Create an editable PDF business card design template in 7 steps with Adobe Acrobat

An editable business card template is one of the most common requests from design clients. But it can be a difficult one as many of them don’t have the ability or software to make edits to the design.

Most clients simply want to edit the name and contact info for the business card design, and not the design itself. One way to help them do this is to create the design in Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, save it as a PDF, and add editable text fields to the PDF form in Adobe Acrobat. This allows the client to edit the text in Adobe Reader.

While you always need to include the original and fully editable file to the handover on 99designs, this PDF is a great addition that could make things much easier for your client. Here’s a quick 7-step tutorial to help you create your editable PDF.

1. Create the design in Illustrator, Photoshop or InDesign

Business card dimensions
For the dimensions, I’m using the standard US business card size of 3.5 x 2 inches and I’ve added 1/8 inch bleeds to the document.

For this example, I’ve used Adobe Illustrator to create my business card template design. When creating a design, do your best to select a font that your client already has or is willing to purchase so that they will be able to modify the text.

Additionally, when converting you convert your design to a template, make sure to hide any text layers. You’ll be adding those as editable text fields in Adobe Acrobat later.

2. Save your design as a PDF file


Do this by clicking File > Save as > PDF > Save.

3. Open the file in Adobe Acrobat Pro and add text fields


Open your PDF file in Adobe Acrobat. To add text fields for the name and contact info on the business card template click: (1) Tools > (2) Forms > (3) Create > (4) From Existing Document > (5) Current Document (6) Continue.

Business card template
In this example, I’ll be adding 7 separate text fields to the business card template.

Continue by clicking Tasks > Add New Field > Text Field. Click and drag the text box cursor to create text boxes in the desired size. I’ve decided to create one text field per line of text rather than one big field for all of them, to help the CH easily place the relevant information.

4. Edit your Text Field Properties


To edit the size and fonts in your text fields, double-click on each text field and edit the text accordingly in the resulting Text Field Properties window.

In the text field labeled “Name,” I’ve set the font to Helvetica Bold, the text size to 16. For all the other text fields I’ve set the font size to 9. For each text field, I’ve checked the “Locked” box to prevent any changes to the text field being made accidentally.

5. Save it as an editable template


Next, you’ll be setting up the business card template as a PDF form so that your client can edit the text in Adobe Reader. Click File > Save as Other… > Reader Extended PDF > Enable More Tools (Includes form fill-in & save)… > Save as PDF.

6. Test your template and send it to your client


Next, open your PDF form in Adobe Reader, and test out your text fields by editing the contact info. Most clients will have the program, but if not, they can download it for free.

After you or your client edits the contact info in this PDF template, simply save it and send it to the printer. You can come back to this PDF document any time and change the text.

7. Prep for print

business card sheets
Some print shops prefer that designers to deliver the business card files as a sheet.

Most printers will accept a simple two page PDF file for the business card design. However, in order to print it they will usually line up the business card designs in a grid, print it double-sided and cut the sheet into separate business cards afterwards.

Some printing shops charge a set-up fee for this service, so if you want to be extra thorough, you can set up your template so that it’s 2 page PDF sheet of your with text fields in it. Just make sure that the front and back pages are lined up and that you’ve included a trim area.

Check out our new comprehensive guide to business card design in the designer resource centre.


Have any other tips for making editable PDF business card templates for clients? Share in the comments!

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