How to Print and Fill in PDF Forms

Government agencies, banks, healthcare, and other companies offer printable PDF versions of common forms on their Websites. These easy downloads save the tedium of long phone calls and trips to an office simply to pick up some paper. An added benefit: Many digital forms are fillable PDFs--meaning that you can complete the forms by typing information directly into a document field.

In the steps below, we will tell you how to find, download, and fill out PDF forms. We'll use a commonly sought category as an example: United States IRS tax forms.

Finding and Downloading IRS Forms

Visit the Forms and Publications section of IRS.gov. You can search for forms by name using the search box, or you can browse for them by category. Upon locating the form you need, you have two options.

--First, you can save the form to your PC by right-clicking the form number link and selecting Save Link As... or Save Target As... from the context menu.

--Alternatively, you can view the form immediately by left-clicking the form-number link; your browser is likely configured to open the form in a new tab or window within seconds of your clicking the link.

Tips for Filling Out Forms

Whether you save a PDF to fill in later or open it immediately in your browser, keep in mind the following information:

1. Both the IRS and the State Department advise you to use Adobe Reader to view and complete their PDF forms. Reader is available for download.

2. Some fillable PDFs allow you save the information that you enter into them for your own records; you'll see a message like this at the top of the form if you have this option.

3. Other fillable PDFs do not allow you to save the information that you enter into them. You'll need to print a copy of your filled-in form to have a record. You'll see a message like this at the top of these types of fillable PDFs.

3. The fields into which you are permitted to enter information in fillable PDFs are highlighted so you know where your input is needed. To turn highlighting on and off, look for the Highlight Fields button at the top of the form.

4. If you open your form in a new window or tab of your Web browser, be careful not to use your browser's Save or Print commands; instead, use the Save and Print icons at the top of the form itself to print a clean copy of the final document.

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