It used to be that software was crappy because of technological limitations. These days software is crap because the vendor chooses to disempower you, or wants to milk you for more cash.

Case in point: Adobe pdfs.

My particular case:
For a client I need to register in their procurement platform. Part of the registration is a standard EU Tender document I have to fill out. It is provided as an interactive PDF that can only be opened with Adobe Acrobat, not with my regular PDF reader on Mac. Adobe Acrobat Reader is not a free tool, far from it at 25 Euro/month, but it has a 7 day free trial period to access all of its functionality.

The client requires me to print the signature page and hand sign it. Normally I would print that single page, sign it, scan it, and replace it in the PDF with the unsigned page. Adobe Acrobat does not allow that. I can only print the entire thing of 14 pages if I want, and can then scan it as a regular PDF to work with it outside Adobe.

What I also cannot do, is print the entire thing to a non-interactive PDF that can then be opened outside Adobe. That step is disabled by the software (you cannot print to preview as a helpful dialogue box let’s me know). It is unclear if it would be possible if I start paying.

Do you know of a way to get out of Adobe Acrobat prison?

9 reactions on “How Do I Open Completed Adobe Interactive PDF As Plain PDF Outside Adobe?

  1. @ton I’m not understanding something. When you print a document, it is now on paper. What’s the point of re-adding it to the document? It sounds like you’re trying to sign something. I’ve always used digital signatures to sign interactive Adobe documents.

  2. @ton I’ve faced that. What I’ve done is signed a blank piece of paper and then scanned it as a small image. I then import the small image into the document and place it over the signature area.

  3. I run into this every year with a US Internal Revenue Service “Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts” (FBAR) filing I must do: it’s a cumbersome PDF form that is very limited in its ability to manage, save, etc. Every year I need to re-download Adobe’s own reader to do the filing.

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