There is not a way to force people to use Adobe Acrobat or Reader to open a pdf file. If you must use pdf for your workflow I would add text to the invitation email stating that Adobe Acrobat/Reader should be used. If pdf is not a requirement then I suggest changing to an HTML (web page) workflow.
Does changing to an HTML workflow mean recreating the form in Forms Central? The form is pretty complicated and I don't think I would find it easy to change (even though I originally created it). Anyway, it works perfectly as a pdf form - provided the user understands how to open it in Reader or Acrobat!
That's proved to be a major problem despite clear instructions. Users - even quite competent users - will just open the form in their default pdf viewer and not realise they are not in Reader or Acrobat. Then only some form fields work so they get lost, give up and complain!
Can we insert a script that detects non-Adobe viewers and prevents execution or issues a warning and/or instructions?
Yes you would have to re-layout your form in Formscentral to take advantage of an HTML workflow. Unfortunately there is no easy way to insert a script into your PDF that all PDF veiwers will recognize. Trust me we've spent a lot of time thinking about that. We will let you know if we come up with something universal, but for now you have to decide which format best suits your needs.
Not a direct Adobe issue I know, but I'm thinking it might be possible to set up the file on my website so that it has to be downloaded rather than opened from within a browser? That would reduce the risk ssociated with third party readers. Is it worth consulting an HTML expert do you think?
Yes I think that forcing a download would help some, but it is hard to predict the behavior on all browsers.
Can anyone help with some code to force the file to download, not open?
Anyone else had this problem with recalcitrant users who can't be told that the form MUST be opened in Reader or Acrobat?
Or is there some way of making the pdf form work universally?
I would not recommend trying to force a download. This will be just as bad or worse than the original problem.
John, I ran into a similar issue as you as I was defining a form for a web project. I found a couple of answers on the following website, and below is the one I ultimately implemented.
#Force file downloads for PDF files
Header set Content-Disposition attachment
I hope this helps in your project