Add text to PDF forms with ‘Formulate’


Every now and then you probably need to download and fill out a form in PDF format. If the form was set up correctly, it’s easy to just fill it out digitally, using Adobe Reader. However, not all forms are done this way, and sometimes you have to print out the PDF, fill in the form by hand, and then either fax or snail mail the document.

That is, that is what you had to do before Formulate. Formulate is a freeware application that allows you to overlay text on to an existing PDF document. It’s currently in version 0.0.0, has no app icon, and the interface is a bit clunky… but it works.

Make sure to download the practice form from the developer’s site, as it has the instructions on how to use Formulate.

tip: Although Formulate has a “Save” menu item for after you’ve filled in your form, it doesn’t appear to work. But luckily there is a work-around. After you’ve filled in the form, hit Print, and then use the Save as PDF button in the print dialogue box.

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2 thoughts on “Add text to PDF forms with ‘Formulate’”

  1. Hi, I would just like to clarify that when you save a .pdf, the original document is unmodified, but a .plist file (which contains all the text you add) is created along-side the .pdf. This way you can open the .pdf up in Formulate later on and continue work (for example, to correct a typo).

    Like the article says, a final .pdf can be created by printing to a .pdf file.

  2. Thanks for clearing that up Andrew.

    It’s odd… When I first tried Formulate, I tried to save the the sample PDF, and I got an error saying I couldn’t save it. I had assumed that feature was just broken. After reading your comment I tried it again, and this time it worked… the .plist file you spoke of was generated. I wonder what happened the first time around.

    Oh, and nice app by the way. Even though it’s a little unpolished, it will come in very handy.

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