Tuesday, April 5, 2011

How To Remove Reader Enablement in Acrobat

Today I am filling out a W-9 form. The IRS usually does a pretty good job making their forms fillable. I was successfully inputting my data and got about halfway down the page, when I came to the signature line.

I couldn't sign it.

Normally,when a form is properly setup, the signature field looks like this. See the little red "Sign Here" arrow?

With most PDFs, when I need to sign a document and there is no signature field, I can just make one. But with this PDF, that option is grayed out.

So I did a little research online and it turns out that this document had Reader Usage Rights enabled. Which is great for most people, because they can fill out the form on their computer, then print it and scan it back in.

But, I am not most people. I will go out of my way for an hour (or more) to avoid printing out a form and filling it out by hand. My husband asked me this morning, "Wouldn't it just be easier to fill out that form by hand?" To which I replied, "But Honey, what would blog about if I did that?"

So I tried following the instructions for removing the Reader Usage Rights. According the the dialog box, and several very popular forums, all I had to do was Save a Copy. Easy!

But despite three attempts at saving a copy of this file, I still couldn't make a signature field. So I decided to try a workaround. If you've read my other posts about Acrobat, you may know that it doesn't always do what I need it to do. And I have found a great solution for making PDFs...more accessible. ;)

That solution is Mac Preview. It's the free little application that comes on every mac (sorry Windows users), and is the default image viewer on a mac. Of course, as graphic designers, the first thing we do is change the default image viewer to Photoshop, and leave poor Preview to collect dust in the back of the Applications folder. But bring it out and have some fun! You'd be surprised what it can do. Check out my other articles about Mac Preview.

So I opened the file in Preview, saved a copy, and then reopened the file in Acrobat. And now I could make a signature field!