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Question
I use Acrobat Pro X and Adobe Reader XI.

It was my understanding from online tutorials that when I create a fillable form in Acrobat I have to do File, Save As, Reader Extended PDF, Enable Additional Features so that a filled form can be saved.

I built numerous fillable templates. I would open the fillable template, fill in or paste in a customer's name at the top of the form, then File, Save As, Reader Extended PDF, Enable Additional Features. Before sending the newly made forms to my users, I made a practice of opening the forms with Adobe Reader to make sure they looked okay and were in fact fillable and saveable.

This process worked for a couple of years, and then something changed. I would follow the same steps I'd followed the previous two years, using the same templates I'd used numerous times before, but every once in a while when I would open the Enabled file with Adobe Reader to check it, I would get a message that said: "This document enabled extended features in Adobe Reader. The document has been changed since it was created and use of extended features is no longer available. Please contact the author for the original version of this document."

I also frequently get the error message “This document could not be reader enabled”.

I don't know why the errors started happening. I was doing the same process with the same templates I'd used numerous times before, but now my forms weren't fillable or saveable.
I couldn't find a pattern to the error messages. I'd get the error, turn around and use the exact same template to try again, and it would work the second (or third, or fourth) time.
Different templates gave me the error at different times. There was not a discernable "problem template". A form made with my template would give me the error message, and then a minute later the same template would work as expected, or not. (Lots of frustration!)

I don't remember how it happened, but during the time when the error first started happening and I was trying to figure out what the problem was, I learned I didn't have to do the File, Save As, Reader Extended PDF, Enable Additional Features in order for a form to be fillable and saveable. They worked as fillable and saveable even if I just did File, Save As, PDF. So I abandoned the File, Save As, Reader Extended PDF, Enable Additional Features because it gave me so much trouble with the error message. I carried on this way for about a year and a half.

Then last month one of my customers said they couldn't save the new fillable form I'd sent them. (It was in File, Save As, PDF format. I tested the form in question with my Adobe Reader and had my friend test the form with his Adobe Reader. Both of us were able to fill and save the form. I don't know why my customer's Adobe Reader would not do the same.) So I saved the form as File, Save As, Reader Extended PDF, Enable Additional Features and sent it to the customer, who is now able to fill and save the form.

My four questions:
Why do I get the error messages when I'm doing the same thing I've always done, only now, sporadically, it doesn't work? Sometimes it takes me 10 tries before the file will save properly.

Why is a form fillable and saveable with my Adobe Reader, but not with someone else's Adobe Reader?

Why does Adobe Acrobat say a form has to be saved as File, Save As, Reader Extended PDF, Enable Additional Features in order to be saveable, when it is not true?

Do you have any insight on this problem?

Any help is appreciated.

Answer
Hi Donna,

Thank you for your questions. Its so frustrating when something has been working ok and then one day stops doing what it should! I haven't personally had much experience in editable PDF forms, but I will try and help if I can.

I can only think of a few reasons why it would work and then at some point it started playing up - that some updates have occurred and caused the program to have some glitches, so I would see if you have the latest version and are uptodate and see if that helps. Updates can sometimes revert settings to a default so whereas before an option was ticked, the update has now unticked it and that is now causing some problems, of that makes sense?
Another idea is that some files or the program has been corrupted? - does everything else within the program work ok?

The fillable form that works on your Adobe Reader and not someone else's - do they have the same version or latest version of Adobe Reader? Sometimes people don't update their programs especially if its otherwise working ok for them so if a PDF or file is saved to the latest version it may not open properly on an Adobe Reader that is a few years old.
Or it could even be how its sent to the customer or how they are reading it - sometimes files get corrupted when forwarded from certain devices, say from a mobile device, or when viewed from certain devices and mobiles etc.

On one site it is suggested that the problem could be down to a setting with usage rights, more info here - https://forums.adobe.com/thread/963834


Useful links - (seems like alot of people have had various different problems over the years with Adobe Reader and fillable forms etc)
https://forums.adobe.com/thread/1311154
https://forums.adobe.com/thread/908575
https://forums.adobe.com/thread/960882
https://acrobatusers.com/tutorials/how-to-save-form-data-in-adobe-reader

Sorry I couldn't give you a definite answer, but hopefully it might have given you some more ideas into narrowing down the problem. Please let me know if you get it working or not working and I'll see if we can come up with some more ideas.
Kind Regards,
H Louise

Adobe InDesign

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H Louise

Expertise

I am an artworker in the newspaper industry working with both newspaper and glossy products. I can answer most questions on the Adobe Creative Suite CS3 (Indesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat Professional), however please note that I am not as experienced in the use of Illustrator. I also have experience in QuarkXpress, Property software and Photography.

Experience

I have been working in the newspaper industry since 2007. I started in QuarkXpress before moving over to the Indesign software.

Education/Credentials
I have qualifications in art and design as well as a degree in media.

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