What I did:
I created a PDF form and used the Extend Features in Adobe Reader. I sent the form to people to fill out and they have submitted the form back to me filled in.
When I open the PDF form, the data in the fields doesn't display until I click the form field.
Using Adobe Acrobat, open the form. From the Forms menu, select Manage Form Data and then click Export Data. Save the file. Both the PDF and the FDF need to be in the same location (the FDF uses the PDF to display the data).
I would like to just open the PDF form and see the data in the fields. Is there something I can do to skip creating the FDF and be able to open the PDF to see the data?
The problem is most likely caused by Mac user who use the Preview application to fill-in and save the form. Preview corrupts PDF forms. For more information, see: http://kb2.adobe.com/community/publishing/885/cpsid_88564.html
The solution you found is one thing you can do if you have Acrobat, but the article has something you can use with just Reader.
A simply solution is to open the offending PDF in Preview. Go to the File Menu and select Export. Under Quartz Filter choose "Black & White". Save the file and open that one in Preview and all should be good. Note: I have only tested this under Preview in Apple Mavericks 10.10.1
This will not work on a Windows system.