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.pdf field content doesn't display in browsers, only in Acrobat

New Here ,
Dec 15, 2020 Dec 15, 2020

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Hi - 

 

I've never seen this issue before but it just cropped up. We have many .pdf forms online, some of which are updated yearly. Some of the .pdfs contain fields which contain static content (dollar amounts) . This year I received some forms to up date from last year's. The forms look fine, with content visible in the fields, when viewed in Acrobat, However, when viewed in any browser (I've tried several) the field content deosn't show. I still have the old version (last year's) form, and on that one, the content shows fine in any browser. I looked at the Properties for the field, and see no difference between the two files. I also compared the Preferences of the .pdfs and didn't see anything obvious.

 

Can you help me figure out how to get the content to display as it did before?

 

Thanks

 

-Tom

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Adobe Employee ,
Dec 16, 2020 Dec 16, 2020

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Hi Tom,

 

Thank you for reaching out.

 

As you have mentioned above, the text field content appears in Acrobat but not in the browser.

Could you please confirm if you are opening the PDF on Document Cloud on the browser or on some other website where the files are uploaded?

It would be helpful if you can share the screenshot of the difference in the appearance occurs.

Are you using the Adobe Acrobat Pro DC application or the Adobe Acrobat Reader DC to view and fill the form?

 

 

Thanks,

Meenakshi

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New Here ,
Dec 16, 2020 Dec 16, 2020

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Hi Meenakshi, thanks for your reply, 

 

I am opening the PDf on the internet in Chrome. Here is a link to the PDF on the website:

https://www.santacruzcounty.us/portals/0/County/asr/forms/taxform23.pdf

(There are several other PDfs with the same issue, this is just one example.) 

 

When I open it in Acrobat, the field content shows, but not in the browser. 

 

I made screenshots, but dont see anywhere to attach them here, so I posted them on the site:

The pdf in Acrobat:

 

The PDf in Chrome:

 

 

Thanks for your help!

 

Tom

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Community Expert ,
Dec 17, 2020 Dec 17, 2020

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Chrome has an internal PDF plugin that is known to have issues, especially with regards to form fields and scripts.

You should report the issues you encountered with it to the Chrome developers. It has nothing to do with Adobe.

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New Here ,
Dec 17, 2020 Dec 17, 2020

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Thanks for your reply, but it's not just Chrome, the problem occurs in all browsers.

 

The previous version of the .pdf looks fine in all browsers, but this version does not.

 

Tom

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New Here ,
Dec 22, 2020 Dec 22, 2020

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Hi again - Still looking for help on this issue. It can't be that hard to fix.

 

Anyone have any insight into it? Thanks

 

Tom

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Community Expert ,
Dec 22, 2020 Dec 22, 2020

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If your situation is the same as above then the solution needs to come from the developers of the browser plugins. They need to adjust their software to adhere to the PDF ISO standard, and then it should work correctly.

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New Here ,
Dec 22, 2020 Dec 22, 2020

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Thanks -

All the browser plugins work fine for many other similar .pdfs that have the same kinds of field content. It's just a few recently created files that are showing the problem, and the behavior is the same across many different browsers, platforms, users, etc. 

 

-Tom

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Community Expert ,
Dec 23, 2020 Dec 23, 2020

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Can you share a sample file?

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New Here ,
Dec 23, 2020 Dec 23, 2020

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Hi Bernd ,

Thanks for your reply. I don't see how to attach files here, 

But here are links to the two files: 

One that is not showing the field content in browsers:

https://www.santacruzcounty.us/portals/0/County/asr/forms/taxform23.pdf

The previous version that works fine:

https://www.santacruzcounty.us/portals/0/County/asr/forms/taxform23--good.pdf

 

Thanks for looking into it!!

 

Tom

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Community Expert ,
Dec 23, 2020 Dec 23, 2020

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The links don't work...

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New Here ,
Dec 23, 2020 Dec 23, 2020

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Hmm , they work for me , where are you?

 

Thanks for trying

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Community Expert ,
Dec 23, 2020 Dec 23, 2020

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Europe. Maybe they are limited to the US?

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New Here ,
Dec 23, 2020 Dec 23, 2020

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Thanks and sorry for the inconvenience. I forgot the site is blocked outside the U.S.

 

I am running now, but will try to share the files another way later. 

 

Thanks for your attention, I appreciate it.

 

Tom

 

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Community Expert ,
Dec 23, 2020 Dec 23, 2020

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The links doesn't works.

Share the documents on Adobe Document Cloud.

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Community Expert ,
Dec 23, 2020 Dec 23, 2020

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I believe this is a problem with the browsers, not the PDF itself.

As @try67 stated, some browsers and plug-ins are more compliant with the ISO PDF standard than others, and this is very common when forms are being viewed rather than generic text PDFs.

 

The best guidance for PDFs with <Forms> is to instruct the user to:

  1. Download the PDF file.
  2. Open it in a PDF-compliant viewer, such as Adobe Acrobat Reader. NOTE: browsers themselves (without a specific plug-in) and low-end junk like Apple Preview can't process PDFs and PDF forms correctly.

 

NOTE: Since your PDF sample is tagged, I'm assuming you're attempting to make a fully compliant, accessible PDF form.

It isn't compliant, especially as a form. You have overlapping <Form> tags on overlapping content.

 

This ill-coded PDF form could be part of the reason why it's not working as you expect. I'll let my PDF brainiac colleagues here determine that aspect.

 

But it definitely is a lawsuit-maker, given the subject matter and audience (Handicapped Families) because it clearly violates ADA/civil rights laws (in the US and other countries).

 

Looking further into your PDF sample, it was created with a severly outdated version of Adobe InDesign (CS 6) and the export-to-PDF conversion utility is Adobe Library 9, also severely outdated. These were released in spring of 2012...a few months BEFORE the ISO standard for accessible PDF (PDF/UA-1, ISO 14289-1) was released.

 

Software that is released before a standard is published dosn't have a chance in he!! to make a compliant PDF.  It's taken Adobe nearly 10 years to get the InDesign-to-PDF workflow straightened out enough to make a PDF that actualy is fairly compliant. Adobe's newest versions of Adobe InDesign (CC:2019-CC:2021) also allow you create the entire form, with the form fields, in InDesign. Little tweaking or remediation needed in Acrobat once the PDF is created.

Outdated software can't create compliant accessible PDFs.Outdated software can't create compliant accessible PDFs.

 

Suggestions:

  1. Update your software to the latest versions of InDesign and Acrobat.
  2. Take a class in accessible PDF forms www.PubCom.com/classses
  3. And check out my Accessible PDF Forms book when it's updated and released early in 2021.

 

 

Bevi Chagnon | PubCom | Designer & Technologist for Accessible Documents
| Books & Classes | Accessible InDesign | Accessible PDFs | Accessible MS Office |

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New Here ,
Dec 28, 2020 Dec 28, 2020

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Thanks for your response Bevi - 

 

I actually didnt create the .pdf myself, it came from another agency, my job is just to post it. It's a form that's updated every year, and this is the first year their has been a problem with the display. So I am going to pass along your advice to the ones who created the form. I'll see wha I can do to fix the form itself by removing/avoiding overlapping tags. 

 

And yes, I'd like to take a look at your Accessible PDF Forms book, when it comes out.

 

Thanks all, and Happy holidays and new year to you!

 

Tom

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