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Add and remove fields on a PDF

Add fields to your documents to determine where information will be filled in. In this article we’ll teach you how to add fields to your PDF, explain the different methods you can use to fill your PDF, and go over how to remove unnecessary fields.

We'll also focus more on filling in PDFs with an Anvil Workflow using our user interface. If you prefer to fill out your PDF programmatically, check out our tutorial on how to fill PDFs over API.

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Whether you’re creating a document template for the first time, or using the PDF editor within an Anvil Workflow, the process of adding and removing PDF fields is the same.

Add fields to a PDF

When you upload a fillable PDF to a new document template or Workflow, Anvil will automatically detect and create PDF fields for you. However, in the case that Anvil isn’t able to detect any fields, or you want to create additional fields, you can follow the steps below to draw additional fields.

To add a field to your PDF:

  1. Navigate to your document template or your Workflow editor
  2. Move your cursor to the location where you’d like to add a new field
  3. Click + hold with your mouse or trackpad
  4. Drag your cursor across the screen until you’ve created a field that is your desired size
  5. Release your mouse or trackpad

Additional resources

Fill PDF fields

After you’ve added your fields, you can choose how you want to fill your PDF. You can either choose to fill your documents programmatically over API or without any code using our user interface. Both methods include several different filling options, which we’ll discuss below.

Filling your PDF programmatically

Fill your documents over API with our PDF Fill, Etch e-sign, or Workflows APIs.

  • PDF Fill: This option is great if you just want to fill out your document template with existing data.
  • Etch e-sign: Standalone Etch e-signature packets allow you to fill in documents with existing data and collect signatures.
  • Workflows: Fill in documents with information you already have as well as collect new information from your users.

Fill your PDF with our no-code user interface

If you choose to go the no-code route, you can either fill your PDFs with a standalone Etch e-signature packet or an Anvil Workflow.

  • Etch e-signature packet: Fill documents with information before sending them out for signature.

    Fill PDF fields with information before sending out your Etch e-sign packet PDF fields on standalone Etch packets can be filled with literal values.

  • Anvil Workflows: Fill your documents with information you already have, or with newly collected information. PDF fields included in Workflows have several fill options Anvil Workflows support several PDF fill options.

    • From a connected Webform field: Fill PDF fields with information that has been entered into a Webform field.
    • With a literal value: Fill a field with a static string. We recommend this option if a field will always be filled with the same information.
    • From an Expression:* Unlock more granularity by choosing to fill a PDF field with a JavaScript expression. This option is commonly used to execute calculations with information entered in Webform fields.
    • Do not fill this field: If you want to reset a fields' fill settings, selecting this option allows you to easily disconnect your PDF field. It preserves the PDF field, allowing you to reconnect it at any time.

* Please note that expressions are an enterprise feature. Please see our pricing page for more information.

Additional resources

Remove fields from a PDF

Sometimes, you no longer no longer need a field. Removing fields from your document is easy and you can also remove multiple fields at once to quickly clean up your PDF fields.

To remove a field from a PDF:

  1. Navigate to your document template or your Workflow editor
  2. Select the field you wish to remove
  3. Click the x button at the top right corner of the field or hit the delete key on your keyboard

Notes:

  • If you made a mistake, you can always restore your fields by clicking the Undo button above the PDF preview. The undo button can be found in the top right corner above the PDF preview
  • To delete multiple fields at the same time, use the multi select tool to select all your fields before following steps 1-3 above. Be sure to use the delete keyboard shortcut instead of clicking the x button.
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