Uncheck All Radio Buttons on a PDF Form

I’ve been banging away at this issue today and figured it would be useful to others out there.

I made a PDF form for my company’s web site using Adobe Acrobat 8. In a couple places I have a “radio” control — that’s where you can select one, and only one, option from multiple choices. If you tick one box, all the others in that set are turned off. When distributing the blank form, however, I want all of the options to be blank. No default — the user has to pick one.

Here’s the issue: In the course of making the form, I checked one of the options, and now I can’t turn it off to distribute the form. I hunted around and got a lot of useless “you should use a checkbox instead” answers. No, I don’t need a checkbox, I just need to un-fill this field.

So how do you blank the field? You add an extra radio button to the set. Flip over to Preview, click the extra box. Back to Edit mode, delete that button. Voila! Blank radio buttons.

You’re welcome. 😉

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40 Responses to Uncheck All Radio Buttons on a PDF Form

  1. Rhonda O says:

    You’re my hero, Stephen R.!!!!!!!
    Thank you!!!!

  2. Torunn says:

    Great tip!!

  3. Bill says:

    April 2018 and it’s amazing that there is no option to save a form from inDesign that has a blank form with radio buttons. People’s answers to a question should not have a pre-selected default! I wonder if Adobe had a reason not to do this.

    Thanks Stephen R, May 25, 2010

  4. Phil says:

    Complete obvious once you know it, and stunningly frustrating when you don’t. Thanks for the tip that is still valid after all these years! (in LibreOffice/Mac)

  5. LiAnne B. says:

    Oh my God, thank you so much, 2010 genius!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    It’s an interactive object

  7. Rob says:

    I have a similar question, I have various radio buttons and I like what’s been said above.

    The other type of radio button I have (they are all separate giving the option to select a number of options – that is, they are not mutually exclusive) won’t allow the user to “uncheck” them – does anyone know how this could be made possible? – I know the people I send the form to will happily click away before reading the instructions.


    Thank you, it works.

  9. Donnaxo says:

    AMAZING! Really needed this, thanks!

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