No, you don't need to download Adobe Acrobat Pro to use fillable PDFs

No, you don't need to download Adobe Acrobat Pro to use fillable PDFs

We recently received a great question from a prospective customer interested in EasyGenie's fillable genealogy PDFs that genealogists can type into and print out - no handwriting required! An example is shown above. Here's what the person had to say: 

"Your website says to use the free Adobe Acrobat Reader for completing the charts. I haven't used your fillable charts yet, but when I try to use fillable forms from other sources, Adobe insists that I purchase their service for a monthly fee. ... If I were to purchase your forms, am I likely to have the same problem?" 

Fortunately, the answer is "no." Fillable PDFs do not require any expensive Adobe subscriptions to use. All you need is the FREE Adobe PDF Reader application. It doesn't matter if the fillable PDF was designed by EasyGenie or another entity, such as the passport office or the department of motor vehicles. You can open up the fillable PDF in the free Adobe Acrobat Reader and start typing. Print it out, or save a copy to your hard drive.

What we believe this person encountered is a common scenario for consumer software. You may have experienced it yourself using TurboTax, Google, and other "free" applications. These companies often try to trick people into paying for a more powerful or advanced version, even when customers just want to use the free service. Colorful buttons, "Recommended" labels, and giant checkmarks distract users from noticing the free options, which we've highlighted with the green arrow below:

Adobe Acrobat pro not required for fillable PDFs

To reiterate: All you need for EasyGenie fillable PDFs is the free version of Adobe Acrobat (also known as Adobe PDF Reader) available for free download on this page.

Ignore the "Buy Now" or "Try Acrobat Pro" buttons. Adobe Acrobat Pro is for professional users who need to modify PDF designs or add special features, such as watermarks and fillable fields. You do not need the "Pro" version to type into a fillable PDF.  

One other note about Adobe: We strongly recommend Windows and Mac owners avoid Adobe's offer to store genealogy PDFs in the Adobe Cloud, even if it's free. We have heard of people having problems finding the files on Adobe's cloud storage platform. We also suspect Adobe will some day force users to pay for a subscription to access these files in the future.

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