How to create a fillable form in Excel.

Learn how to create fillable forms in Excel and share them easily as PDFs.

User-fillable forms can make gathering data, participant lists, or other information from people quick and easy — but finding the right tools to make them can be challenging. If you have Microsoft Excel, though, you already have what’s needed because this popular spreadsheet program can also create forms. Read on to learn how to make a fillable form in Excel.

Enable developer tools.

When you make a form in Excel, it uses the program’s developer tools. These options may be hidden by default. If you don’t see them in Excel’s top menu ribbon, follow these steps to activate developer options:

  1. Select File > Options.
  2. Select Customize Ribbon.
  3. Select All Tabs in the left drop-down menu.
  4. Select Developer and click Add.
  5. Click the tickbox on the Developer option if it’s not selected.

Make an Excel form.

With the developer tools activated, you can create your form. Follow these steps:

  1. Select the Developer tab in the top menu.
  2. Under Control, select Insert and choose the form element you need.
  3. Place the element on the spreadsheet.
  4. Right-click the element and select Format Controls to change its settings.

Most Excel form elements read information from spreadsheet cells. You should hide those cells when you start formatting your document.

Setting the options can be a bit complicated, but with some practice, you’ll get the hang of it. You can also use one of Excel’s many form templates to speed up the process.

Share your form.

You should protect your form before sharing it so others can’t change it. Select Review > Protect Sheet to set your protection options. You can then share the form — but the recipients will need Excel to fill it out.

It’s a good idea to convert your Excel form into a PDF. People can then easily open and fill it on any device and even add digital signatures.