In this article, we’ll take a look at PDFelement 6 – the latest software to create fillable PDF forms on Windows and Mac systems. PDFelement 6 is the latest version to Create PDF Forms with.
You might be familiar with similar software such as Adobe Acrobat and Foxit Phantom PDF which are alternative PDF form creators. As PDFs are commonly used in today’s business world for receiving, creating, and editing forms – having a tool on hand like PDFelement 6 is going to be important.
Easily Create Fillable PDF Forms
Just about any document file on your computer can be turned into a fillable PDF form. In Microsoft Word style, the from file and combine file buttons in the top left let you grab doc files, open office .odf, png images and convert them into a PDF automatically. Even easier, you can just drag most files into the app for a quick conversion to PDF. Once you’ve scanned in your files, you can create and edit form fields by going over to the Form tab.
PDFelement 6 includes Auto Recognition for form fields that already exist on your documents but also includes tools to add in
- Text Fields
- Check Boxes
- Radio Buttons
- Combo Boxes
- List Boxes
- Push Buttons
- Digital Signatures
After setting your form fields up once, you can add the setup to your template library for further use on any other PDF forms you create in the future.
The best tool for getting PDF forms ready for editing is Form Field Recognition.
For a document that is structured nicely with tables, Form Field Recognition was able to immediately detect and create form fields in all expected spaces. It even has the capability to detect what kind of field it should be based on the field label. For instance, where it sees the word signature it will expect a Digital Signature form field rather than a basic text field. That’s definitely a time saver.
Export Form Data to Excel
Converting files to Microsoft Word, Excel, and other document formats is as easy as importing them. In the home ribbon bar, looking over to the To Word and To Other buttons gives you the option to convert your files to Microsoft formats automatically.
I would argue that the conversions work best in Microsoft Word. Other formats like Excel and HTML are currently functional and mostly get it right but I did run into a few minor issues. You can see the images below and compare
Converting Scan to Editable PDF with OCR Plugin
Forms get printed out all the time and it’s hard or impossible to make physical changes to them once you’ve permanently inked them in. If you have old documents that you wanted to digitize and edit, then this tool is invaluable. With files that you’ve scanned onto your computer, you run OCR on them and all form fields are picked up and made editable as if you had received a filled in digital form all along.
Once acquired, form data can be extracted to your data type of choice such as CSV or the previously mentioned excel. With this process, manual typing labor gets minimized and the speed of processing physical forms can go up dramatically in theory.
When I ran the OCR plugin in the current version, there were some flaws in it not converting the scanned information into the fields properly. That’s disappointing for me because I love the concept of the plugin. I reached out to their team on the PDFelement 6 forums here to inquire about more information. From the sounds of it, it was a bug and they’re dedicated to continuing the improve the conversion processes.
Take a look at this Tutorial from the PDFelement 6 YouTube channel for more details on how OCR is suppose to work.
Edit Documents like Microsoft Word
The UI in PDFelement 6 takes a clear inspiration from the latest versions of Microsoft Word. Many if not most office workers and students are going to be familiar with that software as the go to tools for creating text documents, table charts, and presentations. By keeping a theme that is consistent with modern design practices, there’s a low learning curve to taking PDFelement 6 and becoming able create PDF forms.
There’s a lot going for PDFelement 6 that I really like. The easy to use Microsoft Office like interface makes it quick to pick up and use the application. The ability of the tool to scan PDFs and detect form fields works solidly. Also, the conversion of a PDF document to Microsoft Word .docx works very well which should be one of the most common conversions. The tool can also handle the conversion of multiple filled in forms to CSV files that you can use the data in other areas such as programming and excel.
If there’s a point I hope that will be improved upon in the future it’s the conversion process to formats such as Excel, HTML, and detecting the filled fields on scanned documents with OCR. It could have just been my initial experience but I did run into some imperfect conversions there.
What I would recommend is that you try PDFelement 6 out for yourself at the time of reading this. The app is for the most part solid and I think that there’s a lot of potential use that any office dealing with forms could get out of this application. After reaching out to the their team on the forums, they informed me that they’re actively working on the kinks in those conversion processes so hopefully all features will be optimized in the near future.
This review was sponsored by PDFelement 6