Need help entering data fields in Adobe Reader

I’ve received a .pdf form in my email, with the directions to fill it in and return it. So, I doubleclick it, and it opens in Adobe Reader 9. But it does not accept input in the fields, the curser will go to the open line when I click on it, and it just stays there while I pound on the keyboard.

When I look it up in help, it just tells me to use the “select tool” or the “hand tool”. It appears I am doing that, but it’s not working.

Can someone please tell me the trick to entering data into this form?

Something to keep in mind is I am using a work computer, which mean I cannot download a different .pdf reader. That is something I can do from home later, if necessary.

To write on a pdf file you have to buy a pdf writer.

What I do is print the form, fill it in by hand, and scan it back in.

That’s not true. It’s possible to make PDF forms that can be filled in and printed with the data intact, but not to save the data. (The US passport application worked that way a few years ago.) And it’s also possible to make PDF forms in which you can fill in a form and save it with the data intact. (We have a form at work that works this way.)

I know that you can do this, but not with Adobe Reader. It may be possible to find a ‘free’ program that will do it, but Adobe want you to pay. It may also be possible (I have no idea) to create a pdf form that does allow entry into the fields. Clearly the OP has not received one of those.

Foxit Reader is a free PDF viewing program that allows you to save a PDF with forms and keep the filled in entries. Why Adobe’s readers don’t allow this is a mystery.

As to the OP’s problem. One (not too likely) possibility is that the PDF was set up so that JavaScript was needed to use the forms and the OP has quite wisely turned off JavaScript in Reader.

(A caution about Foxit: They work extra hard to install crapware toolbar extras during installation. A single “No Thanks” click isn’t enough.)

To create the form itself you need something better than Adobe Reader. To fill in forms that already exist Adobe Reader works just fine. However, the form has to be designed to allow you to fill it in.

Do you have Adeobe Reader XI or better?

Thanks all. I just printed it out, filled in the data fields with a pen, scanned it in and attached it to the reply email. Seems awfully 2003 tho…

Where’s my flying car?

Yes, you can. US IRS tax forms work this way. Any version of Reader can fill in the fields and you can save the completed form to your computer. It’s up to the originator to make this possible.

They do. Foxit is not needed. It’s up to the forms originator to make this possible.

Yep, I’m just assuming that the originator did not set this form up for me to fill in. Seems odd, as the form’s job is to collect information.

The originator can make it fillable in Reader at no extra cost. Making it savable in Reader is only licensed for free for 500 uses of the form. Over that requires LiveCycle Server and costs run in the tens of thousands.

Ah well ther is your problem. It is no good just pounding on the keyboard, you also have to swear loudly at it once the curser is in place.

I don’t know why you are having this problem. As others have said, it is almost certainly the form creator’s fault. It can be solved, however, by using the free PDF-XChange viewer, (better, in most respects, than either Adobe or Foxit) and using the built-in Typewriter tool. You will be able to type on forms and save the filled in version (and do many other things with PDFs that other free viewers will not allow).

Since the OP isn’t allowed to install software, an alternative to PDF-XChange is a web site where you can upload your PDF, fill it in, and then save it or print it out. I use PDFescape, but I think there are others too.

One disadvantage is it doesn’t know where the fields are, so you have to click at each place you want to type some text, you can’t just tab from field to field. And entries won’t be nearly aligned unless you click precisely. So it’s still better to get the PDF built with form fields to begin with.

Years ago, creating fillable PDF forms required specialized tools, but nowadays you can use a free word processor like OpenOffice Writer to do it. Perhaps the form creator isn’t aware of how easy it’s become.

As Richard Pearse hinted at, Adobe Reader 11 (XI) allows you to add text, check marks, and other annotations to some PDFs (e.g., not secured), and it allows you to save PDF forms that have not been specifically Reader-enabled.