Reader-enabling a PDF form for saving user-entered data in Acrobat 8

Learn how to use Acrobat 8 to enable extended rights so Reader users can save filled-in copies of forms they complete.

By Kurt Foss – February 11, 2007


One of the most-often-requested features from Acrobat users has been for an easy way to allow end users to save data entered into PDF forms. While there have been a variety of workarounds, and eventually a commercial server-based solution (Reader Extensions), it wasn't a reality for the majority of users ... until Acrobat 8.0 Professional. Acrobat 8 now allows the enabling of extended rights so Reader users can save filled-in copies of forms they complete.

This is the message a Reader user typically would see when opening a form, reminding them that entered data can't be saved with the form.

Here's how to Reader-enable the same form:

1. Choose Advanced > Enable User Rights In Adobe Reader.

2. Review the instructions that appear--noting that other extended rights that can be enabled for Reader users include the ability to add comments, use the Typewriter tool and digitally sign the PDF--and then click Save Now.

Now when a Reader user opens this enabled form, they will see a different message explaining that data entered into the form may be saved back into the form. (In addition, form data can also be submitted directly back to a server, or exported to a separate file from Adobe Reader for return via e-mail, ftp and so on.)

NOTE: These extended privileges are limited to the current PDF. When you create a different PDF form, you must perform this task again if you want to enable Reader users to save their own filled-in copies of that PDF.

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7, 2015-09-18 18, 2015

Thank you VERY MUCH. I was going crazy trying to figure out how to enable pdf forms to be saved on forms. Very helpful.

Lori Kassuba

5, 2015-02-26 26, 2015

Hi Nick,
Thanks for letting us know the content was helpful.



10, 2015-02-24 24, 2015

This was incredibly helpful!  The other forums were pointing to something I couldn’t find…thank you!


8, 2014-09-23 23, 2014

Thank you Lori :(

Lori Kassuba

6, 2014-09-19 19, 2014

Hi Paolo,

There is no automated way to batch Reader-enable PDF files.



9, 2014-09-18 18, 2014

I would like to know, if with Acrobat pro 8, there is the possibility to do something like a “batch processing” to enable the usage right in Acrobat Reader.
I have a lot of file and I need to add this feature on each file.
if it is helpful I’m using a mac
Thank you in advance for help / reply!!

Lori Kassuba

3, 2014-03-24 24, 2014

Hi Jeff Roberts,

In Acrobat XI you can find this command under File > Save As Other > Reader Extended PDF > Enable More Tools.


Jeff Roberts

8, 2014-03-20 20, 2014

Is this still possible with Adobe Acrobat XI Pro? If so, what are the steps that you must take? The layout has changed significantly in the past 7 years!!

Jeff Roberts

6, 2014-03-20 20, 2014

This is great info. But, how does it work now with Acrobat XI Pro? I’ve looked every where and cannot find a way to “enable user rights in Adobe Reader”. Thanks!

Lori Kassuba

1, 2013-05-09 09, 2013

Hi Erin,

Please look at section 15.12.3 in the Acrobat 9 EULA for specifics on this:

There is an a or b cause for this. Basically you can send the form out an unlimited number of recipients but not extract more that 500 responses. Or, send the form out to no more that 500 recipients and extract responses as many times as you like.

Again, for specifics please check the clause noted above.


3, 2013-05-08 08, 2013

Is it true that Acrobat Standard 9 users in a company cannot send out the same extended document to receive and extract data collectively more than 500 times? 

We are looking to use a PDF form internally and will be emailing to multiple people to enter data then sending 4 separate approvals on the document each time.


Kimberly Beckham

12, 2013-02-02 02, 2013

I’ve done this in creating a form for a client to use and she says she can see the text she has saved but no one else can.  the form was created using Adobe 9 Standard on a Win 7 machine. When I use the same form, enter text and save and send to her she can see it, but not the reverse. She is on a Mac.  Is there a crossplatform issue?  (Your instructions were very well laid out).  is there anything I can do to make this work for her as her team has both mac and windows users?

Hi Kimberly,

This is a known issue with the Preview application on the Mac (as of version 5.0.3) corrupting PDF forms. Here is a suggestion for correcting the problem:


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