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Let's say you've just created a form in Acrobat, and then you attached it to an e-mail and sent it out to somebody without doing anything special. You didn't use any of the built-in form distribution methods-- just sent it out just like you would with the regular PDF. If a person with Reader opened that up, they would see something similar to what you see here in the screen. This is Reader 10, but it's also true for earlier versions of Reader. They would see a little bar going across the top, some sort of indicator that this is a form, along with a button to highlight or not highlight the existing fields. But look at what it says here, "You cannot save data typed into this form.
Please print your completed form if you need a copy for your records." Doesn't that seem kind of crazy? I mean even in Reader 10, which comes with the commenting tools and a few more features than earlier versions of Reader, I cannot save the information that I type into this form. Very often you want to save that, digitally, not just as a printout. In order for the person with Reader to be able to fill out this form and save it--including their responses--in a PDF, the person who created the form-- you--need to extend Reader rights, it's called, or enable Reader rights, and you can only do that in Acrobat Pro.
It won't work in standard, by the way. So let's open this back up in Adobe Acrobat Pro, and to enable extra rights for Reader, you go to the File menu, to Save As, and choose Reader Extended PDF. There are various levels of additional rights and tools and privileges that you can include in a PDF that would extend to the person using Reader. The one that you want to use to save form data is the last one: Enable Additional Features. Select that, and you will see a list here that says when somebody open this in the free Adobe Reader, they will be able to Save form data (for a fillable PDF form only).
There is other things they can do, but that is the main one that we are concerned with. So click Save Now, but before you do that, check out this little note: "Once Reader Enabled, certain functions in Acrobat, like editing document content or inserting and deleting pages, will be restricted." So in other words you should make all of your edits to this PDF first before you enable for Reader; otherwise, if you forget and you need to make additional edits, you have to work on the original PDF and then re-enable it for Reader.
So I will click Save Now, and it prompts me to save it with another name. And I will call this RE for Reader Enabled, click Save, so it's still opened as RE here in Adobe Acrobat, but I am not allowed to do things like add pages or anything like that. Notice there is another special little icon, and that's just because it indicating this is a form. We'll close out of Acrobat and open this up in Reader, the Reader-enabled version now.
We get the same banner going across, telling us that it's a form, but no more information saying, "You can't save this data." Instead, I could go ahead and fill this out, Schmoe, first name Joe, and if I want to, I can save it right here, and all my data would be saved as well. So if you want to send out a form or make a form available on your web site and have people who download it--even if they are using Reader--be able to save that form data, make sure you remember to extend Reader rights to that PDF.
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