Hello, all. I own a fully automated Continuing Education website with a national customer base. The release of Adobe Reader 9.4 has brought a major problem for us which we haven't been able to overcome, and it's a critical issue which will destroy our business if the problem continues.
The problem: Our professionally licensed website users earn online, instantly downloadable Continuing Education certificates in PDF file format, which are auto-generated by our software program when the user has successfully completed a course and its quiz.
Each certificate is a template created by Adobe Acrobat Pro 6 which contains the boilerplate course goals, credit hours earned for the course, plus all of our educational approval numbers needed to conduct business in each state. THE PROBLEM HERE is that these generated certificates ALSO have form fields which are auto-completed by our system when the user successfully completes his or her course - i.e., the user's name, his license number, and the date and hour and minute of completion. Until some of our customers began to use Adobe Reader 9.4 on their PC this past week, the certificate generation process has performed flawlessly - for over 3 years now, for over a thousand customers - the only exception being the occasional MAC user who needs to download the correct version of Adobe Reader, and to use the correct browser.
Beginning last week, site users who have downloaded 9.4 can no longer SAVE their Continuing Education certificates to their computer with their name, license and date and time of completion showing on the certificate. And they can't even print the certificate correctly - their name, license, and date of completion appear as blank lines. They can't download or email the certificate with the critical form field data showing on the document. This is a devastating situation for our business and for the users - who certainly won't return, and are demanding refunds.
In fact, I (who installed 9.4 last week) discovered that I can't even download and save an intact copy of a customer's certificate from my own website, OR copy and paste information from a client's generated certificate in order to manually create a certificate for him or her. The on-screen message tells me that I am not allowed to do this with this document .... despite the fact that I was the creator of the document. Needless to say, when I un-installed 9.4, I had none of these problems.
Customers wouldn't have problems either if they uninstalled 9.4 - but you can't tell customers who call in to complain, to uninstall their Adobe Reader program and find something else. They also have to use Adobe Reader to view over half of the courses we offer, and they need to be able to work with them effectively with no problems.
In the past, because of occasional Adobe Reader problems of a different sort, we could tell customers to use Foxit or Nitro PDF if they had Adobe issues. But that was back in the day when there was no competition in running an online CE website. Now there is plenty of competition, and customers will just go elsewhere before they will try to reconfigure their computer just to stay with our site.
I will bet that hundreds (thousands?) of other online businesses who work with system-generated form fields in PDF documents have been similarly affected.
Is there a solution here? Surely this was an UNINTENDED result of Adobe's upgrade to 9.4. Is there something that we can do at our end to eliminate these issues? There are NO security protections or limitations imposed on these certificate documents. And we CANNOT eliminate the form fields that are filled internally when the customer passes t the course. Date and time of completion and all the rest are required by all of the States which license us. Many thanks!