How to Turn a Paper Form to a Webform in Under 5 Minutes

Go from paper to fully functioning webform in just five minutes with Adobe & Morf!


Forms and document modernization is a topic that is as old as the creation of digital mediums. Nonetheless, it remains a relevant challenge for many organizations.

Part of the challenges involves dealing with legacy formats. Formats such as Word and PDF documents can offer an excellent starting point for document modernization but those source documents may not always be available.

Scanning documents to PDFs with Adobe Scan

Regardless of our starting point, Adobe offers tools to deal with these challenges. Starting with Adobe Scan, we can take paper-based documents and forms and digitize them by scanning and saving them as PDF documents. This allows us to use a mobile device to quickly create a PDF document from a simple printed form.

Using page recognition features, Adobe Scan has no issue digitizing documents and cropping pages automatically. By saving those PDF documents to the Adobe Cloud, they can be used across other applications such as Adobe Acrobat.

PDF Optical Character Recognition (OCR) with Adobe Acrobat

As you may already know, not all PDFs are created equal. Scanned PDF documents normally do not contain any information other than the image used to create them. By using Acrobat’s OCR features, we can extract the text present within the document to augment the information available within the document. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Open a scanned PDF document using Adobe Acrobat
  2. Use the Scan & OCR tool available from the right-hand toolbar. Use the More Tools option if the Scan & OCR tool is not visible.
  3. Use the Recognize Text option of the tool to perform text recognition and augment the current document with a text layer.
  4. Save the resulting document

PDF Form Creation with Adobe Acrobat

Next, we want to transform our PDF into a PDF Form. Once again Acrobat can help us achieve this by using the Prepare Form tool. By enabling field recognition, Acrobat uses the power of machine learning and AI to detect fields within the current document and is even smart enough to automatically apply field labels. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Open a scanned PDF document using Adobe Acrobat
  2. Use the Prepare Form tool available from the right-hand toolbar. Use the More Tools option if the Prepare Form tool is not visible.
  3. Select whether or not this document requires signatures. Enabling the option will allow Adobe Acrobat to place Acrobat Sign text tags within the document where signatures are detected which would allow signatures to be captured electronically
  4. Ensure that the Form field auto-detection option is ON
  5. Click that Start button to perform recognition
  6. Review the detected fields and use Acrobat to edit any of the fields that need adjustments
  7. Save the resulting document. You now have a simple static PDF form!

Convert PDF Form to a Web Form

With a PDF form handy, we can then take it a step further by using the machine conversion powers of Morf to convert this PDF form into an embeddable and mobile responsive web form!

  1. Start by heading over to the Morf Editor
  2. Request access if you have not already done so and configure your site and API key within the editor
  3. Use the Convert > From PDF option from the top navigation bar
  4. Upload a static PDF Form document using the prompt option
  5. Click the Morf it! button and wait for the editor to reveal a mobile-ready web form containing all of the fields and panels detected within your PDF form
  6. You may now explore Morf’s submission option to process form submissions electronically
  7. Note that your PDF form remains an important asset that allows you to generate documents of record and agreements for electronic signatures. You can now use it within your submission processes as well.

Within a few minutes, we were able to take a paper-based form and convert it to a web-ready experience that can be used to power any of your digital workflows. 

To find out more about what we can do to help streamline your modernization process, reach out to our team for a free consultation.

Reach out to us if you have any questions, would like to see a demo, or prefer speaking to an expert.
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Guillaume Clément
Chief Technology Officer
A technology professional with over 10 years of experience as an analyst, lead developer, and architect specializing in large scales enterprise technology implementations

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