I have a PDF-file which on page 2 looks as shown below. When I open it in Preview or Adobe Acrobat Reader DC (on a Mac), I don't get a chance to input text between the lines. It looks as if the PDF contained a bitmap.

What I would like to do is use this PDF file as a template and fill in names and addresses from a text file (or database). Essentially I would like to place one line of variable text (for the name) below the header "Name:" and three lines of variable text (for the address) below the header "Adresse:". The x/y offsets of these lines would not change, only the supplied information would per line in the textfile (or row in the database). Essentially I would like to produce as many PDF files from the template as there are lines in the textfile (or rows in the database).

Is it possible to script this in a reasonably simple way with (free) PDF tools or, say, Gimp (or among licensed tools, Word) on OS X, and if so, where can I find a good tutorial to get started?

enter image description here

UPDATE I will try this:

  1. export page 2 of PDF to JPEG with Gimp
  2. set JPEG as watermark in new Word document
  3. add border-less table with cells at suitable x/y offsets for variable text
  4. print pages 2 as serial letter with Word document as template
  5. combine variable pages 2 with constant surrounding pages (from PDF) after printout

... or perhaps reverse engineer page 2 in Word :-)

2 Answers 2


You can make this PDF interactive by using Adobes' tools. It will detect and create interactive form fields. Check this explanation: https://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/how-to/convert-word-excel-paper-pdf-forms.html


Short answer: Not that I am aware of.

Longer answer: The tool Reader has for typing into a PDF is the Typewriter tool or the Text comment tool.

A workaround would be to recreate the form in OpenOffice, which does have a form editing module, and then export to PDF. Then you could use Adobe (Acrobat) Reader as tool to fill, if you would be using FDF to transfer the data.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.