PDF forms do funny things when you don’t open/complete them in Adobe Reader, which is free to download/install/use (or Acrobat Pro which is not free).
Mac users have this problem a lot because your default setting is to open PDFs in Preview. Bad. Spend 5mins to take care of this once and for all:
- Download and install Adobe Reader http://get.adobe.com/reader/
- Right click on any PDF file
- Click Get Info
- Under “Open with,” choose Adobe Reader
- Click the “Change All” button
PDFs will now open in Adobe Reader by default, meaning you get to experience the PDF with all the enhancements that the author of the PDF intended, such as fully functional form fields. *However, if you can’t SAVE the form after filling it out, that’s actually the author’s fault for not saving the form as a “Reader Extended PDF.”
Note to PDF form authors: you cannot do anything to force the form to be opened in Adobe Reader, so if you want to make sure people are opening it correctly, you simply need to instruct your users to open your PDF form in Adobe Reader. And for heavens sake, send them the Reader Extended PDF so they can actually save their form after they fill it out!