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How to enter PDF form data using Reader

Learn the types of fillable PDF forms messages you may see when filling out a PDF form in the free Reader.

By December 13, 2011

 



The key to entering PDF form field data in the free Reader lies in the Document Message Bar. This short tip provides an overview of the different types of fillable PDF forms messages you might encounter when attempting to fill out a PDF form in Reader (version 10.1 or later).

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How to enter PDF form data using Reader

Lori KassubaDecember 13, 2011

The key to entering form field data in Adobe Reader X lies in the Document Message Bar — this is the purple area between the Toolbar and the Document Pane. There are a few different states to the Document Message Bar for PDF forms. First, you will not see a Document Message Bar with form instructions, like the file on the left, if a PDF document does not contain any fillable form fields. So, be sure to double check the Navigation Pane for the form icon,because display of the Document Message Bar is a preference that you can turn on and off, like this. So, even though your PDF file may look like a form; like the file on the left, unfortunately the document creator has not made the fields fillable. If this is the case, and you still need to fill out your form electronically, check out our Quick Tip video on How to type text in Adobe Reader.

You may also see the message, Please fill out the following form. You cannot save data typed into this form. Please print your completed form if you would like a copy for your records, like the file on the right. This message lets you know that your PDF document has fillable form fields but has not been Reader-enabled by the form creator so you cannot save the data in the form fields when you save the file. If you see this message and would still like to save your form field data check out our Quick Tip video on How to save form data in Adobe Reader. Now finally, the last type of messages you might see are Please fill out the following form. You can save data typed into this form. Or, Please fill out the following form. When finished, click Submit Form to return the completed form. You can save data typed into this form. Like both of these files that are open. Now you are able to save data in Adobe Reader in these types of forms because the form creator has Reader-enabled these types of files. Note that these messages are specific to Adobe Reader 10.1 or later and not necessarily Adobe Acrobat.


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Acrobat Reader

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PDF Forms

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2 comments

Lori Kassuba

1 month ago

Hi Mandy,

If the form was created in LiveCycle Designer, you may not be able to save the form in Reader DC. Especially if the form creator didn’t Reader enable the form.
Check under File > Properties to see what the form author used to create the form.

Thanks,
Lori

Mandy

3, 2015-12-15 15, 2015

I upgraded to windows 10 and have been able to fill out and save my PDF files. However, there’s one file of mine that does not allow me to save typed data. I have the DC version of Acrobat, and have downloaded the file to fill out, but does not work.

Lori Kassuba

1, 2015-08-03 03, 2015

Hi Tom,

Are you using the DC version of Acrobat and/or Reader to fill out the form? This is the only version that is certified on Windows 10. Also, make sure you’re attempting to fill out the form in Reader and not with the PDF open in your browser. In other words, you’ll need to download and then open it to fill it out.

Thanks,
Lori

Tom

7, 2015-08-02 02, 2015

Upgraded to Windows 10 and cannot enter info in PDF files.  Fillable area does not show up and there is no purple colored task bar.

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