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Form field info not showing up, unless field is clicked?

Engaged ,
Nov 10, 2010

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Hello,

I have been receiving PDF files with form fields that contain text. In the past, all the text is visible and if more text is in the box than visible, you get the scroll bar.

The last document I received, the text doesn't show up, until I actually click the field biox. Once I click the field, the text and scroll bar appear, but once I click off it disappears again? We cannot figure out why?

Does anyone know how or why this happened and what the fix is?

Thanks!!

babs

Adobe Community Professional
Correct answer by George_Johnson | Adobe Community Professional

That works because it gets Acrobat to redraw the field appearance, which is the problem. Preview doesn't save the PDF correctly and field appearances can get corrupted. Importing the data back in causes Acrobat to redraw the field, partially correcting things.

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Form field info not showing up, unless field is clicked?

Engaged ,
Nov 10, 2010

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Hello,

I have been receiving PDF files with form fields that contain text. In the past, all the text is visible and if more text is in the box than visible, you get the scroll bar.

The last document I received, the text doesn't show up, until I actually click the field biox. Once I click the field, the text and scroll bar appear, but once I click off it disappears again? We cannot figure out why?

Does anyone know how or why this happened and what the fix is?

Thanks!!

babs

Adobe Community Professional
Correct answer by George_Johnson | Adobe Community Professional

That works because it gets Acrobat to redraw the field appearance, which is the problem. Preview doesn't save the PDF correctly and field appearances can get corrupted. Importing the data back in causes Acrobat to redraw the field, partially correcting things.

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Nov 10, 2010 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 10, 2010

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What likely happened is someone used Preview on a Mac to fill-in and save the form. Preview is very buggy with respect to PDF forms. A quick fix of sorts is to export the form data to a file and re-import it. You can achieve the same effect automatically with a script, but this does not repair all of the damage.

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Nov 10, 2010 2
Engaged ,
Nov 10, 2010

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hello,

Interesting....I will see if that is what they did!!!

I was able to fix the one I have for now, by actually going in and changing the font size in each field from 12 to 10? I don't know why that would work, but it did for this one.

But, I will tell the person who created it, not to use that preview as you mentioned and see if that does it for good 😉

Thanks!!

babs

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Nov 10, 2010 3
Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 10, 2010

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That works because it gets Acrobat to redraw the field appearance, which is the problem. Preview doesn't save the PDF correctly and field appearances can get corrupted. Importing the data back in causes Acrobat to redraw the field, partially correcting things.

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Nov 10, 2010 0
Engaged ,
Nov 10, 2010

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Hi George,

Makes perfect sense!!!

I also did your export and import of the data and it worked great!!!!

thanks so much!!!!

babs 😉

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Nov 10, 2010 1
New Here ,
Nov 10, 2010

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How do I stop getting tons of these forum/support e-mails. None is related to my

own question, and on the Adobe site, I have been unable to find where to stop

getting all of the e-mails.

Erin

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Nov 10, 2010 0
Explorer ,
Nov 04, 2019

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Hi George,

 

I am getting the same issue ..How do I export data  from the Acrobat Reader to a file? Can you please help me in the navigation.. I checked the menu but could not find that option.

 

And also from the Acrobat Pro DC do I need to do anything to restrict the end users not to fill in the preview mode using their MAC comupters?

 

Thanks in advance.

Regards,

Suneel

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Nov 04, 2019 0
Community Beginner ,
Nov 10, 2010

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Hi ibabs2

I am having the same problem.  Did you figure out what the problem was?  Do you think it is a setting on the creation end?  I have over 15 forms returned with no fields showing up.  Going in and changing the font is nearly out of the question for me.  What to do? glendaox

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Nov 10, 2010 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 10, 2010

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glendaox,

If your users are using Preview, it is most likely due to the problem we've been discussing. For an easier approach, you can use a script, such as the one discussed here: http://blogs.adobe.com/pdfdevjunkie/script_to_fix_mac_osx_previewa.html

That particular script is less than ideal as it doesn't deal with fields other than text fields, and doesn't use the best approach then. If anyone is interested in a better script, let me know and I'll make it available.

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Nov 10, 2010 0
Engaged ,
Nov 10, 2010

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hi glendaox,

George's solution using the export field data and the re-importing it only took a few seconds....It may be something at least for now?

babs

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Nov 10, 2010 0
Community Beginner ,
Nov 10, 2010

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Ok; I'll try that. Was hoping you may have come up with a better fix by now! I'm asking someone today to answer those questions for me. If she is using a MAC and if she is opening it in the preview mode, that might be my answer. I will need to give instructions to my audience NOT to complete the form in the preview mode.

Many thanks,

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Nov 10, 2010 0
Community Beginner ,
Nov 10, 2010

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Thanks, George,

I'm a basic script user and writer, so bear with me. I'm assuming I put this script in the print function when I create the form?

I've asked the person completing the form today to let me know if she is using a MAC and if so, if she is opening it in Preview mode. This has happened often, but I haven't had the time to investigate the problem. We fund research in the biomedical sciences so the application and reporting forms are all PDF files I set up for applicants to complete. I don't work on a MAC but a lot of the institutions solely use MACs. They complete a budget form so I guess the script would not work for that form. I really do need a better fix. If you can help with a better approach I'd sure appreciate it.

Glenda

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Nov 10, 2010 1
Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 10, 2010

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Just to clarify, it is the Preview application that causes the trouble. Using the term "preview mode" might be confusing. The users should use Adobe Reader to complete and save the form.

The script I mentioned is not one you include in the document, but rather you install it on your machine. It simply allows you to easily process any such forms you encounter by providing a custom menu item that you use. It has installation instructions. You can also create custom toolbar button in a similar way to make it even easier.

I do have to clean up a few details with my script, but I'll a link to it here within a day.

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Nov 10, 2010 0
Community Beginner ,
Nov 10, 2010

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I see, thanks for the clarification. I am incorporating an instruction for MAC users - which would have been incorrect. If they have only "Reader" on their MAC, can they complete the form and save it to their system? I thought they, like we non-MAC users, had to have Adobe Acrobat to save a file. (I need experience on a MAC, for sure). Will await the script, and thanks again.

Glenda

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Nov 10, 2010 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 10, 2010

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Reader normally cannot save a modified form, but it can if you've added usage rights to the document with Acrobat: Advanced > Extend Features in Adobe Reader. This is the preferred method. The script is just to make salvaging Preview-modified forms easier.

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Nov 10, 2010 0
Community Beginner ,
Nov 11, 2010

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Ok; so I will start adding usage rights to my forms and using the

script, which hopefully will help. I'll also add in the completion

instructions that the user should (preferably) complete and save the

form using Adobe Reader (;)opposite of what I've been saying) or Adobe

Acrobat Professional. And, if they open the form through the "Preview"

application there may be problems with their and our ability to view

and/or print the completed form.

On my end, with the script, I still should be able to see and print the

form.

Now, here is the message I received from one user which seems to add

more confusion:

"I have definitely found something weird....When the files are opened

using either "Preview" or "Adobe acrobat Professional" they are both

open and complete as seen on the screen, but when I try to print them,

the forms will only print when I open them with Preview. They are

completely blank (apart from the forms themselves) when opened with

Acrobat (despite me being able to see the completed form, which includes

everything that I typed into the form, on the screen)."

This is a huge problem with interactive forms...I don't understand why

Adobe hasn't fixed it.

Please keep any words of wisdom coming; I can't thank you enough.

Glenda

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Nov 11, 2010 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 11, 2010

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If you are free to email me a form, I can check it out to see if it's a problem with the PDF. My email address is in my profile.

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Nov 11, 2010 0
Community Beginner ,
Nov 15, 2010

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George,

Many thanks!

This is very helpful.  But does anyone know why Preview is able to open a fillable-form pdf and allow it to be filled in?  (When I try it in Preview, there are some limitations — e.g. you can't click on buttons or boxes, and it ignores fields defined as required.)

Is there anything you can lock on the pdf form to prevent Preview (or any other non Acrobat program - are there any?) from accessing these files and allowing a user to fill them in?

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Nov 15, 2010 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 15, 2010

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There are indeed other PDF viewers. Most do not support forms, but there are some that do a fairly good job. The best two are Foxit Reader and Nitro Pro/Reader. You may not want to exclude these.

You can use JavaScript to enable the fields when the form is opened in a JavaScript-capable PDF viewer. Another thing I've done is set up a button that displays a message telling the users that they have to use Reader (or the others mentioned above). The button gets hidden if viewed in a JavaScript-capable viewer. Otherwise it is shown and obscures the underlying form.

As to why Preview allows some form interactivity but ultimately botches things up, that's a good question for Apple. It's simply buggy. It would be better if it didn't pretend to work with forms until things are fixed.

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Nov 15, 2010 0
New Here ,
Nov 23, 2010

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If you're using Acrobat Pro, turn off Output Preview.

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Nov 23, 2010 0
Community Beginner ,
Nov 23, 2010

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Yes, I am using Pro, thanks for the tip. I'll try it.

Glenda

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Nov 23, 2010 0
Community Beginner ,
Nov 24, 2010

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George,

I really appreciate your help and expertise.  I am starting to understand this.

The Javascript option seems like it might be the best one for us.  I have written some Javascript, but have trouble getting my mind around how it works with something like this.  Would you have any examples you would be willing to share?

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Nov 24, 2010 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 24, 2010

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blampyre,

I've mentioned more than one script here. What are you looking for, exactly?

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Nov 24, 2010 0
New Here ,
Aug 13, 2020

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That "solution" doesn't work for me either. Adobe Reader is the problem. It is opening PDFs as blank when the same pdf can be opened in Chrome or other applications completely populated. Clicking on the cells where there should be text doesn't reveal anything. This seems to be a new development in Adobe Reader; I haven't had the issue before today.

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Aug 13, 2020 0
New Here ,
Sep 01, 2020

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Yup, we've just started to see issues with our PDF forms not showing content when filled in by a client and then emailed to us. They have worked fine for years. The form has about 30 fields for text input. Clients complete the PDF form fields with plain text, but now only some fields show entered their text, and other fields appear empty until you click on them, and then text appears. This happens even where the text inputted is short (well within the form field size showing) and does not need to be scrolled down in the form to see. This is impossible to work with for us, as it's the same when you print the PDF form, so we don't have all the content from our clients to work with. Can anyone please offer any help as these PDF forms are a critical element in our training business now, having to work remotely due to Covid? Thank you.

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Sep 01, 2020 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Sep 02, 2020

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Ask your client how (in what application) they're viewing the file, with full-window screenshots, if possible.

My guess is it's either Apple Preview or inside a browser, ie. not using Adobe software, and hence the issues.

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Sep 02, 2020 0
New Here ,
Sep 02, 2020

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Ah, ok, thanks @try67, so viewing and inputting from non-adobe software could be the issue. I'll see if I can find out more from the client. Many thanks!

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Sep 02, 2020 0
New Here ,
Sep 09, 2020

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Has anyone truly solved this issue?  I'm only using Adobe to open/read my fillable file.  When I open it, all fields are blank.  As I click on each field, the data shows up for a short period of time.  It all dissapears.  If I open the same doc with Chrome, all filed in fields are clear/filled in and visable.  Using a MacBook Air.  This was fine at one time, I could fill in the data and everthing remained visable.  

 

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Sep 09, 2020 0