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Pdf form field data disappearing?

Community Beginner ,
Jul 29, 2014

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I am a designer creating fillable field form pdfs (service agreements, questionnaires) for a client (event services management) to send to their customers to fill out, in some cases sign digitally, and email back.  In most cases, the fields the customers typed information in is blank in the returned form pdf.

Customers have been using Adobe Acrobat, Apple Preview, and presumably other pdf software.  We have started to insist they only use Acrobat, but even in those cases the data fields are coming back blank.

I have read of instances where formatting fields within the form for font and font size can cause problems.  Is that really the case?

I do optimize the pdfs when saving to be compatible as far back as Acrobat 4.

Any assistance is greatly appreciated!!!

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Pdf form field data disappearing?

Community Beginner ,
Jul 29, 2014

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I am a designer creating fillable field form pdfs (service agreements, questionnaires) for a client (event services management) to send to their customers to fill out, in some cases sign digitally, and email back.  In most cases, the fields the customers typed information in is blank in the returned form pdf.

Customers have been using Adobe Acrobat, Apple Preview, and presumably other pdf software.  We have started to insist they only use Acrobat, but even in those cases the data fields are coming back blank.

I have read of instances where formatting fields within the form for font and font size can cause problems.  Is that really the case?

I do optimize the pdfs when saving to be compatible as far back as Acrobat 4.

Any assistance is greatly appreciated!!!

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Macintosh, PDF forms

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 29, 2014

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This is almost always due to people using Preview, which causes all sort of damage to a PDF, particularly if it's a form. Often when people insist Preview wasn't involved, further investigation reveals that it was. It's possible it can happen in Adobe Reader or Acrobat, but I've been able to get my hands on a document that's confirmed it. I'd be interested in looking a document where Acrobat/Reader is implicated. If you don't want to post one somewhere, you can email me at: acroscript at gmail dot com

Microsoft Reader causes it own unique types of corruption to PDF forms, so it should be avoided as well.

Regarding fonts, the problem may appear to be fixed by somehow altering the fonts in the fields, but this is really due to Acrobat regenerating the correct field appearance, which is triggered by the change in the field properties.

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New Here ,
Aug 12, 2014

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George is right, but there is another issue that I've kept coming up against within the Adobe Reader app for iOS.  I created a form with 20px square boxes for entering numbers (16pt), but after I entered the numbers in the form when testing, the numbers disappeared again and only reappeared if I clicked back in the box.  I tried decreasing the font setting to 12pt, but that didn't work.  It turned out that the problem was the stroke that I had around the box for some reason. Once I removed the stroke the problem was eliminated.

Maybe not the same issue you were having, but might help someone else!

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Aug 12, 2014

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At some point you opened the file in Apple's Preview, which corrupted it.

You can use this tool to fix it:

http://blog.practicalpdf.com/2013/08/introducing-the-practicalpdf-fix-form-utility/

On Tue, Aug 12, 2014 at 8:24 PM, REDSKYSTUDIO <forums_noreply@adobe.com>

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New Here ,
Aug 13, 2014

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If I receive the file via email on my iPhone, is there a way to avoid opening it in Preview before I 'Share' it with the Adobe Reader app? Even if there is a way, I couldn't expect all of my recipients to know the same trick.

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New Here ,
Aug 13, 2014

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I just tried sending the form to my phone via Dropbox, which avoids using Preview (but does have to open in Dropbox's own PDF reader) and it does the same thing.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Aug 13, 2014

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If you opened the file in Preview in the past, then it's already corrupt.

Also, what is "Dropbox's own PDF reader"? I never heard of such a thing... It's probably a plugin in your browser, which could be Preview as well (depending on the browser).

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New Here ,
Aug 13, 2014

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This was the original file from my computer which hasn't been opened in Preview at any point.  Dropbox uses some sort of PDF reader to view PDFs. I had to open up the PDF before I could share it to my Adobe Reader app.

So, now I've worked out how to transfer the original, uncorrupted, PDF file to Adobe Reader on my iPhone by connecting my phone to iTunes on my computer.  And the ultimate proof is that the problem still occurs and therefore I believe this is a glitch with the Adobe Reader app specifically (it doesn't happen with my desktop Adobe Reader) which means form boxes with strokes applied don't always work.

You're welcome to try this for yourself - here's the original uncorrupted file.  Although I've saved this one into Dropbox so that I can share, I haven't opened it in Dropbox:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/kutwzrrlfo4dpyg/Example%20page.pdf.zip

I've just removed the stroke and it works fine, even after opening in Preview first. This doesn't matter because the Adobe Reader app highlights all the fields by default anyway, so the stroke isn't needed in this case.

Thanks

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Aug 13, 2014

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The file works just fine for me.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Aug 13, 2014

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One thing to keep in mind, though, is that if the file is being used in Reader prior to version XI then you have to apply a special right to it for it to be savable with the filled-in data.

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New Here ,
Aug 13, 2014

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It's very odd. I have to say that in previous versions I was working on it was working fine for me too, but my client was having this issue (also using iPhone). Now it's also happening for me too. There must be some sort of glitch somewhere. But all I can say is that removing the stroke resolved the issue.

Thanks for the tip about being savable in older versions - do you have a link to a page that explains this in more detail?

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Aug 13, 2014

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Explains what, exactly? How to do it? It's simple. In Acrobat XI you save

the file via File - Save As Other - Reader-Extended PDF - Enable More Tools.

On Wed, Aug 13, 2014 at 12:27 PM, REDSKYSTUDIO <forums_noreply@adobe.com>

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New Here ,
Aug 13, 2014

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Sorry, I misundersttod you. Actually, this form is ONLY intended to be used on Smartphone or tablet using the Adobe Reader App. That is where I'm having an issue with disappearing data. It has nothing to do with the desktop version of Adobe Reader which works just fine.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 13, 2014

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Adobe Reader for iOS has somewhat limited support for PDF forms, especially if custom scripting is used. So I'm not surprised to hear of glitches like this. Have you tried the form with PDF Expert?

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New Here ,
Aug 13, 2014

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Hi George - I haven't tried with PDF Expert because I can't expect the recipients to pay for an App to use the form. It does work, but I just wanted to highlight the issue for other people because it took me ages to get to the bottom of it! Thanks.

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 13, 2014

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Thank you all for your replies!

I believe I found the answer to my particular problem - I was merely saving the document as a PDF, when in fact it needs to be saved in Adobe Reader in this fashion:

File>Save As Other>Reader Extended PDF>Enable More Tools (includes form fill-in % save)...

Now that I save the forms this way, I've not had any more problems.

I really hope this helps others!!!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 13, 2014

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The "save as other > Extended Reader Rights" is only available with Acrobat Standard or Professional the free Reader cannot perform this task.

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 13, 2014

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I cannot speak to this, as I do only use Acrobat Reader Pro.  And not to nitpick, but the dialogue dropdown doesn't mention anything about "rights".  Though that may very well be implied.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 13, 2014

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Reader is free and only comes as one version. There is no "Professional' version of Reader.

Acrobat come in a Standard and a Professional versions.

Unless you are using Reader XI there is no way for reader to save form data on a "standard" form. Adobe has provided Acrobat and the LiveCycle server with a special feature that can add additional code to the PDF that will allow Reader to save a form with form data. But that special code needs to be applied by Acrobat or the LiveCycle server and saved before the form is sent to others.

Responders need to be very clear and exact when responding to post so as not to confuse others that are less experienced.

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Explorer ,
May 29, 2018

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Was there ever a hard solution found to this problem?

I am creating the forms in Acrobat Pro DC (doing a normal save), and when tested (opened in a standard version of Reader, filled forms, saved, re-opened then printed) everything worked fine. All of my field techs use iPhones/iPads to fill out and return the forms. When I preview them in my GSuite inbox, everything looks fine (and will print fine). However, once I download it and open it in Acrobat Pro DC (which is my default for pdfs), the large text box on the page appears blank, until I click on it then all the data appears.

If there is a solid "fix" to this, please let me know.

Thanks.

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New Here ,
Sep 08, 2020

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Please help.  I have been taking roll on a PDF I created.  I never opened it with anything other than Adobe Acrobat.  Adobe Acrobat crashed, and now when I open this week's attendance roll sheet, all the data I input into it using the form-filler has been erased.  Can someone help me recover it?  I searched my downloads, and the file is there, but it also is empty.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Sep 09, 2020

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Did you ever save it with the data you filled in? If so, it should still be there. If you didn't then it's most likely gone.

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New Here ,
Sep 12, 2020

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I clicked on save after every 3 or 4 entries to ensure there were no losses of data. 

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