How to fill out PDF forms without printing

I would be faxing documents that I have to print out because they are in PDF format and I have to fill them out as is before faxing them. How on earth can I put the information back in the computer without having to recreate the whole thing again?

So, you’ve got a PDF document — a form or a contract — that you want to fill out before faxing it back. If the person who created the document took some care with it, then the form fields should be able to be filled out: when viewing the document in Acrobat Reader, you can simply click in a field and type your information. But if the form wasn’t created that way, it’s not so easy. If you have the full version of Acrobat, you can add fields to the document yourself. If not, the obvious alternative is to print the document and fill it out by hand. Although it’s inelegant, that may be the easiest way.

If you are willing to spend a few dollars on a solution, third-party software can come to the rescue. PDF Pen (for MacOS X, $49.95) and PDF Filler Pilot ($125, for Windows) are two programs that will let you add text to any PDF document, even if it wasn’t created as a fill-in form.

Once you’ve filled out the form on-screen, you can fax it using your fax modem or Internet faxing service without ever having printed it.

Do you have a question about faxing? Send us your fax question.