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I've been using Preview on OS X Lion to fill out PDF forms. When I save the form and send it to someone via email, they tell me the form is blank. When I re-open the saved form, all the data is still there.

I assume the problem exists when trying to open on Windows PCs.

Here's an example form I filled out and saved.

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What version of Adobe are you using and what version are they using? Or are they using some other PDF reader? – ChrisF Oct 21 '11 at 13:15
I'm not using Adobe (as noted in the question, I'm using Preview on OS X). I don't know anything about the software they are using unfortunately. – Pete Oct 21 '11 at 13:19
Missed that bit. – ChrisF Oct 21 '11 at 13:20

What you are experiencing is totally true. Preview can fill out PDFs, but when anybody without Preview tries to view them they are empty. There is no way to fix Preview itself, but there is a workaround.

If you want to fill out pdfs and have them still filled on windows you will need to use Adobe Reader on the mac.

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Hmm, I have Adobe Acrobat 8 on my Mac and it can read the forms I fill out in Preview just fine. I much prefer using the lightweight to Adobe Acrobat. I wonder if there are any other workarounds... – Pete Oct 21 '11 at 13:24

Do the people you are sending the form to also need to edit it, or just look at it? If they don't need to edit it, you can

  1. Bring up the print menu in Preview
  2. Select PDF->Save as PDF
  3. Save to another file and send that one

This will create a new file that will not be fillable, but will have all of the text that you entered.

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this did not work – pocketfullofcheese Jul 5 '12 at 2:58

After a lot of frustration, I found a program that worked perfectly reading Apple preview completed PDF forms on a PC, and is free! PDF Xchange Viewer from Tracker Software (maybe Adobe should buy them out).

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