Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Use Foxit Reader To Quickly And Easily Fill In Mail-In-Rebates

All you bargain hunters out there know how much of a pain filling out mail in rebates can be, especially if like me you've got sloppy handwriting. Well there is a great free tool called Foxit Reader that is is just what you need.

Foxit Reader is a small and fast PDF viewer similar to Adobe Acrobat Reader. The one major option that Foxit adds is a Typewriter tool that allows you to add text to any PDF file, taking some of the pain out of filling out those PDF forms.

Now here is the catch, the Typewriter tool is actually part of the Pro version that you must pay for. So what you are using is a preview feature, if you try to save the PDF it adds an overlay comment saying created with Foxit. This really doesn't affect us since we are only looking to print out our copies of the PDFs so we aren't actually going to save anything.

Getting started:
  1. Click here and download the free version of Foxit Reader
  2. Run the setup and install the program. You can either choose to make Foxit your default PDF viewer or stick with Acrobat Reader. Make sure to un-check the boxes for any additional items since we won't need them
  3. If you don't want to use Foxit as your default viewer make sure you don't install the Firefox plugin and don't bother with the toolbar (like me need more of those)
The installation should have been rather painless. If you choose not to make Foxit your default PDF viewer then opening PDFs with the program will take a few extra steps. If you did decide to set it up as default then you are ready to fill in those rebates.

Filling in rebates and other PDF forms:
  1. Open the PDF file in Foxit
  2. If you saved the PDF click Tools, then Typewriter Tools and select the Typewriter Tool. If you are opening the PDF from within your browser scroll over the icons toward the end of the tool bar until you find the Typewriter Tool (it should be the fourth from the end)
  3. Once you are using the Typewriter Tool scroll down the rebate to whatever section you need to fill in. Click just above the line you need to fill out and begin typing, if you are filling in boxes it will take some practice to get the text aligned correctly.
  4. Once you have the form filled out click on the hand tool. There is no real reason for this other than if you leave the Typewriter tool active on a line it won't print. Once you are ready click to print. On the bottom of the preview page you'll see a sroll box that says "Print What". Make sure that is set to print document and annotations. Double check the preview to make sure all of the sections show before printing.
  5. If everything looks good print your copies, if not go back and redo whatever needs to be done.

I usually print one test page first just to make sure everything comes out ok. Once I've verified everything looks good I print my second copy, remember you should always make copies of everything you send when sending in MIRs.

A couple of tips for getting things right:

  • I usually save the PDFs to my desktop and fill them in later. From within Firefox you won't be able to change the Typewriter font size or color, something that will need to be done for some rebates.
  • If you are filling in rebates or forms with boxes for each letter it takes a little practice to get your text aligned right. I didn't have any problems with straight lines but those little boxes are a pain in the butt.
  • Always double check the details. I've never had any issues with my Mail-In-Rebates but there are people that do. Make sure you don't have any typos on your name address or anything else.
I just recently found out about Foxit but I've got to say this thing is a life saver. I can't tell you how many rebates I've filled in by hand over the years and this little tool saves me some time and effort. Not only is it quick and easy it is free!


  1. Thanks much for great tutorial! A life-saver. I had to fill out a health form and email it. I was I'm found. :-)

  2. Honestly its all on Foxit for making such a great product. I can't tell you how much time I've saved using the typewriter tool and filling in those none editable PDFs


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