Typable .pdf file hides text

Can anyone help me set up my typable .pdf file better? Users say that when they use Reader and not Acrobat Pro, and save, the text is hidden until they click on the typable fields. I’ve seen this too. Is it avoidable, and is fixable on our end (creator) or theirs (user)?

What type are the fields? I had an issue with typable pdfs earlier in the week and found that deleting the field it generated when the form was created (in my case signature fields) and adding text fields instead solved the problem I was having.

I deal with this all the time. It is usually cause by the Preview application on the Mac and not Reader. Preview causes all sort of damage to PDF forms (and other PDFs). The easiest thing to if you need a cleanly populated form is to open the corrupted form in Acrobat, export the form data to a file (FDF/XFDF), and import it into a clean form.

As bad as Preview is, Microsoft Reader is even worse. It corrupts different types of fields in different ways. Some it leaves a correct field appearance but does not set the underlying field value correctly, while for others the underlying value is correct but the field appearance is not. This makes it very difficult to recover from.

The fix is to have your users use Adobe Reader, or Acrobat if they happen to have it. There are other PDF viewers that work well too, including Foxit Reader and Nitro PDF Reader.

It’s possible to set up a form so that is only becomes enabled for use if used in with a PDF viewer that has sufficient support. This involves JavaScript, which won’t be executed in viewers like Preview and Microsoft Reader, so the form can’t be inadvertently used.