Is it possible to type text into PDF documents?

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

  1. mookie

    Paul Guest

    I eventually got a working solution.

    It turns out, my ancient copy of Acrobat Exchange, does
    have Acroform capability. But the documentation doesn't
    call it Acroform. What I did, is add invisible boxes
    to the document, and if I give the form to someone now,
    they can type their particulars into the invisible boxes.
    Each box is drawn by hand (the tool doesn't have grids,
    so people with shaky hands need not apply).

    The limitation is, once I've finished preparing the modified
    PDF, and you receive it as a user, if you type into the
    document, all you do is print the resulting document.
    The text you enter, can't be saved for later. So with
    that kind of form, it's mainly so you can print off
    a copy with your clean text typed in. I expect that's
    more or less what you wanted, but I still consider it
    a stupid limitation for a computer tool.

    This is a snapshot of me filling out my form, in
    preparation for sending it off to the employer. The
    print looks similar to this. The silly stuff I typed
    in here, disappears forever as soon as I quit Acrobat
    Reader. So if I want to keep this for later, I need
    to print it off. You can't see the invisible boxes
    I inserted, because, well, they're invisible.

    http://imageshack.us/a/img197/820/pdw.gif

    To make the "o" around the number 6, I used a
    relatively large font size, so the "o" would fit
    around the number. It took a few tries to get it more
    or less centered. Making an "x" line up with the tick
    boxes in the form, is a similar pain to do. In some
    cases, those line up better if I type in " x".

    So if I was the HR person making this form, I'd suffer
    a small amount of hair loss, using the Acroform idea.

    Paul
     
    Paul, Oct 20, 2013
    #21
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  2. mookie

    mookie Guest

    Thank you for taking the time to check all that out! What you told me is way
    over my head and I don't understand half of it. However in sniffing around in
    other directions I found things that might work and that you may or may not be
    interested in. In doing a Google search for how to type on pdf I came across
    several hopeful options. Since I'm on dial up and have the slowest internet
    access in the world it takes 20 minutes to do what most people can probably do
    in seconds....that is when I'm lucky and it doesn't just lock down and do
    nothing at all. Anyway, from playing around with it the best for me so far has
    been at: http://www.pdfescape.com/ where I entered the url of the doc, it
    brought it up, and I was able to enter text and circle things, etc. If it's
    possible to download that free I might want to do it but haven't put in the time
    to find out yet because I went on to look at a few more. At:
    http://www.pdffiller.com/ I entered the url again and it said it was 100% done,
    but didn't actually bring up the doc like at the first place did so I don't know
    if it's any good or not....maybe because of lameness on this computer and
    connection. At: http://www.pdfill.com/freewriter.html and:
    http://www.iskysoft.us/lp/pdf-editing/?gclid=CNK9z6WSproCFURp7AodK0wAEA
    it looks like they have free downloadable programs but I didn't take the loooong
    time it would take to try them out with my slow system. There are more too it
    seems like but that's as far as I went with it this session, thinking I'd share
    what I found with you folks and see if you want to check it out and get back
    with me about it. If so I'm interested in what you decide about this stuff, but
    if not I sure do thank you people for the time and help you've put into this
    already.
     
    mookie, Oct 20, 2013
    #22
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  3. mookie

    mookie Guest

    p.s. The term watermark keeps coming up but I didn't understand the definition I
    looked up. Can you give me a simple explanation of what the term means, or what
    it sort of means if an actual explanation would be complicated?
     
    mookie, Oct 20, 2013
    #23
  4. mookie

    Paul Guest

    It means they add a blemish to the "Save As" document,
    so that you can't hand your printed output to your
    prospective employer :)

    At work, we used to place a diagonal "Unofficial Copy"
    text string, in red print, right in the middle of
    each page of text. That was a form of watermark.

    (I hate these... when they prevent you from reading the black text)

    http://www.soliddocuments.com/images/slides/createwatermarks_5.png

    So the idea there, is to destroy the document so it
    can't be used for a practical purpose.

    When I used to get the documents with the red colored
    "Unofficial Copy" in the center of the page, I would
    use my small collection of tools to remove it, then
    print off a nice clean copy of the document. The thing
    is, in many cases, the watermark interfered enough
    with the document, to make the printed copy impossible
    to read. (People making the watermark, forgot to make
    the body of the watermark transparent.) Which kind of
    defeats the purpose of handing someone a PDF in the
    first place.

    There are other kinds of watermarks. One is used
    in modern printers. If a person attempts to print
    currency on a color laser printer, the printer places
    yellow dots on each print, that indicate the serial
    number of the equipment. It's a form of steganography,
    a "hiding of information in a sea of data". The dots
    are intended to be light enough in color, that a
    casual examination won't find them. But if you
    know they're present, you can go looking for them.
    It allows the Secret Service to track down
    a naive person who is printing currency with a
    color laser printer.

    Similar schemes are used on color photocopy machines.
    And photocopiers now, even have hard drives, keeping
    a log of what's been done on the machine. So don't
    go copying any currency on the color photocopier either,
    as it is designed to recognize currency and stop
    the copy.

    It's even possible these features exist on inkjet
    printers. But don't quote me on that. I don't know
    if you could do quality currency reproduction on
    an inkjet or not :) The ink would probably run on
    too much.

    Paul
     
    Paul, Oct 20, 2013
    #24
  5. mookie

    VanguardLH Guest

    I don't know that all PRO trial features in the freeware version will
    generate a watermark. Look in its help as it sometimes mentions when it
    will add the DEMO watermark for trialing a Pro-only feature. For Peter
    and I, we were discussing flattening of comments so they could not
    easily be removed later (which doesn't obviate someone laying another
    comment atop yours that is blank and flattening the doc to wipe away
    your comment).

    Did you add a comment to a PDF (use the Typewriter toolbar button)? Did
    you then try to flatten it using the entry under the Comments menu
    (provided you do not configure PDFxchange Viewer to hide Pro-only
    features)? Once you flattened your new comment, did you then *save* the
    modified copy back into a file? The watermark shows up when you save
    the modified document.

    When I use a Pro-only trial feature in the freeware version, I get a
    prompt when I go to save the file telling me the DEMO watermark will
    appear on each page. The watermark is a black hazard symbol highlighted
    by a yellow fringe with "Click to Buy NOW!" and other text inside the
    black part of the hazard symbol. The watermark is not applied until you
    SAVE the modified .pdf file and after having used a Pro-only feature.

    I haven't a clue what you mean by "it's scanning for something." It
    does include an OCR function. You'll see an "OCR" button in the File
    Toolbar. I haven't used it since OCR has previously been unreliable
    even with expensive payware OCR programs. Doesn't seem to work in
    scanned docs converted to PDFs which comprises most of my PDFs. I have
    a couple that are gov't PDFs and look to be forms but the OCR button
    becomes disabled. I have a credit check PDF that was sent to me and
    looks like just text but after the OCR completes I didn't see any change
    in the document (i.e., nothing changed in the view). Since the idea is
    to take something that isn't text (i.e., an image) and find text-looking
    portions of it to convert into text, and since it doesn't nothing in my
    scanned docs (images) saved into a .pdf file, I don't know what their
    OCR is supposed to do or if it even works.
     
    VanguardLH, Oct 21, 2013
    #25
  6. mookie

    Paul Guest

    The program is reading the hard drive a bit too much.

    During my first attempt to install the program, it did
    an extensive disk search. I shut down that VM, decompressed
    a new VM from source (all my previous installed programs gone),
    and then the installer behaved better and installed without a
    fuss.

    While using PDF XChange, I also had an instance where the
    interface froze up, dialog was grayed out and it didn't come
    back. I had to kill it from Task Manager. Running it again,
    it then had no problem.

    I don't know what they're doing in there, but I continue
    to be unimpressed with how active it is behind the scenes.
    Like it's looking for license keys or something.

    I want programs that are well behaved, and don't make
    an ass of themselves with how clever they are. I can't see
    me letting that thing loose on my main OS. It'll be
    sitting in the pig pen (VM).

    Paul
     
    Paul, Oct 21, 2013
    #26
  7. mookie

    PeterC Guest

    That can be made more difficult by using a password.
    On the Toolbar I have the "Save copy as" button - very useful for not
    borking the One and Only.
    Just added and flattened a comment then printed to PDF with PDF Factory
    without saving the original. There's not any (visible) degradation in
    quality.
     
    PeterC, Oct 21, 2013
    #27
  8. mookie

    PeterC Guest

    I've been using it for a few years (did a lot of research first - the name
    of the company didn't inspire my trust! The devs. etc. are very good in the
    forums, addressing and, where possible, quickly fixing problems). Never have
    I seen any untoward activity with HDD, CPU or network. Also never had the
    issues that you describe.
    I'm trying the Editor (v3, effectively) but it doesn't yet have the
    functionality of v2.
     
    PeterC, Oct 21, 2013
    #28
  9. mookie

    VanguardLH Guest

    From where are you downloading the program?

    Do NOT use the sponsored links at the top of a Google search. Googles
    sells adwords to whomever wants to buy them. Google does not mandate
    whomever buys an adword has the rights to use it. Competing company B
    can buy adwords that references company A. Users that do a Google
    search may see what looks like links to company A but those are
    deceptive adwords bought by company B to lure you to their site. Tis
    another reason why I don't use Google because they deliberately don't
    enforce restrictions on misdirection using adwords. They just want the
    money selling the adwords to whomever wants to buy them.

    At many download sites (e.g., CNet's download.com and Softpedia.com),
    and if you don't have adblocking enabled, you may see multiple
    "Download" buttons on a web page there. They might make the biggest one
    that draws your attention lead you to some other product.

    Starting at http://www.tracker-software.com/product/pdf-xchange-viewer
    shows you a list of their download links. Get the program from where
    they choose to host their files.

    I don't know from where you got the installer but the symptoms you
    described I have never experienced or even heard as experienced by other
    users of PDFxchange Viewer. After I load the program, whether before or
    after having it load a .pdf file, it doesn't do any disk access
    thereafter.

    You might want to get a file monitor, like SysInternals FileMon (which
    they later rolled together with RegMon to replace with Process Monitor).
    That would let you know if all that disk activity was generated by
    PDFXchange Viewer or something else.
     
    VanguardLH, Oct 21, 2013
    #29
  10. mookie

    mookie Guest

    Thankyou for the good explanation. Now that you told me I'm familiar with seeing
    them and have even noticed a few on other things since you explained it.

    Did you check out any of the editting programs I mentioned in the post I made
    before the last one you replied to? If so, do you like any of them?
     
    mookie, Oct 21, 2013
    #30
  11. mookie

    Paul Guest

    I haven't had a chance to try them yet.

    http://www.pdfescape.com/ where I entered the url of the doc, it
    brought it up, and I was able to enter text and circle things, etc.
    If it's possible to download that free I might want to do it but
    haven't put in the time to find out yet because I went on to look
    at a few more. At: http://www.pdffiller.com/ I entered the url again
    and it said it was 100% done, but didn't actually bring up the doc
    like at the first place did so I don't know if it's any good or not....
    maybe because of lameness on this computer and connection.
    At: http://www.pdfill.com/freewriter.html and:
    http://www.iskysoft.us/lp/pdf-editing/?gclid=CNK9z6WSproCFURp7AodK0wAEA

    Paul
     
    Paul, Oct 21, 2013
    #31
  12. mookie

    Paul Guest

    http://www.pdfescape.com/

    Worked fine. Did the Save and Download after editing, and it saved the
    edits OK.

    *******

    http://www.pdffiller.com

    Lame interface. Couldn't load a doc.

    *******

    http://www.pdfill.com/freewriter.html

    That one appears to be some sort of printer driver,
    which would take too long to test.

    *******

    The iskysoft.us one, I downloaded, and at least the virustotal scan
    is clean. It would take time to test that in a VM, for safety.

    https://www.virustotal.com/en/file/...6465f122a033c4fb690faed38bb4ca0ac48/analysis/

    For casual usage, your first one looks like a winner!

    Paul
     
    Paul, Oct 21, 2013
    #32
  13. mookie

    meagain Guest

    There are several types of PDF files:
    ftp://ftp.scansoft.com/products/pdfconverter/whitepapers/WP_WhatisPDF.pdf

    Normal,
    Image (cannot type into that!)
    True
    Wrapped
    PDF Image + Text
    PDF-wrapped TIFF

    ....
     
    meagain, Oct 22, 2013
    #33
  14. You should ask the author of the PDF to make changes for you!

    PDFs were supposed to be **PUBLISHED** documents. Readers should not
    have the ability to change them!! :)

    --
    @~@ Remain silent. Nothing from soldiers and magicians is real!
    / v \ Simplicity is Beauty! May the Force and farces be with you!
    /( _ )\ (Fedora 19 i686) Linux 3.11.4-201.fc19.i686
    ^ ^ 18:48:01 up 2 days 14:11 0 users load average: 0.00 0.01 0.05
    ä¸å€Ÿè²¸! ä¸è©é¨™! ä¸æ´äº¤! ä¸æ‰“交! ä¸æ‰“劫! ä¸è‡ªæ®º! è«‹è€ƒæ…®ç¶œæ´ (CSSA):
    http://www.swd.gov.hk/tc/index/site_pubsvc/page_socsecu/sub_addressesa
     
    Mr. Man-wai Chang, Oct 24, 2013
    #34
  15. mookie

    meagain Guest

    Almost, but today some PDF files are FORMS intended to be filled in by 'readers'.
     
    meagain, Oct 25, 2013
    #35
  16. I guess that's what made secured PDFs vulnerable... :)

    --
    @~@ Remain silent. Nothing from soldiers and magicians is real!
    / v \ Simplicity is Beauty! May the Force and farces be with you!
    /( _ )\ (Fedora 19 i686) Linux 3.11.4-201.fc19.i686
    ^ ^ 22:27:02 up 4 days 12:21 0 users load average: 0.00 0.01 0.05
    ä¸å€Ÿè²¸! ä¸è©é¨™! ä¸æ´äº¤! ä¸æ‰“交! ä¸æ‰“劫! ä¸è‡ªæ®º! è«‹è€ƒæ…®ç¶œæ´ (CSSA):
    http://www.swd.gov.hk/tc/index/site_pubsvc/page_socsecu/sub_addressesa
     
    Mr. Man-wai Chang, Oct 26, 2013
    #36
  17. mookie

    VanguardLH Guest

    It was supporting Javascript (can be disabled) which is used to validate
    that input is the correct type, like only numbers going into a telephone
    field. Adobe decided to allow PDFs to carry a payload. That is you can
    attach another file to a PDF, and it doesn't have to be another PDF
    file. It could be executable. On loading a PDF, there is a "feature"
    of to run a "launch" action.

    In PDFxchange Viewer, I configured it as follows:
    - Disable Javascript. I have yet to deal with a PDF with forms or those
    that mandate validation of entry into fields. YMMV.
    - Disallow any non-PDF attachments.
    - Disable launch actions.

    These were available as user-configurable options in PDFxchange Viewer
    long before they showed up in Adobe's Reader. I believe (but don't use
    so cannot substantiate) that Adobe finally got around to adding security
    options for these features.
     
    VanguardLH, Oct 26, 2013
    #37
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