Adobe Reader: How to use Adobe Reader to fill PDF forms or type text on a PDF file

Description

If you are using Adobe Reader you will notice that you are unable to write/save content in PDF files.

Adobe Reader is a PDF reader provided free-of-charge and does not allow users to “write” content in PDF files by default. In order to make and save changes to a PDF file, you need a license for Adobe Acrobat, or LiveCycle Reader Extensions. Changes that normally require Adobe Acrobat include: entering text, saving a PDF form, and adding comments.

Suggestions

PDF authors can use either Adobe Acrobat or Reader Extensions Server to enable individual PDF files with specific privileges to allow Adobe Reader write and save content into the PDF files. If you/your organization has a license for Adobe Acrobat or Reader Extensions Server, you can apply these privileges to the PDF file before distributing it, so that users can open it in Adobe Reader to write the content.

You can use one of the following solutions to enable the PDF files:

Solution 1: Enable the Typewriter tool for Adobe Reader.

  1. Enable the Typewriter tool on the PDF.
    • With Adobe Acrobat:
      Note:You must have at least one Acrobat Professional client installed.

      1. Open the PDF in Acrobat Professional.
      2. Follow instructions depending on Acrobat version:
        • Acrobat (8 or 9): choose Tools > Typewriter > Enable typewriter tool in Adobe Reader, or Advanced > Extend Features in Adobe Reader.
        • Acrobat X: choose File > Save As >Reader Extended PDF > Enable Adding Text in Documents.
      1. Save the PDF.
    • With Reader Extensions Server:
      Note:You must have a Reader Extensions server installed in your organisation.

      1. Go to the ReaderExtensions server portal (http://[servername]:[port]/ReaderExtensions).
      2. Upload the PDF file.
      3. Apply the commenting right to the PDF.
      4. Save the resulting PDF to your computer.
  2. When you now open the same PDF in Adobe Reader, you will have a new tool available under Tools > Typewriter (Reader 8/9), or Tools > Add or Edit Text Box (Reader X).
  3. You can use this tool to type characters on top of the PDF content.

Here is a video tutorial showing how to use the Typewriter tool on a PDF: http://acrobatusers.com/tutorials/how-add-text-pdfs

Note: The typewriter tool is only available for static PDF files, not for dynamic files, as it is part of the commenting functionality. Imagine if you lay down a comment on a certain part of the PDF and then the PDF structure changes dynamically and shifts the content down a page to accomodate a new subform. The comment/typewriter text would no longer be pointing to the same position.

Solution 2: Enable the usage rights on the PDF in Acrobat.

Note: You must have at least one Acrobat Professional 8, or later, client installed.

  1. Open the PDF in Acrobat Professional.
  2. Choose Advanced > Enable Usage Rights in Adobe Reader (Acrobat 8/9), or File > Save As >Reader Extended PDF > Enable Additional Features (Acrobat X).
  3. Save the PDF.
  4. When you now open the PDF in Adobe Reader you will be able to fill the form and save the data.

Solution 3: Enable the appropriate rights on the PDF using Reader Extensions Server.

Note: You need to have a Reader Extensions Server installed in your organisation.

  1. Go to the ReaderExtensions server portal (http://[servername]:[port]/ReaderExtensions).
  2. Upload the PDF file.
  3. Select the Usage Rights you wish to apply to the PDF (you need Form Fill-In if you wish to complete the PDF form fields and save the data, or the Commenting right to use the Typewriter tool).
  4. Save the resulting PDF to your computer.
  5. Open the resulting PDF in Adobe Reader and you will be able to fill and save it.

Note: Reader Extensions server is a LiveCycle product to be deployed in an enterprise environment, and for this reason, may not be cost-effective if you only want to enable a handful of forms or PDFs.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Was this helpful? Please rate the content.
Rating: 5.6/10 (84 votes cast)