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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).
Lori Kassuba December 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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