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Adobe forms fields disappear

Community Beginner ,
Mar 26, 2024 Mar 26, 2024

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Hello, I'm using Adobe Acrobat DC for business and I've created a form that works fine when it is first opened. The user is able to fill in all form fields. But then when it is sent back to me, most of those form fields are missing. It can be very frustrating - I can see the filled form fields in the preview, but when opening the document they are gone. How do I get this corrected? I've attached some photos.

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Community Expert ,
Mar 26, 2024 Mar 26, 2024

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How did the user fill the form? Did they use Acrobat Reader, or fill it in a browser?

 

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

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 26, 2024 Mar 26, 2024

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Thank you. The same program, Adobe Acrobat DC. We all carry the same version of Adobe. I've attached the original unfilled document. This happens all of the time with this doc, would love to get to the bottom of it.

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 26, 2024 Mar 26, 2024

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In this case I have to take a screenshot of the preview and use that so I don't have to fill in the whole form from scratch again.

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Community Expert ,
Mar 26, 2024 Mar 26, 2024

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There is nothing obviously wrong with the PDF.  Can you post a filled form that has the missing fields. That would be more helpful to look at. 

 

The most common issue with fields that are filled but don't show data is that the field appearance was not generated when the field value changed. This is an artifact of 3rd party PDF viewers that ignore the PDF spec and generate the appearance dynamically. Which is why you would see the field value in the preview. 

A manual fix is to open the field properties and change something like the border color. This forces Acrobat to generate the appearance using the current value. 

 

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

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 26, 2024 Mar 26, 2024

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Thanks I'll test out what you mentioned above. Here is the filled out form he sent me. When I just opened it again now, it opened correctly with all fields showing again.

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Community Expert ,
Mar 26, 2024 Mar 26, 2024

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So I found a problem with the form. I don't know if it's "The Problem", but it's a big one.  In the fields that are not showing there is an extra "Parent" entry in the Form Field dictionary.  The entry points to a non-used object.  The parent entry is for fields that have more then one widget, i.e., more then one instance of the field on the form. It's as if the field was copied, then the copy was deleted, but the internal structure of the field object was not updated properly.  Over editing a form can cause Acrobat to choke and not build out the internal structures correctly. There's probably somthing else wrong burried in there.  Anyway, the fields seem pretty messed up. I was able to improve things by saving as optimized, but this didn't really fix the issue.

 

I would suggest deleting and recreating all the dissappearing fields. 

 

 

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

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 27, 2024 Mar 27, 2024

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Hi Thom, thank you for looking into this for me. I will give that a shot, thank you so much!

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Community Expert ,
Mar 27, 2024 Mar 27, 2024

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You've fallen victim to the phantom field bug.

Open the "Prepare form" tools pane, click in the "More" menu and choose "Prepare form for e-signing", and then do the opposite by choosing "Revert to Acrobat form" at the same place.

It's magical!

 

Capture_2403271913.png

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Community Expert ,
Mar 27, 2024 Mar 27, 2024

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Excellent work around JR (I hesitate to call this a hack, but you know, if it looks like a duck)!!

Forcing Acrobat to rebuild the field structure!! 

 

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

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 27, 2024 Mar 27, 2024

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Hi JR, thank you! I don't see the option, though, to "Revert to Acrobat Form" after preparing form for e-signing. In the more menu, I have "remove e-signing options", would that be the same thing?

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Community Expert ,
Mar 27, 2024 Mar 27, 2024

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Try it and see what happens.

 

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

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