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Problem filling out PDF form file


Mmotif
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Hi there,

This file causes problems: https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/form/n-400.pdf 

I downloaded the file and started filling it out and when I saved it the content of some of the fields was either deleted or replaced with the character "N". Some fields were unchanged. Or by filling out a check marks some random text was inserted in other fields.

I then used the same file in the latest version of Adobe Reader and I have no problems at all.

At some point a window opened below the document showing apparently JavaScript errors.

Am I missing something? Do I have to change some settings?

Thanks for your help.

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  • Official Nitronaut
Allain Umailin

Hello @Mmotif,

Thanks for posting on our community forums!

Please be informed that this document was created using a program called Adobe LiveCycle/Designer, which utilizes XFA / XML forms architecture that is not compliant with the PDF 2.0 specification set by the ISO (International Organization for Standardization). Our Product & Engineering team is actively investigating options to improve Nitro's ability to handle XFA and other non-standard PDF document-types, but this is a significant product roadmap initiative, and unfortunately, there isn't a short-term solution.

Although we have improved on how we work with this format, some files will still not behave as expected. We suggest the following workarounds for problem LiveCycle/Designer files.

1. Viewing and Filling in the form:
If you intend to simply view or fill in the form fields in this specific file, as this is a proprietary Adobe format, we suggest using Adobe reader.

2. Printing the form to hard copy:
If you have filled in a form, but the printout doesn't contain the information entered, you will need to 'flatten' the data. Please note that this option might not be available for all files, in which case you might need to use another PDF editor to perform the flattening. You can find out more about that, here: http://kb.gonitro.com/knowledgebase#/search/flatten/000002033

3. Editing the form:
If you would like to edit the content and update your forms to a universal format which can be read by other PDF applications:

a. Open the document in Adobe Reader
b. Go to the file menu, and click Printingc. Choose the Nitro Pro Printer, and click the Print button
d. When prompted to Save, save the new document to the desired location
e. Open the new document in Nitro Pro and recreate the form fields as required.

Please note that the results may vary with this workaround.

For these documents, you will need to use Adobe to complete the forms but for everything else you can continue to use Nitro. Apologies for any inconvenience caused you. Please let me know if you have any further questions.

I hope this helps!

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Thanks for the reply.

The first question that comes to mind is: How do I know that I'm working with a document that Nitro Pro does not fully support? I really don't want to fill out a 10 page or more form only to find out later when I save it or when I click a check mark on page 9 that messes everything up. Is there some kind of setting that would warn me (I couldn't find a notification setting for this)? If not, then I'd rather always use Adobe Reader for forms.  But this defies a bit the purpose I'm using Nitro Pro in the first place. This issue is rather disappointing because I wanted to go away from using Adobe products altogether. With this experience this doesn't seem to be possible. I'd bet there are tons of forms out there that use/used the LifeCycle Designer. And frankly, as a user I don't care if a product is compliant to some standard - I just want it to work.

Thanks

 

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  • Official Nitronaut
Allain Umailin

Hello @Mmotif,

Thank you for your response.

If you have files that doesn't open or display properly in Nitro Pro, kindly right-clicked on any part of its page > Document Properties. Under General, if Creator shows Adobe LiveCycle or Designer or XML Form Module Library, it is an XFA / XML file.

If you open an XFA or XML document in Nitro Pro, a good sign of checking Document Properties is when you are receiving the following notifications:
-This document contains fillable form fields
-This document is restricted or has limited access to some features

Our latest release, Nitro Pro 11 (which you already have) improved compatibility with these types of documents but issues can still be encountered. This format may not exist in the near future but for the time being, Nitro can only try and improve it's ability to "play nice" with this format with new updates and releases.

I apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you.

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  • 2 months later...

I'm having the same problem today when I tried to complete a US Patent and Trademark Office Form:

https://www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/documents/aia0014.pdf

I got a similar, but less complete, reply from Nitro by email.

The strange thing is that I used an old pdf application that I have Nuance PDF Viewer Plus.  It is version 7.2  from 2012.  It handled the US Patent Office document with no problem at all. It is discouraging at this point to learn that Nitro cannot handle common pdf form documents, but old software that I have can.  Under the hood of pdf documents is not my specialty but it makes no sense that an old pdf app can handle Adobe Lifecycle XFA / XML but Nitro Pro cannot.

There are many things that I really like about Nitro Pro, but not being able to handle common pdf form documents may turn into a deal killer for me.

Edited by breezin
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Thanks Breezin,

It's good to know that I'm not the only one having these issues. I'm at the point where I'm not using Nitro PRO for filling out forms at all anymore because I don't trust it to not eventually screw up all my input and blow up all my work. Sadly, because of this I'm actually contemplating going back use Adobe Acrobat again - more expensive but at least I don't have to worry about compatibility issues.

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I've been using Nitro for several months now and it seemed to be a great alternative to the expensive Acrobat Pro.  Like you, my document didn't blow up until after I had spent quite a bit of time filling in 6 pages of fields, none of which can be wrong.  Unfortunately, the Nitro Pro purchase may have been false economy.  Just a little research reveals even though XFA/ XML  format was not adopted by ISO, it has been widely used since at least as early as May 1999.  See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XFA   

It seems like a serious customer shortchange to ignore the obvious need to include compatibility with the widely used form format.   I'll have to see how it goes using my old PDF View Plus on forms but I would sure prefer to be able to rely upon Nitro Pro for forms as well as pdfs in general.

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  • 1 month later...

Using Nitro v12.

Hi Breezin,

We've got the exact same issue here. Glad to see it's not just us.

I got pretty much the same response from Nitro Support about it being in a proprietary format. However I know that the forms work fine in Nitro Pro 7 so it looks like whatever changes were made to Nitro in the last few iterations is what is causing the issue.

Seeing as there are those with the same issue using Nitro Pro 10 (2 major versions again) I wouldn't hold my breath on a quick fix.

I have found that opening these forms in anything other than NitroPDF and the printing them to the NitroPDF printer "fixes" them so they work properly in Nitro. I am currently trying to set up a way so that these forms are opened in Adobe/Sumatra and then printed using the NitroPDF Printer automatically.

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  • 2 years later...
Bret A. Bennett

Hi,  

Here's an easy workaround in Windows:  

1. Download the PDF and save a copy of the PDF just in case you need a redo.

3. Right click the PDF and select "Open With"  

4. Open with Chrome. You can try "Open With" with Internet Explorer or Windows PDF Reader, but I didn't test them.  

5. Fill out the form fields in Chrome.  

6. Still in Chrome, click the little Printer icon at top right.

7. Drop down the Destination field and select Nitro PDF Creator and print to that.

The editable form fields will be gone, but you'll still have all the cool Nitro Pro pdf authoring features at your finger tips!

Hope that helps.  

Regards . . .

P.S. I cooked up this work around because I didn't want to install the Adobe Reader bloatware and have to deal with Adobe security updates every other day.

Edited by BretAB
Fix typo.
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  • 2 months later...

I just encountered this issue as well. Checked the PDF creator field and it's made Adobe LiveCycle Designer ES 9.0

Again to state @breezin view. Nitro not being able to read these properly is a shortcoming given that Nitro pricing currently, at least in my region, is priced only slight lower than Acrobat DC.

My PDF form is from my bank HSBC which is basically one of the top 5 largest banks in the world with branches in every region. @Mmotif and @breezin issues are with government entities.

This makes it a very big shortcoming where Nitro can't deal with Bank and Government created PDF forms just because it wasn't ratified by ISO and Mmotif brought this issue up in 2018. It would be next to impossible to dictate to Banks and Government Agencies on what standards they create their PDF forms to, it would be much easier if Nitro can handle all these formats given that handling PDFs is supposed to be Nitro's specialty.

I would assume Nitro Pro 13 would've been able to have this fixed between 2018 and 2021. This is making me think about the really undesired solution of going back to Adobe once my Nitro Pro 13 subscription expires.


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