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.

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