Form Fields Showing and Printing Duplicate (Ghosted, Doubled)

New Here ,
Jan 22, 2019 Jan 22, 2019

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Someone at our organization created a PDF with fillable form to send out. Some of them come back normal, but some come back showing the text entered in the fields duplicated or ghosted. I checked the original and there are no duplicated fields.

On my own computer, they look normal in Acrobat Reader, but when I print them all of the fields text is doubled, impossible to read.

The user can manually delete the text if they highlight and click delete.

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PDF forms, Windows

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Most Valuable Participant , Jan 22, 2019 Jan 22, 2019
That's a clear indication that it was indeed filled in using something like Apple Preview (which is known to corrupt PDF forms in this way), Microsoft Reader, or something similar, like a browser PDF plugin...

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New Here ,
Jan 22, 2019 Jan 22, 2019

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A new discovery. When I click on the field to fill it, I can see the duplicate text pop up.

After I change or delete the content of the field, the duplicate text does not change. It disappears when I click outside of the field, but when I print the PDF it shows both the text I entered in the field and the old duplicated text.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Jan 22, 2019 Jan 22, 2019

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You do have multiple overlapping fields, then.

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New Here ,
Jan 22, 2019 Jan 22, 2019

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Nope. If I delete the field entirely, the duplicate text disappears. Wish I could upload the form to prove it, but the document contains sensitive data and there is no way to delete it without deleting the entire field.

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New Here ,
Jan 22, 2019 Jan 22, 2019

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Another weird thing I just discovered: if I delete the field, then restore it with Undo (ctrl+z), then type in new text, the problem disappears for that field only.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 22, 2019 Jan 22, 2019

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See if you can find out what software they used to fill-in and save the form. My guess is it's not Adobe Reader or Acrobat.

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New Here ,
Jan 22, 2019 Jan 22, 2019

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I'm starting to think this is the problem. I'll try to find out but it's difficult. The form is sent out to thousands of people and just randomly come back like this.

The people filling out the forms know nothing about computers, they are not employees, and probably have no idea which program they used to fill it. I'm expecting 100% of them to say "I have no idea, just opened it and sent it back filled out."

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 22, 2019 Jan 22, 2019

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You might be able to tell by seeing what Acrobat shows in the following when you open one of the problematic forms:

File > Properties > Description (tab) > Advanced > PDF Producer

See if it's different than the original blank form.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 22, 2019 Jan 22, 2019

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Also, if you have Acrobat, you can try exporting the form data to a data file (FDF) and importing it into a blank form.

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New Here ,
Jan 22, 2019 Jan 22, 2019

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I tried this and the form data indeed imports back into the blank form without any duplicates.

I'll pass this along as a workaround for the users for now.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Jan 22, 2019 Jan 22, 2019

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That's a clear indication that it was indeed filled in using something like Apple Preview (which is known to corrupt PDF forms in this way), Microsoft Reader, or something similar, like a browser PDF plugin...

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New Here ,
Jan 22, 2019 Jan 22, 2019

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Yep, that seems to be the issue. Thanks for your help guys!

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