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PDF files with lines & rectangles in Preview work like forms Apps
PDF files with horizontal lines and rectangles, but not created as PDF form files, can be filled in as if they were actual PDF form files. Clicking on a line starts a text field the same width as the line. Clicking on a small rectangle toggles a check mark. Rectangles large enough for text entry are not treated as check boxes, but as text fields the same width as the box. After entering text on a line or in a text box, the text may be moved anywhere on the document and retain the formatting. And unlike PDF form files, text attributes as well as text field widths can be changed at will.

[kirkmc adds: I made a test document with Pages, and it works as described. This is pretty neat. I don't know if this is new in Mountain Lion, or if it existed before.]
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PDF files with lines & rectangles in Preview work like forms | 7 comments | Create New Account
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PDF files with lines & rectangles in Preview work like forms
Authored by: eyeless on Aug 09, '12 08:27:35AM

Just noted that PDFs created with Microsoft Office 2007 on PCs can now be opened correctly with Preview, while they could not earlier be opened without Adobe Reader (correctly), so some things have changed ... .



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PDF files with lines & rectangles in Preview work like forms
Authored by: fferitt25 on Aug 14, '12 08:43:56AM

That might have simply been some update you didn't run.

I deal with Word and WordX Docs all day long using Mac Office 08 and Win Office 07 (for the past 10 months) - converting to PDF for various reasons.

I get formatting issues - but that's typically because someone has done some crazy formatting on a newer version and it breaks either on the older software or going from Mac to Win.

As Reader and Preview are nearly interchangeable with PDF Files.


AS FOR the Topic:
Preview in older versions - the only editing I ever have found was a quick fix to move pages around or add / delete pages in a multipage PDF file. But yeah no go for content tweaks via older Preview versions.

Probably since they named the Application "Preview". But sounds like they are adding in editing capabilities witht the newer versions - so I wouldn't be surprised at some point if they rename it.

I'm still stuck in SNL (so for now I can check the old stuff)



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PDF files with lines & rectangles in Preview work like forms
Authored by: eyeless on Aug 14, '12 01:27:51PM

Yes, my comment was slight off topic, but one thing I also wanted to note was that Adobe Reader is still mostly necessary on the Mac for the simple reason that it still can handle more variants of PDF files, but also wanted to note with my comment that Preview is getting closer to make Adobe Reader totally redundant. We also tested the PDF in a a previous version of Preview where it was not possible to open, while it was possible to open with the latest version of Preview (and on both systems with later versions of Adobe Reader it was readable). A quick search on the web also reveals that it has been well known that many PDFs created in MS Office 2007 (Windows) does not play well with previous versions of Preview. MS Office 2007 does something odd when it creates PDFs (at least with certain formatting). So the point is that one can always try Adobe Reader if a PDF does not look good in Preview, but that you will more likely not have this problem with the latest version of Preview.



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PDF files with lines & rectangles in Preview work like forms
Authored by: earthsaver on Aug 09, '12 09:49:00AM

This is among the new features of Preview in ML listed on Apple's features page.

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- Ben Rosenthal
MacBook Pro 2.8GHz - Mountain Lion
iPad 3 4G



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PDF files with lines & rectangles in Preview work like forms
Authored by: dilvish1984 on Aug 09, '12 04:19:15PM

Yep, for those interested they do indeed list it here (top of the middle column).

It seems like that's a big enough feature that it would be better advertised -- so darn useful. Thanks to the OP for the hint!

Edited on Aug 09, '12 04:20:15PM by dilvish1984


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PDF files with lines & rectangles in Preview work like forms
Authored by: vdubya on Aug 09, '12 10:57:13AM

Great tip. I also was able to add a table to a homemade Pages 'form'. You can even tab between cells, however if you move the text in a cell the tabbing for that cell doesn't seem to work anymore. You can still edit the moved text just like the other fields you've create.

I have PDFpen Pro and love it, but I can see using the Pages (or any other word processor I guess) + Preview solution for down & dirty forms.



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Disable this Feature?
Authored by: caddyzig on Oct 10, '12 01:19:38PM

This is an incredibly useful feature for end users who encounter "forms" that are just basic PDFs, but very frustrating for those of us who have already spent the time creating PDF forms for posting online. This new feature actually overrides form fields that have been created and generates its own (often incorrectly or incompletely).

Has anyone found a way to force OS X to honor existing form fields for documents posted online? Apple should automatically turn this feature off if PDFs include form fields, allowing users to manually turn it back on somehow.



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