Forum Thread

Problems viewing user fillable PDF on iPhone?

outback_97 592 197 August 16, 2011 at 03:59 PM
Our business has a fillable PDF that sales reps will fill out as a sales report when they visit a customer location. The sales reps will email these to the owner, who reviews them periodically to see what's going on in the field. I realize we could make a contact form on the website, but a) everyone involved seems to prefer this current method and b) sometimes the rep is in an area with no internet connection, in which case he can still fill out the forms to be sent at a later date.

This system worked great until recently, when the owner started viewing them on his iPhone. The PDF form is there as an attachment, but the user fillable fields are all blank. They display fine when opened on a PC using Outlook or Thunderbird, and also work fine using a web based email browser on the PC. Only the iPhone has trouble displaying the user entered fields.

Any suggestions on what to try? Thanks!

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#2
not an iphone user but has the owner tried downloading them vs just opening them as an attachment?
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#3
Good question... I'm not sure I understand the distinction though. It seems like one would have to download a PDF to view it at all, but I'm not sure. To clarify, other PDF's work fine, it's something about the fillable form that doesn't seem to get along with the phone.

Part of the problem is that I don't have an iPhone either, so it makes it hard to test this out. I have to keep bugging other people there to try stuff out... maybe if they get annoyed enough they'll just buy one for me, but I'm not sure that I really even want one.
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#4
the pdf viewers on phones and tablets are very basic and may just not understand the formatting of a fillable PDF form.
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all tech support threads will now be answered with possibly random and false information.
This is due to the retardedness of posters and answering posters in general.
thank you, have a nice day.
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#5
Quote from R1Budha View Post :
the pdf viewers on phones and tablets are very basic and may just not understand the formatting of a fillable PDF form.
Correct, particularly the iPhone viewer. Sometimes I've had problems even getting it to work period. You will most definitely have to find a 3rd party application that is capable of handling this task, the iPhone will not handle this natively.
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Reading comprehension isn't just for school children!
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#6
Quote from brbubba View Post :
Correct, particularly the iPhone viewer. Sometimes I've had problems even getting it to work period. You will most definitely have to find a 3rd party application that is capable of handling this task, the iPhone will not handle this natively.
Thanks for the feedback guys, this helps a lot. Looking online at solutions for this, I saw this:
http://forums.dropbox.com/topic.php?id=16452

This describes the problem we're having exactly. One of the suggestions was to use Readdle, I had one of the other guys in the office download it and it does render the PDF properly.

The next thing is to try to figure out if there's a way to get Readdle to open the PDF's automatically. Right now the process works but isn't ideal. One has to see that there are emails with PDF's, back out of the email program, launch Readdle, then open these emails. I would prefer that any PDF's are opened with Readdle upon receipt, but maybe that's not even an option.

If anyone has further info on that, please let me know, thanks very much for the helpful responses.
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#7
I contacted the people that make this app -
Quote from outback_97 :
We started using the ReaddleDocs app and it is working well to view PDF's that the standard iPhone view couldn't display properly

Is there a way to make Readdle the default viewer for PDF's when they arrive in email? Right now the process involves more steps than we'd like, we have to see that there are PDF attachments, go out of email, then go into Readdle. We'd like this handled in one step if possible. Thank you.
Got a very quick response, unfortunately not what I wanted to hear, but at least they replied:
Quote from Readdle :
Dear Steve,

Thank you for the feedback. Unfortunately there is no way to make it because Apple doesn't permit to set up another iOS viewer that its own in Mail application. Please use "Open In ReaddleDocs" to open that mail attachments in our app.
I guess that means that any app will have the same limitation. Oh well, if anyone else has suggestions that might work, please feel free to share, thanks.
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#8
Quote from outback_97 View Post :
I contacted the people that make this app -


Got a very quick response, unfortunately not what I wanted to hear, but at least they replied:


I guess that means that any app will have the same limitation. Oh well, if anyone else has suggestions that might work, please feel free to share, thanks.
Pretty much. You are really limited in what you can do with iOS. A web based form might be your best bet since it would presumably work across multiple platforms and you can create an application like shortcut on the iPhone directly to it. Other than that your only option would be to develop your own app from scratch, ha ha.
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#9
yea and hope apple approves the app. that or tell your boss to get an android /blackberry phone or what ever works for what you are trying to do.
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#10
Quote from brbubba View Post :
Pretty much. You are really limited in what you can do with iOS. A web based form might be your best bet since it would presumably work across multiple platforms and you can create an application like shortcut on the iPhone directly to it. Other than that your only option would be to develop your own app from scratch, ha ha.
Quote from mrbobhcrhs View Post :
yea and hope apple approves the app. that or tell your boss to get an android /blackberry phone or what ever works for what you are trying to do.
I have about as much luck telling him what to do as I would have making an app without owning a phone laugh out loud

Just to verify that it wasn't only my form having issues, I tried a Schedule A fillable form from the irs.gov website, it exhibits the same behavior.

I put together a web based form that would work but am not planning on using it at this time for the reasons mentioned in the original post.

In the event that things change, I'll have that ready to go. Thanks again guys.
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#11
I would make a mobile web page with a fillable form that feeds into something like http://jasperforge.org/ to generate a nice pdf and email it out. It would complicate things but you could make use of local storage [w3.org] to facilitate offline usage of a form like this.
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#12
Quote from jkee View Post :
I would make a mobile web page with a fillable form that feeds into something like http://jasperforge.org/ to generate a nice pdf and email it out. It would complicate things but you could make use of local storage [w3.org] to facilitate offline usage of a form like this.
Looks interesting, but probably beyond my skill level without putting a lot of time into it. I can make a simple WP site and do HTML and some CSS, but this stuff is not my primary job. It's just that it's a small company and I'm the "computer guy".

With the exception of the PDF's not rendering fully on the iPhone, everyone seems happy with the current system. The easy solution is for the owner to just view these reports on one of four computers he uses, either in the office here, at home on his desktop or laptop, or on the desktop at his second house. All of which are capable of viewing the PDF's fine. I had just thought it was something wrong with my PDF form, rather than a limitation of the iPhone's PDF capabilities.

The sales reps probably don't want to fill a call report form out via a phone anyway, at least if there's anything of substance to say.

Thanks and repped all the same, I will look into the jasperforge stuff just for my own edification and possible future uses.
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