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Adobe fillable PDF not showing changes after being saved

Community Beginner ,
Apr 03, 2024 Apr 03, 2024

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I have an issue that looks like it has been discussed at length over the years without any clear resolution.

 

I work for a property developer. Our tenants will use Adobe Fill and Sign to edit a fillable PDF and save their changes. the tenants then send the completed PDF to the building manager.  the building manager receives the file and once opened with Adobe Acrobat STD the file is blank.  

 

  • If we view this file in the preview pane with Windows Explorer we can see the saved markups. 
  • If we open the PDF file in the EDGE browser the markups are shown. 
  • If we open with Adobe Acrobat Reader the markups are shown.
  • when opened with Adobe Acrobat STD or PRO the markups are not shown. 

 

My question is why does my overpriced license of Adobe Acrobat perform worse than free alternatives? 

I can reproduce this issue on any PC and I have ensured that the software and Windows patch level is completely up to date.

 

Any assistance would be appreciated,  Please no unhelpful comments (you know who you are).

 

thanks, 

 

Blake Chechak  

 

 

TOPICS
General troubleshooting , PDF , PDF forms

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Community Expert ,
Apr 03, 2024 Apr 03, 2024

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Your description is not consitent with the "Fill and Sign" (Adobe Sign) process.  It sounds like different methodologies have been mixed. 

Please explain in detail how this form was created and distributed to the tenents.  Be specific about the buttons (or menu items) that were pushed to make this happen.  

 

Thom Parker - Software Developer at PDFScripting
Use the Acrobat JavaScript Reference early and often

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 04, 2024 Apr 04, 2024

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Hi Thom, 

 

The PDF in question is a form provided by the Ontario government and is not created by us.  Maybe I misspoke when I classified it as an Adobe fill and sign document. 

 

Here is a link to the document in question: 

https://tribunalsontario.ca/documents/ltb/Notices%20of%20Termination%20&%20Instructions/N9.pdf

 

Making any edits to this document results in the STD and Pro versions of Adobe Acrobat being unable to see the changes. As mentioned previously other PDF readers can see these changes.  

 

This behavior is clearly a bug with how the Inputted data is stored in the PDF form and displayed by the PDF application. It's almost as if a layer of the document is not being shown. 

 

thanks, 

 

Blake 

 

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Community Expert ,
Apr 04, 2024 Apr 04, 2024

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So this is an XFA form. It cannot be filled by any method except opening in Acrobat Reader or Pro.  

Do you know how the tenents are filling it? 

If you want this form to be usabe it will need to be converted to a regular PDF form. 

 

 

Thom Parker - Software Developer at PDFScripting
Use the Acrobat JavaScript Reference early and often

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 04, 2024 Apr 04, 2024

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Hi Thom, 

 

Tenants would be filling this in with their personal phones or computers. likely the stock default PDF app which would be MSEdge on the Windows platform.  Currently, all tenants can fill in this form without issue. the problem stems from our internal staff being unable to view the file with our Acrobat STD licenses. 

 

I don't have high hopes that the Ontario government will change its PDF form due to a limitation in how Adobe Acrobat STD reads an XFA-based PDF.  The workaround for now is to open the file with any program except Adobe Acrobat STD. 

 

Thanks for your help, hopefully, this will get fixed in the future.  

 

regards, 

 

Blake Chechak 

 

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Community Expert ,
Apr 04, 2024 Apr 04, 2024

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You misunderstand.  Acrobat Standard, Reader, and Pro were designed to read and fill XFA forms.  They do it correctly.

All other PDF viewers and tools fill out these forms incorrectly.  Essentially corrupting the internal structure of the PDF form. 

It is the other tools that are the problem, not Acrobat. 

 

If this form had been filled out with one of the Acrobat variations, then you would see the data when it was opened in Acrobat Standard.  

 

The problem with the 3rd Party PDF viewers is that they don't recognize XFA and store the form data in the wrong place.

It's a pretty sad situation. The XFA specification was created by a Canadian company that Adobe bought many years ago. At that time Adobe though XFA was the future of forms and included the form designer in the Acrobat install. They convinced governments (US and Canada mainly) and big companies to adopt it.  But time proved that XFA was just a flash in the pan and PDF viewing has been overrun by horde of crappy 3rd party tools on mobile.  So, now most government forms are unusable by most people.  And of course once the bureaucracy decided on XFA, they were stuck. 

 

But I do have a solution for you.  Since this is a static XFA form it is a fairly simple task to convert it to a regular PDF. 

Which I've done and attached.  

  

 

Thom Parker - Software Developer at PDFScripting
Use the Acrobat JavaScript Reference early and often

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