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Prevent multiple text boxes from merging into one large text box

New Here ,
Jun 14, 2017 Jun 14, 2017

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I want to edit text in a pdf document. The text fields were separate. After editing and saving, the multiple text fields have now merged into one large text box so that when I attempt to edit the text again, it affects the formatting of the other text. Is there a option to disable this "merge event" or to change the view that i can see again the two seperated text fields for editing?

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Adobe Community Professional , Jun 19, 2017 Jun 19, 2017

No, it's not possible.

The reason is that PDF files were never meant to be edited in such a way! Hence the great difficulties in doing it... It's simply not the way it's supposed to be done. You need to go back to the original file, edit it and then generate a new PDF file from it.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 14, 2017 Jun 14, 2017

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Are you using the Edit Text & Images tools? Because what you're describing are not text fields, but text "boxes".

If that's the case the answer is no, you can't tell the application to merge or separate them.

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New Here ,
Jun 14, 2017 Jun 14, 2017

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Yes i use the Edit Text & Images tool from Acrobat Pro DC. I do not know the exact name of this text areas, but you could be right: text boxes for putting text in the document.

At the moment the application automatic merge these areas to one at saving. Thats a big problem for me, because i want to format each text box individually and not let to merge them.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 14, 2017 Jun 14, 2017

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PDF files were never meant to be edited in such a way... If you have the

original file used to create the PDF you should edit it and then generate a

new PDF file from it.

That's a much better workflow.

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 19, 2017 Jun 19, 2017

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I am using Acrobat XI.

I have similar question but a bit different question.

Is there a setting /program option that allows the user to turn ON /OFF that reshaping of the boxes? In my case after saving and reopen the file, the boxes are changed in a way that a sentence is now contained by multiple boxes. Amazingly, frequently they are broken into weird pieces: the left part of a paragraph and the middle or right part of the sentence are boxed separately of the left box. This makes IMPOSSIBLE to change a sentence, forcing my to rebuild the original sentence or mathematical formula by copy and paste in a single box. I HATE THAT WASTE OF MY TIME!!!! 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 19, 2017 Jun 19, 2017

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No, it's not possible.

The reason is that PDF files were never meant to be edited in such a way! Hence the great difficulties in doing it... It's simply not the way it's supposed to be done. You need to go back to the original file, edit it and then generate a new PDF file from it.

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New Here ,
Aug 27, 2018 Aug 27, 2018

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Except that Adobe seems to think that it's a way to edit PDFs, since they built a premium app to do it - which merges the fields. If you have form fields, and fields that need to be calculated, those won't be carried over from Word or Photoshop... and if you go back and edit the original you have to rebuild all of that. This is not a solution either.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 27, 2018 Aug 27, 2018

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These are not fields, which means something very specific in PDF files. They are pieces of static content, which Acrobat does its best to combine as larger chunks, so you could edit them. And yes, Acrobat is capable to editing PDF files in this way, and does a pretty good job of it, but it doesn't change the fact that these files were not built for such editing and that doing so is always going to be risky and difficult.

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Explorer ,
Nov 12, 2018 Nov 12, 2018

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try67  wrote

No, it's not possible.

The reason is that PDF files were never meant to be edited in such a way! Hence the great difficulties in doing it... It's simply not the way it's supposed to be done. You need to go back to the original file, edit it and then generate a new PDF file from it.

Yeah well this is unacceptable and is a feature that should have been implemented ages ago.

What is the solution then? Delete our text and recreate it when make any small change. Ridiculous.

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 05, 2018 Feb 05, 2018

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I have the same problem. I have been arguing with Adobe staff for 3 months. They have tried multiple different ways to blame 3rd party softwares as causing the issue. I have tried Word (text) documents, excel documents, I have used Acrobat DC Pro to scan my document.

They said when scanning to do it at 600 DPI (doesn't work either). I have even made a word document which is nothing but a blank page. I then saved it as a text file and imported into adobe. I then went into Edit Tools and made a half dozen Add Text boxes. Once I hit the save button, the program, combines all of the boxes into one "master text box" (my name). If Adobe was not designed to use this way, then why do they provide that feature? You will not get them to admit this is a major program flaw. Can you imagine using Word or Publisher combining text boxes, where you can't made an adjustment or correction to the original text box without it affecting the rest of the text boxes? There tech support had even linked up with my pc and tried to make corrections, which they were not successful. Their solution, re-do the document from scratch. Once you try to re-do, the error just repeats itself in different areas of the document page. There is no consistency to when or how it causes these errors. Maybe someone who has a connection should have a major PC magazine do the same text and report on the results to the general public. All in all, a great program, but this one major flaw makes it a very tedious program.

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LEGEND ,
Feb 06, 2018 Feb 06, 2018

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There are no text boxes in a PDF at all. When you edit, Acrobat looks in the page and -at that moment - tries to guess where you might like boxes. Thus just affects what you select and nothing else. At the moment you finish editing the boxes don’t exist.

Please understand that editing PDF is a DESPERATE LAST RESORT. If you find it a big part of your plans, find different plans. Adobe marketing do not understand this and talk it up like somehow Acrobat is a rival to Word! No it isn’t.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 06, 2018 Feb 06, 2018

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This feature is provided because there's a big demand for it by people who are in a similar situation to yours and were complaining they couldn't edit their PDF files at all. So Adobe added a simple "TouchUp Text Tool" and over the years improved its functionality to what it is now. But it will NEVER be the same as the editing functionalities of Word, simply because it's not the same thing, nor can it be.

Complaining about it is not going to change that. The real solution to your problem is to edit the original file and then create a new PDF.

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New Here ,
Mar 06, 2018 Mar 06, 2018

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If there is big demand, wouldn't it make sense to make something that actually works. It's a pretty basic feature. It's not rocket science. Adobe has the absolute worst customer service and has many other bugs like this that break the basic functionality of the program.

The real solution to this problem is to move to a better service. I'd rather pay half the cost of Adobe Pro for a slightly inferior product than pay Adobe to put out garbage and then refuse to fix it.

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 03, 2018 Jul 03, 2018

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This "go back to the original" answer seems really obtuse to me -- my original file was a form that I converted to be fillable with Acrobat. I added JavaScript to the fields, and it's pretty sophisticated with calculations, etc. Now, I wanted to clean up some of the font sizes in the labels of the fields, to make it consistent. Now I find out that these individual fields now are being merged in a somewhat non-deterministic fashion (some are merged, some are not). The merging algorithm is strange to me. Hope Adobe can provide an option to chose not to do this.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 03, 2018 Jul 03, 2018

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You can make these changes in the original file and not lose all of the work you did on the form fields.

Simply generate a new static file and then open the old one (with the fields) and select Replace Pages. Then select the new file and the pages from it will be inserted into the old one, preserving all the fields, scripts, etc. in tact. Of course, if the layout changed you might need to adjust their locations, but at least you won't have to start over.

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 04, 2018 Jul 04, 2018

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Thanks for the answer. However, my document is one page. I'm not understanding how replace pages would help here. Am I missing something?

Is there some other software that will allow me to abstract the forms (the calculation part) from the presentation (the text fields that are annoyingly getting merged, etc.)? There has to be a better workflow... Otherwise, it seems Acrobat is over-selling its product.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 04, 2018 Jul 04, 2018

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The number of pages is irrelevant. Replace Pages will work on a single page, too.

Acrobat is the best PDF editor out there, that I'm aware of. PDF files were simply not meant to be edited in this way.

Whether or not that's "over-selling" depends on what claims you've seen, but it's not unheard of that Marketing people make promises that the developers can't deliver...

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New Here ,
Sep 20, 2018 Sep 20, 2018

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I get this whole "use the original". I work in a campus office. Lord only knows who has the original file most of the time and where it is saved. I have also edited the original file multiple times and this merge box garbage just keeps happening. How about making a "do not merge" option so people can choose to just have their boxes remain where they are. It is possible, after all, it is a program and it would just need to be reprogrammed to add this feature. Or at least add an anchor option so that the particular box won't change. This software was supposed to have been made for professionals. Well, professionals don't have a ton of time on their hands to sit there and completely re-edit a document each time they want to make a small change. It is absurd!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 20, 2018 Sep 20, 2018

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If this option was added each letter would appear as its own "box". That's how PDF files are actually built, behind the scenes.
Anything you see beyond that is a later interpretation that is supposed to make it easier for you to edit it (which you shouldn't do in the first place...). Trust me, it's extremely complicated to make an algorithm that will work with all the kinds of PDF files out there and identify which pieces of text go together, and which don't. I've spent the best part of the last couple of years trying to do it, with limited success.

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 04, 2018 Jul 04, 2018

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Other PDF editors (I didn't put the name because I suspect the moderator won't allow it?) have a feature to prevent this problem: Line mode (keep lines separate) vs Paragraph mode (attempt to merge intelligently). I hope Adobe can consider this feature in the future.

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New Here ,
Jun 04, 2018 Jun 04, 2018

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Hi folks,
There is one bad workaround: select the box (click the boundary box outline) and copy and paste a copy of that box.

Delete all text except for the text you want ungrouped from the rest.

So for instance if you want five independent boxed paragraphs, paste five copies of the full box, and delete enough text in each so that each of the new boxes has a different paragraph.

If you save and close Adobe you may need to repeat this.

I realise Acrobat is not designed for heavy editing but sheesh this seems like a trivial feature.

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LEGEND ,
Jul 04, 2018 Jul 04, 2018

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Yes, you're missing something, and looking for a solution way more complex than you need.

1. Backup the form because it's easy to mess up and end up with nothing !!

2. Make the new "background" PDF (let's call it NEWBACKGROUND.PDF)

3. Open the form (let's call it OLDFORM.PDF).

4. Choose replace pages.

5. Select the NEWBACKGROUND.PDF file.

6. The one page background of OLDFORM.PDF will be replaced by NEWBACKGROUND.PDF. All the form fields and scripts will be preserved/

7. Save it as NEWFORM.PDF or whatever.

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LEGEND ,
Jul 04, 2018 Jul 04, 2018

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It really is considered a desperate last resort to edit the PDF page. The workflow we've suggested (remake PDF, replace pages) is very strongly recommended. Would be nice if it were otherwise.

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LEGEND ,
Sep 20, 2018 Sep 20, 2018

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The boxes merge because they don't exist except when you are editing. I explained this as clearly as I could. There are no boxes in the file to tag, have anchor options, or anything else.

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LEGEND ,
Nov 12, 2018 Nov 12, 2018

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The solution is to avoid being in the situation where you edit PDFs. It's a desperate last resort even if Adobe's marketing department try to paint it otherwise. Somehow it has led people into actually making and editing files in Acrobat, rather than treating this as a firefighting tool for fixing typos.

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