About fillable forms

Software for using fillable forms

To view and use fillable forms or to download blank forms for future use, you need:

If the form you are accessing includes a "PDF fillable/saveable" link, you will be able to save the completed form that contains your own data. If the form has only a "pdf" link, you will need additional software before you can fill in or save the form. For more information, see Saving fillable forms below.

Completing fillable forms

Along with the information provided here, you can access the online guides for Adobe Reader. Select "Help", then "Adobe Reader Help" in the Reader menu.

Moving within a form

  • Enter the appropriate data in each box or "field". By default, all fields where you can enter or select information are highlighted. Some fields are also outlined to indicate that they are required, that is, you must enter data or select a value for each of these fields.
  • To move from one field to the next, press the "Tab" key.
    • This helps ensure that you fill in all the required information and do not accidentally miss any fields.
  • You can also use the cursor to move from one field to another.
    • Place the cursor in the field you want to fill in, then click once with the left mouse button.

Changing entered data

  • To replace data you have already entered in a field, place the cursor within the field and click the left mouse button.
    • This "selects" the existing data, which you can then adjust or replace.
    • Click again to select a word in the field.
    • Click a third time to select all the data in the field.
  • To clear the data from all fields and start over, click on the "Restore" button, located near the top of the form.
    • A confirmation message may appear; click on "Yes" to confirm the action or on "No" to cancel it.

Multi-part forms

  • Some forms contain several parts or copies -- such as both an information slip and a summary -- that require the same data.
  • When the same information is required in more than one part or copy of a form, enter the information only once.
    • Enter the information in the first part of the form.
    • The system will automatically copy the same information wherever it is needed in the current form.

Check boxes

  • Some forms contain boxes to be "checked" or selected.
    • Place the cursor over the box you want to select.
    • When the cursor shape changes to a pointing hand, click the left mouse button. A checkmark appears in the box.
    • To deselect a box and remove the checkmark, left-click on the box again.

Multi-line fields

  • Some fields -- for example, the address field on some forms -- have room for more than one line of text.
    • To move to the next line within a field, press the "Enter" key.
    • When you have finished in the field, press the "Tab" key to move to the next field.

Forms that perform calculations

The VAC web site provides access to an increasing number of fillable forms that perform calculations.

These forms perform calculations based on the amounts you enter. For example, when you enter data in two fields that are to be added together, the form automatically calculates the total and inserts it in the appropriate third field.

You are responsible for the completeness and accuracy of any information submitted on fillable forms that perform calculations. Please double-check all the data you enter!

Fields with a limited number of characters

  • Some fields limit the maximum number of characters you can enter.
  • For example, a maximum of seven characters can be entered in the field intended for a Veteran file number; do not enter dashes or spaces.

Specific fields

Dates:

Unless otherwise specified on an individual form, all dates must be entered in the format yyyy-mm-dd (for example, "2011-02-03" means February 3, 2011).

Dollar amounts:

You must manually enter the decimal point in dollar amounts that include cents.

  • If you do not manually enter a decimal point, the system will automatically insert one after the final digit you enter.
  • Do not manually enter a $, the system will automatically insert one.

Phone numbers:

A standard area code and phone number should be entered; do not enter dashes or spaces.

  • For example, 8888888888.

Signatures:

A fillable form that requires a signature must be signed by hand after you have completed and printed the form.

  • The system will not let you enter any electronic data in the signature field.

Special links

When using a fillable form, you can click on these buttons as needed:

Help:

Access the help file you are reading right now.

Publications:

Some forms include a link to a corresponding publication (guide, form or other). This type of link is indicated by a blue box surrounding the publication's name, or by a solid line under the name:

  • Place the cursor anywhere in the area of the publication's name.
  • When the cursor shape changes to a pointing hand, click the left mouse button.

Instructions:

Displays instructions specific to that form (for example, the instructions on the back of a printed form).

Whether printed or electronic, not all VAC forms include these extra instructions.

Light bulb or information icons:

Some fields show a light bulb icon or information (lower-case letter "i") icon.

  • Click on the icon to view a special message or instructions about that field.

Restore:

Erase all data entered on a fillable form and start over.

Printing completed forms

  • Before printing, check the form's page size: some forms should be printed on legal-size paper (8 1/2" x 14").
    • If you wish to change the preset paper size, click the "Properties" button in the dialog box. In the second dialog box that opens, click the "Paper" tab and make a selection from the "Paper size" pick list. Click on "OK" to close the second dialog box.
  • Once you have completed a form on-screen and verified its page size, click on the "print" icon in the Reader toolbar.
    • The "Print" dialog box is displayed.
    • If you wish to change the preset paper size, click the "Properties" button in the print dialog box.
    • In the second dialog box that opens, click to select the "Paper" tab and make a selection from the "Paper size" pick list. Click on "OK" to close the second dialog box.

Submitting completed forms

  • After you have entered and verified the data on your fillable form, you should print it.
  • Manually sign the form (if applicable).
  • Before submitting your printed form, you should keep a copy for your records. You can make a photocopy or, if it is a "PDF fillable/saveable" form, save an electronic copy on your own computer (see Saving fillable forms below) .
  • Individual forms include instructions about where to send the completed paper copy.

Saving fillable forms

Downloading blank forms

Using the free Adobe Reader, version 9.1 or higher, you can download a blank fillable form for future use:

  • On the VAC Web page you are viewing, right-click on the hyperlinked file name, then select "Save Target As".
  • Save the form on the desktop (default choice) or browse to save it in the directory of your choice, then use the Reader to access it at your convenience.
    • To access the saved form, click on "File", then "Open" in the Reader menu.

Saving completed forms

If the form you have accessed includes a "PDF fillable/saveable" link, you can save an electronic copy of the completed form that contains your own data. To do so, select "File", then "Save as" from the Reader menu bar. You can save the file in the default directory, or browse and select a different directory.

If the form you have accessed includes only a normal "PDF" link, you will not be able to complete or save the form unless you have access to a copy of Adobe Acrobat Standard or Professional, version 9.1 or later.

Troubleshooting

Adobe Reader is required to view, complete, save or submit online forms via My VAC Account. You can download the software for free on the Adobe Web site.

If you have installed Adobe version 9.1 or higher, and are still having difficulty viewing, completing, saving or submitting on-line forms via My VAC Account, please review the following for help.

Recommended Internet Browsers:

  • Firefox
  • Google Chrome
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer
  • Safari

This is not intended to support mobile devices.

Each browser has its own settings to control how PDFs open from a web page. Additional information for Adobe Reader is also available on the Adobe Website. If you continue to have difficulties with our online forms, please contact us.

This information may not be applicable in all situations and is subject to change without notice.

Firefox (Mac)

To download the most up to date version of Firefox: http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox

  • At the top of the Firefox window, click on “Firefox” in the top left corner.
  • Select “Preferences”.
  • Find Portable Document Format (PDF) in the list and click on it to select it.
  • Click “Use Adobe Reader”.

Firefox (Windows)

To download the most up to date version of Firefox: http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox

  • At the top of the Firefox window, on the far left, click on “Firefox”.
  • Select “Add ons”.
  • In the Add ons screen, select “Plugins”.
  • Find “Adobe Acrobat” and choose “Always Activate”.

Google Chrome

In Chrome you want to disable the Chrome PDF plug-in to have the Adobe program open the PDFs.

To download the latest version of Google Chrome: https://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/browser

  • Go to the internet using your Chrome browser.
  • Type chrome://plugins in the browser address.
  • Look through the list and find the Chrome PDF viewer – and disable it. The Adobe Reader plug-in will automatically be enabled, if you have it installed.

Microsoft Internet Explorer

To download the latest version of Microsoft Internet Explorer: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/downloads/ie

  • Open Internet Explorer.
  • At the top of the screen, choose Tools> Manage Add-ons.
  • Under Add-on Types, select Toolbars and Extensions.
  • In the Show menu on the left, select “All add-ons”.
  • In the list of add-ons, select Adobe PDF Reader (Note: If you do not see the Adobe PDF Reader add-on, try the other menu options. For example, on some systems, the add-on appears when you select “Run Without Permission”).
    • Click “Enable” to allow the Adobe PDF Reader add-on to open PDFs in the browser.

Safari (Mac)

Make Acrobat or Reader the default viewer for PDFs

  • In Finder, select a PDF, and choose File > Get Info.
  • Click the arrow next to “Open With” to expose the product menu.
  • Choose either Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader from the application menu.
  • Click the “Change All” button.
  • When asked if you want to change all similar documents, click Continue.

To complete and submit forms within My VAC Account, the forms must open in your browser window. If this does not happen automatically, please follow these steps:

Using Windows?

  • Launch Adobe Reader (generally located in “programs”) from the Start menu.
  • Select “Edit” on the top menu.
  • Select “Preferences” at the bottom of the list.
  • Select “Internet” and look at the options. Place a checkmark next to “Display PDF in browser”.

Using a Mac (Apple) Computer?

  • Launch Adobe Reader from Finder.
  • Open preferences from the Adobe Reader menu.
  • Go to the “Internet” section, and look at the options. Place a checkmark next to “Display PDF in browser using:” and select Adobe Reader from the list.

If you try again and the form still does not open in your browser, or you continue to receive error messages, please return to the browser information. If you are having trouble accessing forms with one browser you can always try using another browser.

Text overflow indicators in fields (+ signs)

Newer forms are set up to stop accepting characters once the limit for a field is reached. A text overflow indicator may appear, however, on an older form with "comb fields" when it is either printed or viewed on screen.

Normally, the 'plus' sign indicates that text is flowing beyond the field boundaries. This is not the case with forms containing comb fields.

To remove the text overflow indicator in Adobe Reader 9.1 and above:

  • From the Reader menu, choose "Edit", then "Preferences" (Windows), or "Acrobat" , then "Preferences" (MAC OS).
  • In the "Preferences" dialog box, choose "Forms" from the "Categories" list.
  • Deselect the "Show text field overflow indicator" check box.
  • Click on "OK" to save the change and close the dialog box.
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