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Fill PDF text with a box per letter

On many standard forms, you have fields where there is a box for each character. Often this happens with social security numbers, as you can see here on a standard I-9 form.

If you were to draw a box across the entire Social Security Number field, the number would be overlayed and left aligned. This would look pretty messy. Not to worry, Anvil has a special box type called Text: Boxes Per Letter to help you format information so that it fits neatly and legibly onto the form.

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How to navigate to the Workflow editor


Select a PDF field for the first character.

Select or draw a box into the area where the first character should be printed.


Change the field type to ‘Text: boxes per letter’.

Box per letter 1


Select ‘Add another box’.

Click on the blue Add another box button at the bottom of the right side PDF field editor panel.

Box per letter 2


Select the next PDF field.

Click on an existing PDF field to add it to the group, or draw a new PDF field.

Tip: you can draw boxes from top right to bottom left. This might be easier if you have a lot of boxes right next to each other.

Box per letter 3



Repeat steps 4-5 until you have added all the necessary boxes.


You can map/connect any webform field type to a Text: boxes per letter PDF field, except for image and file uploads. Any characters beyond the number of boxes will be ignored.

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