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

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

An editable business card template is one of the most common requests small business clients make to designers. But it can be a difficult one as many don’t have the ability or software to make edits to the design. If you’re a small business in this position, work through these 7 steps once you have the design available in the right format, or show them to your designer to get the result you want.

The main features you’d want to change in your template are the name and contact info for the business card design, and not the design itself. So ask your designer to create the file in Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, save it as a PDF, and add editable text fields to the PDF form in Adobe Acrobat. This allows you to edit the text in Adobe Reader. Here’s a quick 7-step tutorial to ensure your PDF is editable.

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. Ensure your designer has selected a font you’ve already purchased, or you’re willing to, so that you can modify the text on the editable file.

Additionally, when converting the 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. If you don’t already have the program, download it for free.

After you or your designer 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.

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Author: Rebecca Crager