Is it possible to type text into PDF documents?

Discussion in 'Computer Information' started by mookie, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. mookie

    mookie Guest

    I downloaded a job application in PDF format and if possible would like to fill
    it out nice and pretty using the computer. For a second I thought it would be
    possible because when I clicked in a space with the cursor the blinking line
    thing came up like it would be able to start entering text, but tapping keys on
    the keyboard didn't do anything. Also I found that the blinking thing can be put
    in some spots, but not in every place I tried to put it. Is there a way to do
    it, and if so how much freedom is there regarding font size and style?

    mookie, Oct 17, 2013
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  2. mookie

    Paul Guest

    Post a link to the file, for an opinion.

    Paul, Oct 17, 2013
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  3. mookie

    VanguardLH Guest

    So what are you using NOW for a .pdf viewer? Maybe it doesn't support
    Javascript or it has been disabled. Some PDF forms use script to
    validate input that it is the correct data type.

    PDFxchange Viewer will let you add text annotations to a PDF. You
    aren't writing inside the boxes. You are laying the text atop of them.
    Of course, when it comes to signing your name, you're stuck. You could
    try to use a scanner to capture your signature and then paste it into
    the PDF. Never did that with PDFxchange. You could just print the doc,
    sign your name on the hardcopy, and scan it back into a .pdf file to
    send via e-mail.
    VanguardLH, Oct 18, 2013

  4. Whether or not the PDF can be a form that you input information into depends
    on how the PDF was created.
    Jeff Strickland, Oct 18, 2013
  5. mookie

    PeterC Guest

    Yes. I do it a lot in PDF-Xchange Viewer on forms that don't axtually have
    typable boxen.
    PeterC, Oct 18, 2013
  6. I think I'd print out the pdf, enter the data, and rescan it.

    Legend has it that some types of businesses still use fax machines
    precisely because they need the form back with the boxes filled out. I
    don't know if that's legend or truth.

    Michael Black, Oct 18, 2013
  7. mookie

    Paul Guest

    There are organizations the enjoy using OCR on submissions, and
    so a document with computer entered text would definitely
    be preferred. If you somehow put handwriting in the form
    instead, they'd just chuck your document in the garbage
    because it "doesn't fit their workflow", such as it is.

    If there's a line drawn in the document where you enter
    your text, you'd want to make sure the text doesn't touch
    the line. That would screw up the OCR.

    Paul, Oct 18, 2013
  8. There are several. The one I use is called PDFTypewriter, see:

    Not free, but not very expensive ($29), and fairly flexible, although
    the UI is a bit quirky.
    Rich Greenberg, Oct 18, 2013

  9. The person that makes the form drives the buss on whether you can input your
    information directly into it, or not. Technically, a PDF form will allow you
    to fill in the information it is trying to collect, but the person that
    wrote the "form" might really just have created a document that has boxes,
    and this is not a PDF Form, it's just a document like any other PDF

    I once made an HTML Form that collected information, and then sent the
    resulting text input directly to the marketing people so they could make a
    sales call, or whatever they used the information for. I also make a couple
    of PDF forms that harvested the information and sent it back to the
    mothership, or where ever.

    The short answer is, yes they can make a form that lets you fill in the
    information, but they have to create the form with that in mind, you cannot
    always fill in boxes. If you had a more-powerful PDF application, you could
    save the file locally, open it and make inputs as desired and save the
    result, then email the saved file back, but a simple PDF reader is not
    likely to have that functionality.

    Of all of the readers out there, I'd expect Adobe Acrobat Reader to be the
    most likely to allow editing of a PDF, but my instinct is that you actually
    need a PDF Writer applicaton to make edits unless the PDF was really a form,
    then you are not making edits, you are entering information -- which is not
    the same thing.
    Jeff Strickland, Oct 18, 2013
  10. mookie

    Paul Guest

    This is why I want to see a link to the file. To see which
    type it is. Editable, not editable, or a bitmap (which you
    cannot type into).

    It's faster to just look at the form, than document all
    the various twists and turns.

    Paul, Oct 18, 2013
  11. mookie

    PeterC Guest

    I used to be able to 'fax' PDFs from the PC but somehow lost that during
    mods - and haven't needed to do it for 10 years or so.

    If you do type on to a PDF that's to be sent in some way, you'll need to
    'flatten' it so that others can't change what you've done. PDF-X leaves a
    big mark on each page with the free version.
    PeterC, Oct 19, 2013
  12. mookie

    mookie Guest

    Thanks to all you folks for your input! It's not something I need to send over
    the internet, but will be handing it in in person. I'd just rather type it than
    hand write it if possible, since I'm in no hurry and have plenty of time. I've
    found two different copies. One here:

    and the other here:
    mookie, Oct 19, 2013

  13. We've been helping the OP for three days, and he's not been back.
    Jeff Strickland, Oct 19, 2013
  14. mookie

    VanguardLH Guest

    PDF-X. What's that? The PDF-xchange Viewer? PDF/X is a general term
    for a PDF standard (
    looks to be a parked site owned by a squatter waiting to sell that
    domain. Can't be sure what you meant when you don't use the correct

    What big [water]mark are you talking about? When I view PDFs in
    PDFxchange Viewer, there is no watermark. When I print them, and even
    after adding annotation (comments) to them, there is no watermark on the
    hardcopy. Just what are YOU doing in PDFxchange Viewer *free version*
    that is adding a watermark to the file content or hardcopy?

    From the help for PDFxchange Viewer (free version):

    Flatten Comments... hides any content that is not visible when the
    flattening operation is executed and consolidates all layers.

    *IMPORTANT! This is a PRO feature,*
    *see _IMPORTANT! FREE vs. PRO version_ for more information.*

    So I cannot do the flattening of which you speak because I'm using the
    freeware version, and that's the version you also mentioned. In the
    freeware version (you mentioned), flattening is NOT available. Also,
    I would doubt if you paid for the Pro version that they would then
    watermark the document when you flattened the comments. You wouldn't
    pay to spamify your docs.
    VanguardLH, Oct 19, 2013
  15. mookie

    VanguardLH Guest

    How is 10/17/2013 3:34PM when the OP started this thread to 10/19/2013
    3:00 PM when you replied considered 3 days? From his starter post to
    your reply, it was just shy of *2* days. There may be no respondents
    for many days. The OP may not return until a week later, like from
    weekend to weekend when they have the time to spend in Usenet. Not
    every thread demands urgency. Some respondents reopen a thread a month,
    or more, later. This is Usenet, not a chat room where immediacy is

    Also, the OP was back 12 minutes before you posted. You might want to
    shorten the refresh interval of your NNTP client (Forte Agent), or
    remember to refresh before posting to make sure your view is up to date.
    12 minutes is a bit close for Usenet posts. I have mine set to refresh
    at 5-minute intervals but that still means someone could post within
    that interval before I respond. Sometimes I remember to refresh before
    posting but sometimes I forget since it is a manual operation.
    VanguardLH, Oct 19, 2013
  16. mookie

    Paul Guest

    Thanks for the links.

    The first one, is not intended as an editable form. According to
    Wikipedia, an editable form is an "Acroform". So if you were
    searching in Google, you might look for tools that work on
    Acroforms. And even if you found such a tool (which should be
    common), it wouldn't work with this form, because this PDF
    is an "ordinary: one. In theory, Acrobat Reader could type
    into an Acroform and save it, but I've never run into one of
    those forms in causal newgroup work. Even government tax forms
    aren't Acroform format.

    It's possible a PDF editor could make changes. Security settings
    on the document can stop that. I tried to install the free
    version of PDF XChange, and it just sat there scanning my C:
    partition for some reason, pretending to "figure out space
    needed for installation". I shut the installer down and moved on.
    So I couldn't test that one in my Vista test VM.

    The first document appears to have a couple subtle features in
    it, to make the kind of editing you want to do a bit more miserable.
    If you look carefully at the "underlines" where you're supposed
    to enter your personal details, some of them are regular graphic
    lines (i.e. drawn in). While others are formed from a series of
    underline characters (which could be edited with the right tool).
    I believe someone did that on purpose, to piss me off :) There
    was no need of that. The form design could have been done
    uniformly with just one way of doing it.

    Based on the tools I have here, the most practical solution is
    to pull the file into GIMP (similar to Photoshop), and just enter
    text strings over top. And that is definitely not very convenient.
    To do that, you download GhostScript and install it. Download
    GIMP and install it. Go into GIMP, and tell it where to find
    GhostScript executable. Use GIMP to open the PDF. The file is
    converted to a bitmap. You type text strings over top, then print.

    I tried re-distilling the document, but it uses embedded fonts,
    and I don't know of a way immediately for me to undo that. The
    embedded fonts were not really required, as the document fonts
    are common ones available on all computers. Again, this smacks
    of a deliberate attempt to make it difficult to use the tools
    I want to use.

    One thing that did work (impressed me a little bit), was
    a copy of LibreOffice opened the first document. But (boo hiss),
    the program could not render the document properly on the screen,
    just like what happens when importing Word documents into
    non-Microsoft word processing tools. So this one held great
    promise. Maybe if I come back five years from now, that
    one will work. LibreOffice is free software, based on OpenOffice,
    and is an attempt to duplicate many of the capabilities
    of the Microsoft tool suite. So far, LibreOffice came closest
    to dealing with it. Maybe someone who succeeds in installing
    PDF XChange, can test that one on the first document for you.
    The installer for that program, is making me a little nervous.


    Your second document is a bitmap. That means you cannot change their
    original text (the form headers and the like), without the equivalent
    of "Photoshopping". Again, with the right tool, you can still add
    text to that one. The second one is even less "computer savvy"
    than your first form. The GIMP photo editing program could
    do this one too, but again, entering text in a photo editing
    tool isn't a lot of fun. You can't just "wipe" the area
    you want to work in, and instantly get good alignment of
    your text entry in the window. That's what an Acroform
    version of the form would have done for you.

    Also, when I tried to use the Paper Capture feature of
    my Acrobat Exchange (paid copy), Exchange rejected the
    document, saying it "wasn't a pure enough image". That
    means there were elements of some type in the document,
    that convinced it to not bother running OCR. I was hoping
    to convert the bitmap back into text. Acrobat Exchange
    (which isn't necessarily that cheap) has an OCR feature,
    where it can convert a scanned bitmap back into text.
    It works, but like any OCR, it can make mistakes. But
    in this case, there must be something in the document
    other than the bitmap I could see, and that prevented
    the program from treating it as if it was "fresh off
    a scanner".


    Convert both documents for Photoshopping, then add
    your text in there. While PDF Xchange may work,
    I'll wait for someone else to give that a try.

    Some day, LibreOffice Writer will be able to do this.
    Some day...

    Paul, Oct 20, 2013
  17. mookie

    Paul Guest

    He came back, and they're the typical "not very convenient"
    type of PDFs. Par for the course, when it comes to PDF. Not
    many people are good at making forms like that. I should
    give a course or something :)

    Paul, Oct 20, 2013
  18. mookie

    PeterC Guest

    The full name is a bit of (virtual) mouthful so I used an abbreviation. I
    didn't realise that it was already used for something else and I apologise
    for confusing you by using it without any supporting context in previous
    That is correct.
    It is possible to use some of the Pro features and there will be a warning
    about the girt big mark. I have used Pro features such as removing pages and
    there are marks. I have flattened a file, with the same result, but not for
    several versions now so I don't know if that is still possible with the free

    The Pro does not, of course, leave marks, although there have been some
    comments in the forum about it happening when upgrading to Pro from free.
    Of course, and PDF marked cannot be unmarked by using the free version.
    PeterC, Oct 20, 2013
  19. mookie

    VanguardLH Guest

    Ah, I enabled the option to hide Pro settings (in the free version). I
    didn't see the point in seeing features that I couldn't use. Then the
    flattening entry showed up under the Comments menu and when I tried to
    use the flattening feature then I get:

    You may use it in the FREE version - but it will result in DEMO(!)
    labels on your PDF pages if you save the file.

    So if you have the free version then just use the free version's actual
    feature set. That they let you trial the Pro features is just a lure to
    let you see how the product works if you pay for it. That's no
    different than getting trialware to see how the full product will
    behave. With trialware, it expires but is fully functional. Here their
    trial doesn't expire but you're punished for trying to use it from their
    freeware version.

    The DEMO watermark only appears after you save the changed content into
    a file, not when you print it before saving to file. The file update
    operation is what adds the watermark. So add your comment, flatten, and
    print before saving the changed content to a file. Do you need a PDF
    copy with the changes and no watermark? Well, "print" the modified and
    flattened PDF using a "PDF printer" (e.g., Bullzip, PDFcreator, etc).
    Since printing before file save doesn't add the watermark, printing
    before file save to a .pdf file using a PDF printer also results in no
    watermark in output.

    So while they do offer a preview of the paid Pro features in the
    freeware version, you can circumvent the watermark on flattening a PDF.
    Of course, you really don't have to flatten the original PDF. Just add
    your comments and print to the PDF printer. The .pdf file outputted by
    the PDF printer is already flattened. You could keep the original .pdf
    file so you could change or delete your annotations/comments along with
    the flattened version "printed" out to a .pdf file.

    Since anyone could annotate the PDF they receive from you, it wouldn't
    matter if you flattened it or not trying to make it uneditable after you
    modified it. Just like you, they could annotate but actually leave the
    area blank to cover up what you put there. They just layer over yours.
    So if you don't flatten, they could select the comment and delete it.
    If you do flatten, they can annotate to effectively erase or alter your
    comment, and then they flatten so someone cannot later remove their
    blanking annotation to reveal your comment. In either case, your
    comment is gone.

    That you flatten to make it less easy for someone else to modify your
    PDF doesn't prevent them from doing the same annotation you did (to wipe
    out your comment) and then they flatten it. With the free version, you
    don't need to bother with the DEMO watermark trying to use a preview
    (trialware) feature in the free version. Either print the modified PDF
    before saving it to a file, and if you need it as another PDF instead of
    paper hardcopy then "print" using a PDF printer that will also flatten
    the doc in its outputted .pdf file.
    VanguardLH, Oct 20, 2013
  20. mookie

    Paul Guest

    PDF Xchange continues to make me nervous.

    When I tried a Pro feature, it didn't add a watermark to my document.
    So I don't even get to see how hard it would be to remove the Demo
    watermark. I used to remove watermarks from documents at work, just
    for fun, so was looking for a challenge.

    The program also exhibits some strange behaviors. It almost
    looks like it's scanning for something.

    I won't be installing this on my main OS, and it'll be staying
    in a VM for now, until the VM is chucked.

    Paul, Oct 20, 2013
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