One of the best ways to create loyal customers, who purchase from you again and again and refer other people to you, is to exceed their expectations. Right now, the expectation in the course world is that participants will have access to some type of worksheet or workbook that they can download, print, and then fill in by hand.
Why you want to create a fillable pdf for your course participants
But what if your participants had access to worksheets or a workbook that they could instead type right into, then save to their computer and only print if they decided to?
This means that participants who don’t have a printer can fill out your worksheets. It means that participants could fill out your worksheets in the carpool line, on their phone. It also means that as they change and grow, they could go back in and change their answers.
The best part is you can provide this without a lot of work using just two free online tools. I’m going to show you how to do it today.
Step 1 – Customize your worksheet in Canva
Your very first step is to head over to Canva.com (affiliate link). You can do this with a completely free Canva account.
- You’re going to search for Worksheet. Find one that works for your purposes. You can get more specific, you could do a worksheet checklist , get as specific as you want, but find a template that works for you. I’m just gonna choose this goal worksheet.
- Hit Customize Template. First you need to change everything to your brand colors. One benefit to having Canva Pro is that this process will go a lot faster. Can you do it either way? Absolutely. But with Canva Pro, if I click on this. I can then come down to the bottom left and I’m not sure if you can see it because of my face or not. But it’ll let me hit Change All. Then everything in the worksheet that is the color I selected will all be changed to my new color. This can make things go a lot faster. Same thing with your fonts, you can simply click on your brand font. I can come down here and Change All . So that’s how quickly it can go if you have Canva Pro. If you don’t, that’s fine. You don’t have to have Canva pro to make this work, it will just take you a little bit longer.
- The next step is to customize this however you want. Change the actual words. Change the sections, duplicate it, make a second page, create a full workbook, whatever you need to do to get your worksheet just like you want it for your course.
Now up until this point, this is the same thing that all course creators are doing. They might use a different program than Canva, but they’re all doing the same thing. They’re creating a worksheet and then they’re going to save it as a PDF, which is what we’re going to do here.
Click on the share button up at the top right. Then download. Under file type, you’re going to choose PDF print. Choose download. You’re going to save this wherever you want to have it permanently. I’m just going to save it for now as example.
Step 2 – Upload your file to PDF Escape
The next step is to head over to another online tool called PDF escape. This is a completely free tool. You’re going to choose their free online option. Then you’re going to upload to PDF escape.
Choose your file and navigate to wherever you saved it. So I saved mine here as example. You’ll see your worksheets show up here.
Step 3 – Customize your file
You are now going to work your magic and turn it into an interactive fillable PDF that functions more like a form would function. Very first we are going to select this little tool over here that says form field.
The first one I’m going to teach you how to do is a text field. We’re going to choose select, and you’ll see what happens here is you get this little box floating around. And then you also see the cross or the plus sign there. You want to put your plus sign in the corner of where you want your field to start. Click and then drag and drop it until you’re at the opposite corner and then let go. That makes this entire little section fillable.
But there are a few extra steps you should take if you really want your form to function well. Choose Edit and then click on that little box. That makes this little wrench icon over here appear. Choose edit, click on that. We have a few options here. We want it to be visible and we’re going to choose multiline.
If you don’t choose the multiline here, what happens is your text is going to fill the entire area. So you’ll have this really, really tall, huge text that gets filled in because there’s only going to be one line. But now that we have created that and made it multiline people can type and hit enter and create more flexibility for how they fill out this form.
The date section here is okay if it’s just one line because it’s just this small little section, let’s say that in this Why section you only want to give them a certain number of choices. We’re going to click again on form field and we’re going to choose dropdown and select. And then we’re going to click into this area, like so. Then again, we’re going to click on the edit button up here. And then click on that Why section and choose the little wrench.
And we’re going to put in field options here. So choice one, choice two, choice three. So they’ll have to choose one of these as being the reason why. We can hit Okay.
So you can see that creates a little dropdown here. It also happened to move this. You can just move it back down. It’s real easy to just drag and drop that way. We can then choose from those different options.
You can also create check boxes. If I wanted the steps to take to have check boxes here, I could have changed the icon that I put in here. I could have come over here and done a box. That could have been my icon instead. You can do a circle, whatever you want, but then once you’re in here, you can choose your form field and choose a check box. Drop it in there.
And then if you want to edit it, choose edit, click on the box you want to edit and go to settings. You can change what shows up. So if I want a check to show up, I’m going to choose check. I can go to view and I can click this and see what that looks like as I’m checking it off or on. And I go see that it’s just going to cover up my little dot there. So if you want to have checks. I suggest you put a little box and then you keep this box inside of that box when you’re creating that.
Those are the three tools that I use most when creating a fillable interactive worksheet for my courses.
Step 4 – Save and Download the fillable pdf file
Once you have all the fields filled out like you want them on your entire worksheet or full workbook, you’re going to come over here to the left and choose download. So it’s this little purple download button.
You’re going to save this. I’m just going to save it as example fillable and then I’m going to open it up and show it to you.
I can come in here and put my date. I can type in, this is my wonderful goal because that was multiline so I could hit enter there. If I choose Why it’s going to show this. And I say, I want choice two. Now you can see how this shows up a lot bigger than this. That’s because this field is that big. If we edit this field, we could make it a smaller field.
So if you’re going to choose a drop down, make sure that in here you make your box smaller so that it lines up with what you want to do in PDF escape.
Bonus Step – Create a video showing them how to use the fillable pdf
Once somebody has filled this out how they want to – this is filled out. I checked my boxes. I’ve done whatever it is – if they want to save it, they are going to need to download it with their changes. So just make sure that you create a quick little video showing people that they need to download it with the changes. Otherwise, it’s going to just be, as it was when you gave it to them.