable
Again, if you’ve come from the corporate world you might be familiar with Adobe Acrobat, but if you aren’t familiar or don’t want to shell out $$$ there are free solutions that you can use until you are raking in the dough from your online course - then you can just outsource that shit!
Once upon a time I had an Acrobat subscription, but as soon as I discovered PDFescape I cancelled it. Now, that was back in 2013 and I’m fairly confident that the PDFescape editor hasn’t been updated since then (or even since the 90s?). Despite that, it’s still the best option if you’re looking for a free tool - just don’t be scared off by the dated user interface!
You don’t need to create an account to use it, but if you do create a free account your documents will be saved for a week (up to a max of 10 files) if you need to tweak them later.
Upload documents up to 10MB or 100 pages
Add form fields of the following type: text, paragraph, checkbox, and more
Add hyperlinks to any text or images (if they didn’t carry through in your original document)
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