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Keep fillable forms after updating PDF in Illustrator

New Here ,
Feb 21, 2020 Feb 21, 2020

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I used to be able to do minor updates to a PDF that had fillable forms in Illustrator and save it. When opening the PDF back up in Acrobat it would still have the Fillable form fields it had to begin with. Now when I do this the Form Fields are not kept when saving out of Illustrator. Not sure if an update did something? Any suggestions?

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Edit and convert PDFs , General troubleshooting , PDF forms

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Explorer , Feb 21, 2020 Feb 21, 2020

I create fillable forms starting in Word, rather than Illustrator, but I think the same method should work.

  1. I have a fillable form where I need to update the content.
  2. Make the edits in Word (or in your case Illustrator) and save as a pdf.
  3. Open the form pdf in Acrobat Pro, go to Tools > Organize Pages and select the page(s) I need to update.
  4. Click on "Replace" and replace that page with the pdf I just updated.
  5. Once the page is replaced, click out of tools and your form fields should be still there, wi
...

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Explorer ,
Feb 21, 2020 Feb 21, 2020

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I create fillable forms starting in Word, rather than Illustrator, but I think the same method should work.

  1. I have a fillable form where I need to update the content.
  2. Make the edits in Word (or in your case Illustrator) and save as a pdf.
  3. Open the form pdf in Acrobat Pro, go to Tools > Organize Pages and select the page(s) I need to update.
  4. Click on "Replace" and replace that page with the pdf I just updated.
  5. Once the page is replaced, click out of tools and your form fields should be still there, with the underlying page all updated.
  6. You may have to go to "Prepare Form" to reorganize, resize, move your form fields, etc. but it's a lot less work than trying to make big changes in Tools > Edit PDF.

I know this isn't what you are asking, exactly. It'd be nice to keep everything in Illustrator, but I hope this gives you an alternative if you can't get Illustrator to behave nicely.

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New Here ,
Jun 16, 2023 Jun 16, 2023

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Yes! I used to be able to do this too! It's so frustrating that I can't just open the pdf in illustrator, edit it, save it, and the fillable form aspects remin. I hope it can get it fixed

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Community Expert ,
Jun 17, 2023 Jun 17, 2023

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Illustrator is not a PDF editor!

You should watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esJgTBa9Sfk

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 30, 2023 Oct 30, 2023

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Its not about Illustrator being a PDF editor. It has been possible to open a PDF that contained an embeded form field that was created in Adobe Acrobat Pro, change the art in Illustrator and save it out without losing the form fields. This has held true for at least 15+ years. Our company has work flows that were created based on this fact. Up until the 27.5 Illustrator update this was possible and we have not update Illustrator from 27.4 because of this fact.

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Community Expert ,
Oct 31, 2023 Oct 31, 2023

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This process is not recommended, as Illustrator screws up PDF files.
The best practice is to create and modify the layout with Illustrator (or similar) and export it as a PDF.
Then, each time you make a change, open the form in Acrobat Pro and use "Replace page" to import the new PDF. This only replaces the layout, all other elements (fields, metadata, etc.) remain intact.

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 31, 2023 Oct 31, 2023

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Sorry, but when time is critical in a production setting such a workflow as you described is not feasible. What you 

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Community Expert ,
Nov 01, 2023 Nov 01, 2023

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"Replace page" takes about 1 to 2 seconds, for the rest it makes no difference.

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Community Beginner ,
Nov 01, 2023 Nov 01, 2023

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Except when you have scripting involved or other aspects you are not taking into account. Yes, hitting a replace button takes 1 to 2 seconds, but the rest of the process takes alot longer. 

 

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Community Expert ,
Nov 02, 2023 Nov 02, 2023

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I quote myself:

 

"... use "Replace page" to import the new PDF. This only replaces the layout, all other elements (fields, metadata, etc.) remain intact."

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