Fillable PDF forms - Sending & making non-editable

Community Beginner ,
Apr 26, 2019 Apr 26, 2019

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Hi there!

I have someone who I created fillable PDFs for. She wants to take them, have her engineers fill them out, and save them to be sent to her clients later on. The PDFs will be filled on iPads via the Adobe Acrobat Reader app.

My question: is there a way to make these PDFs non-editable after the engineer fills them out so that clients can't alter the information later?

Thanks!

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Macintosh, PDF forms, Windows

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correct answers 1 Correct Answer

Community Beginner , Apr 29, 2019 Apr 29, 2019
Sandee Cohenmaxwysstry67​ Thank you all again for the help. Here is the solution I've come up with:- Engineer enables "Share a Flattened Copy" option in Preferences on Adobe Reader iOS app (How to share a flattened copy of a PDF document)- Engineer fills out PDF on iPad using Adobe Reader app and Shares via emailThat way, the PDF becomes flattened (fillable fields removed) and the client cannot edit the information on their end.

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Mentor ,
Apr 28, 2019 Apr 28, 2019

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I'm probably making this more complicated than I should, but this is what I would do.

Add those form fields to the document. Then add a form field button set to export PDF data. (I can show you how to do this later, if you need it.)

Set the button to export to

"mailto:your_name@domain.com"

Make the button obvious with a label.

Then save the document as Reader Extended.

What will happen is the engineers can fill out the PDF, but they will only be able to send you the form data. I don't know how to keep them from sending the data more than once, though.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Apr 28, 2019 Apr 28, 2019

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You can set the Submit button to hide itself once the data has been submitted, to prevent it from being used more than once.

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Mentor ,
Apr 28, 2019 Apr 28, 2019

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But the button will reappear if they close and then reopen the document

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Apr 28, 2019 Apr 28, 2019

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Why would it? Only if they reverted to an earlier copy of the file, which can't be prevented.

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Mentor ,
Apr 28, 2019 Apr 28, 2019

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I don't know "why" but I can tell you that it "does".

I did the following:

I created form fields and a button that exported the form data and then hid the button.

I filled out the form. I clicked the button to send out the FDF data. The data went away. The button was hidden. I then saved the file. And closed it.

I then reopened the document. The button was visible.

Bottom line: The visibility status of a form field is not set as part of a save.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Apr 28, 2019 Apr 28, 2019

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It is, or at least should be. Can you send me the file you created?

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Mentor ,
Apr 28, 2019 Apr 28, 2019

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To what address should I send the document?

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Apr 28, 2019 Apr 28, 2019

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To [try6767 at gmail.com], or you can upload it to the Adobe Document Cloud (or Google Drive, or Dropbox, etc.) and post a link to it here.

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Mentor ,
Apr 28, 2019 Apr 28, 2019

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Actually we’re both right.

I was wrong. Visibility of a form is saved as part of a file.

But remember, the situation is for people who are filling out the forms in Reader and wouldn’t be able to save. So every time the file is opened/closed the button would show up again.

I’ll post this momentarily

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Mentor ,
Apr 28, 2019 Apr 28, 2019

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OK, I was wrong, but I was also right.

The visibility of the button is saved with the file. But the engineers would be filling out the forms in Reader. And would not be able to save it on the iPad. So every time the engineer closed the document, the button would appear later.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Apr 28, 2019 Apr 28, 2019

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Reader is certainly capable of saving a filled-in file. Earlier versions require the Reader Rights enabled, but later versions do not and can do so by default.

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 28, 2019 Apr 28, 2019

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try67​ Thank you both for your input.

While I do think the Submit button sending the filled out form to a particular email address is a good solution, I don't think she (my client) will be into it. I'm speculating of course, but I think because she will have multiple engineers filling out the forms and sending it to her, it will cause her a lot of stress. I realize that is on her, but I want to make sure I'm covering the bases here.

So I guess reiterating the question: is there a way to have the PDF filled out by an engineer on an iPad (likely via the Adobe Reader app), saved/emailed, and sent in a way that it cannot be altered by the end-user? If not, that's okay. I just want to be able to go back to my client and give her a better response since I'm not Adobe expert.

Thanks again!

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Advocate ,
Apr 28, 2019 Apr 28, 2019

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This would be possible, but most likely be beyond "Acrobat Reader" for iOS' capabilities. You (your client) would have to get a better PDF viewer on the engineers' iPads (PDFExpert by Readdle is considered to be the leader of the pack).

The implementation would be to have a JavaScript setting the fields to be protected to readonly, when the saving or sending button is tapped (before the actual saving or sending, of course).

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 28, 2019 Apr 28, 2019

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Thank for the recommendation. Do you have any personal experience with PDF Expert? Since the fillable forms are already created with Adobe Acrobat, can the engineers simply fill out the fields, save the PDF and send it without further edits being made?

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Advocate ,
Apr 29, 2019 Apr 29, 2019

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Just to make it clear. You will not need PDFExpert to create the forms; you will create (and maintain) the forms with Acrobat.

Only the engineers filling the forms on the iPads will need PDFExpert. (well, you may need a copy too, for testing purposes).

I personally do not have a working iPad, but a business partner of mine tests everything I create on his iPad using PDFExpert.

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New Here ,
Apr 01, 2021 Apr 01, 2021

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Good Morning, we have the same problem! Do you find a solutions to fill and close document on Ipad, in order that the final user that receive it cannot modify it?

Many thanks, Cinzia

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 28, 2019 Apr 28, 2019

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Also, how would I have the button disappear? I tried Googling and couldn't find a good way. Assuming this would be accomplished through use of JavaScript.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Apr 29, 2019 Apr 29, 2019

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You can use the show/hide field command. It can also be done using a script, of course.

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 29, 2019 Apr 29, 2019

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Sandee Cohenmaxwysstry67​ Thank you all again for the help. Here is the solution I've come up with:

- Engineer enables "Share a Flattened Copy" option in Preferences on Adobe Reader iOS app (How to share a flattened copy of a PDF document)

- Engineer fills out PDF on iPad using Adobe Reader app and Shares via email

That way, the PDF becomes flattened (fillable fields removed) and the client cannot edit the information on their end.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Apr 29, 2019 Apr 29, 2019

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Anyone with Acrobat would be able to edit this file.

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