SOLVED: Can't view pdf forms in any pdf viewers.

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faffmeister
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SOLVED: Can't view pdf forms in any pdf viewers.

Post by faffmeister » Wed Apr 06, 2011 6:56 pm

Note: Although I found this problem in 64 bit LMDE, I have posted here rather than in LMDE because this will certainly affect other Debian based LM versions. Allegedly* this isn't a problem on Ubuntu based distro's (Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Linux Mint Main, etc). I don't know; I didn't try it on one.

As the tax return season is upon us here in the UK, I thought this might be a timely posting for some people.

The problem.

A couple of days ago, I tried viewing a form from HMRC that has active text or form areas (for example: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/forms/cf10.pdf). You can enter text and then print it**.

Problem was that it opened in all my available pdf readers on any of the linux distro's I use with this:

"Please wait...
If this message is not eventually replaced by the proper contents of the document, your PDF
viewer may not be able to display this type of document.
You can upgrade to the latest version of Adobe Reader for Windows®, Mac, or Linux® by
visiting http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html.
For more assistance with Adobe Reader visit http://www.adobe.com/support/products/
acrreader.html.
Windows is either a registered trademark or a trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. Mac is a trademark
of Apple Inc., registered in the United States and other countries. Linux is the registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in the U.S. and other
countries."

or:

"To view the full contents of this document, you need a later version of the PDF viewer. You can upgrade
to the latest version of Adobe Reader from http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html
For further support, go to http://www.adobe.com/support/products/acrreader.html"

It would not show me the form. I don't think I would even have able to print it out as a blank form; I didn't try.

Different operating systems: Linux Mint Debian Edition, Mepis 8, Mepis 7.

No form.

I tried Kpdf, Evince and even installed Acroreader 9.4.2 (the most recent available from Adobe for Linux) from the repositories.

All the same.

Couldn't see the form.

Tried the same on an XP box with Version 8 Acroread and it was fine. Saved the file copied it across to a Linux box and opened it in the same version of Acroread. No form.

This evening I fixed it.

At least on my LMDE 64 bit machine.


The fix.

If you install Adobe reader from the Debian testing repositories (which is where LMDE points you to) using Synaptic, when you do "Mark for installation" on Acroread you should find that Synaptic also offers "Mark suggested for installation >" at the bottom of the dialogue box.

In the drop down list if you slide right, you should find "acroread-plugins".

Click on that and Synaptic will also install "acroread-escript".

Click on apply and that should provide the missing functionality required to make these forms visible in Debian based Linux distributions.

When I first installed acroread, I had missed the "Mark suggested for installation >" step.

Some background info on the extra features:

The acroread-plugins package contains plugins who enable javascript in acroread and thus
make acroread able to send to a remote host which pdf files you are
reading. See http://lwn.net/Articles/129729/

The Adobe EScript (ECMA Script) Plug-In allows PDF documents to take
advantage of JavaScript. See the Acrobat JavaScript Object Specification
(AcroJS.pdf) for more details. This document can be accessed through
Adobe's web site.

The link to the article about the plugins is a bit of an eye opener.

* http://forums.adobe.com/message/3598490#3598490
** You can't save a partly completed form. Daft but that's a different issue.

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nunol
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Re: SOLVED: Can't view pdf forms in any pdf viewers.

Post by nunol » Wed Apr 06, 2011 9:25 pm

faffmeister wrote:As the tax return season is upon us here in the UK, I thought this might be a timely posting for some people.
It's good to know. Thanks.

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