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Smittycat 201
Currently Being Moderated

Urgent help required

Sep 18, 2012 3:52 PM

Recently took a clients online .pdf forms and made them "fillable".  They wouldn't work whe placed in a web environment - until I saved with Extended Reader (Enabling Add Features).  4 forms were then tested by a number of people both inside and outside clients office.  They all worked fine - they could fill them in, save to their pcs, and email.

 

Now the project is being launched and all 50 forms have been attached to web, and suddenly they can't be saved. This includes the 4 originally tested.  What is happening and why?

 

Please help!!

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 18, 2012 4:12 PM   in reply to Smittycat 201

    Perhaps some process e.g. on the web server, or the uploading to the server, has changed or damaged the file. Can you post the URL of a form which is no longer fillable, if they are public?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 18, 2012 4:58 PM   in reply to Smittycat 201

    I tried one form - the first, Biosurance R and D application. This still seems to be savable.

     

    What symptoms do you see (or not see) when you test this yourself on a system with Reader?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 19, 2012 8:46 AM   in reply to Smittycat 201

    Looks like a lot of work went into this. Sorry to throw a wrench into the pot, but I would suggest reading the license agreement carefully to be sure you are within the rules for using Reader Rights. If the forms are to be submitted in any way (electronic or paper), then there may be a 500 use limitation to Reader Rights. Printing is still allowed, but saving would be restricted. For your use, a careful read of the license agreement (and maybe consultation with a lawyer) would be wise. Looks like your company is a nice large one for Adobe to go after if you are not abiding by the rules.

     

    The first form seemed to be set for Reader Rights, so I don't know why it is not working. It may be that the users are using the MAC Preview application that has issues with Acrobat forms.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 19, 2012 10:23 AM   in reply to Smittycat 201

    Extended rights is what allows the PDF to be _saved_ in the free Adobe Reader. That's the only thing you are adding.  But there is a license limiting this to low volume use.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 19, 2012 1:47 PM   in reply to Smittycat 201

    When the 500 use limits is reached, the license would require you to remove the form from use or be in violation. There is always an outside chance the problem may not exist in the next release of Acrobat and Reader, but I would not hold out hope. The file can still be printed after completion with or without Reader Rights.  I can see the interested in saving the file in light of the length of the forms.

     

    The other software that Adobe was probably talking about was LifeCycle. As I understand it, you have to get a quote from Adobe on the price for software for your need. I have heard of cases where it runs into the thousands of dollars.

     

    Like I said, it looks like you have done a lot of nice work on your forms and I would hate to see that have to be thrown away. PDFs are ideal for your use, but this license issue is a potential problem for the future. At least you might have time for now to consider alternative or even possibly wait for a new Acrobat release -- who knows when it will come, but Adobe and other software houses tend to be on a 2-3 years cycle of regular upgrades.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 20, 2012 3:21 AM   in reply to Smittycat 201

    Adobe would say: you accepted the license agreement, you were supposed to have read it. Of course, some people do agree to licenses without reading them, but it isn't always a good idea.

     

    Forms are usable in many ways on the web without extended rights. Most people don't need forms to be saved, that's not the typical form workflow.

     

    It's your job to work in a way which works within the license. If you can't do this, then you can't use the facility. There is a separate and much more expensive product if you need more than 500. Yes, probably much more than you estimate.

     

    But I think it's very important to identify what exactly you want to be able to do with your forms. You seem to be assuming that you need it just to put forms on the web, but that's just not true.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 20, 2012 2:48 PM   in reply to Smittycat 201

    The forms do not have to be extended for them to be fillable. The data can be submitted to a web script (recommended if private information is included) or to e-mail (has other problems based on client machine). AcroForms can create FDF data files that can be submitted and then managed on the server with the FDF Toolkit.

     

    The disadvantage of not extending the forms is that they can not be saved unless one has Acrobat (not Reader). It looks like your forms are lengthy, making the saving issue desireable. They could also be printed and completed by hand or typewriter (a few of us still have one). Since you seem to be focused on printing the form in the end, maybe it should be recommended that pages be printed at the end of a session. Then future pages could be printed and added to the last set. Not as desireable, but may be a reasonable workaround. However, trying to explain that to some folks may be a challenge.

     

    I am not trying to justify the route that Adobe has taken, but give you alternatives. Of course, they may change in the future. Little things (actually huge in your case) like this seem to be changed along the way. It used to be there was a $40 or so product that allowed forms to be completed and saved, but no other PDF functionality from Acrobat. That went away with AA6. So it may be that they change there mind in the future. That does not help solve your problem now and is why we are making some suggestions. Maybe with a bit of dialog we can help you reach a reasonable solution. Pick one of the forms and let's discuss what you want to do with it and what alternatives might be possible. I will try to post one of your forms on my server to see how it works. You indicated a problem with no extension and we can see how it goes. I will send the link by a private message.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 20, 2012 2:58 PM   in reply to Bill@VT

    Just to add to that. You say the forms "didn't work" until extended, but what did that really mean? What specifically didn't work?

     

    Another thing, if you are a form designer; it's absolutely crucial to know the difference between Acrobat and the free Reader and to have a test system with only Reader.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 20, 2012 4:02 PM   in reply to Smittycat 201

    Ok, that's just one way to use forms. They don't need to email them back, they can submit to a web script. Or they can email form data rather than the form itself.

     

    If you're designing forms you are a form designer for these purposes. So you do need to test with Reader. You're making a big, big assumption that what works for you will work for others, and it isn't safe.

     

    You raise an interesing point that Word forms can be used for free. Well, know, they can be used if the user has paid Microsoft for Word. Similarly, if the user pays Adobe for Acrobat they can return forms. Now, if you're saying that because Microsoft have already been paid for Word and nobody wants to buy anything else, they everything else should be free, well... pretty soon there would only be Microsoft.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 20, 2012 5:22 PM   in reply to Smittycat 201

    Actually a lot of folks do not have WORD and use LibreOffice or OpenOffice. In addition, WORD had layout problems for forms. That is because WORD tends to reflow the text in the form to meet the needs of the attached printer. I have often gotten corporate forms in DOC form that don't work right because the desinger tried to take it right to the edges of the page and my version of WORD would dump part of the form to the next page. Then there are those who think they are making a form by just putting in underlines with a bunch of spaces. What a pain to fill those out.

     

    An advantage of web submission of a form, particularly to a secure server, is that the data is more secure and you can include personal information without as much concern. Other web form solutions exist with a variety of programming languages.

     

    In terms of returning the forms, the data can actually be submitted without extending the form. In AcroForms, that is typically the FDF submission. The FDF file can be imported to the form on the receiving end. The FDF Toolkit can also be used to extract info from the FDF files and add to a database, etc. Since the forms may likely contain personal information, e-mail is actually not a good idea (not secure). In that case, submission to a secure server with a web script is best. The alternative is to print pages and submit the form my mail or in person. With the printing, different pages could be done at different times (some of your forms appear to be long).

     
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