Open existing interactive PDF in InDesign?

Community Beginner ,
Feb 12, 2022 Feb 12, 2022

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There are tons of posts about exporting to PDF from InDesign when I try Googling this, but that isn't my issue.   I want to bring all of the interactive form elements of an existing PDF into InDesign so I can redesign the form (Acrobat isn't flexible enough).   Maybe I'm missing something incredibly obvious, but I can't just open the PDF form file in InDesign so... help?   Thanks in advance!

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How to , Import and export

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Adobe Community Professional , Feb 13, 2022 Feb 13, 2022
There is a trick that you can use where you can redesign the art in InDesign and update the PDF with the form elements, so long as the form elements don't change. It requires the full version of Acrobat, not the reader. Prior to attempting this trick, make sure you have access to backups of your artwork just in case. That is, make the design as you like in ID, then export to PDF (doesn't have to be interactive). Open the original PDF that has the interactivity and in Acrobat, go to the pages ...

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 12, 2022 Feb 12, 2022

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PDF is a finished format, it can't be edited in InDesign you need the original InDesign document.

There is third-party software available that might be helpful:

https://markzware.com/products/pdfmarkz/

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 13, 2022 Feb 13, 2022

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There is a trick that you can use where you can redesign the art in InDesign and update the PDF with the form elements, so long as the form elements don't change. It requires the full version of Acrobat, not the reader.

Prior to attempting this trick, make sure you have access to backups of your artwork just in case.

  1. That is, make the design as you like in ID, then export to PDF (doesn't have to be interactive).
  2. Open the original PDF that has the interactivity and in Acrobat, go to the pages palette.
  3. Select the pages to replace and then go replace pages...
  4. From windows explorer/mac finder, navigate to the recently made PDF and import that, confiming it will replace the pages.

What will happen is that the art will change but the interactive fields from the previous document will remain.

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 13, 2022 Feb 13, 2022

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oh so essentially just swapping out the "background" in Acrobat?  sounds like it should work, I'll go try it!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 13, 2022 Feb 13, 2022

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You have to have the original to do that.

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 13, 2022 Feb 13, 2022

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this works!!  it's not a perfect method but it basically solves the problem.  still a couple wonky things (ex. the checkboxes lost their set appearance for on and off states, but that could just be a mistake from how the OG creator set up the file).  I'm gonna leave this thread open a little longer but I think this might be the correct solution, so thank you Colin! 🙂

 

If anyone else sees this, this solution totally works, but it'd be way better if I can copy the form fields INTO InDesign!

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