PDF forms in DTTG

There appears to be an issue with PDF forms not displaying form-filled content in DTTG. I’ve trawled through the forum looking for some solutions/guidance, but many of the threads are ages old and I’m no closer to resolving the issue.

The issue:

  • A PDF tax return form was downloaded from Inland Revenue and stored in DT3 on my Mac
  • The form was completed online using PDF Expert and saved back into DT3 - no problems there
  • After syncing, I can view the completed form on my Macbook Air within DT3 - again no problem
  • When I go to DTTG either on my iPhone or iPad, the form is there but the form fields are completely empty.

I strongly suspect that the PDF engine performs differently in DTTG - would I be correct? If this is the case, then this presents me with a real problem since I really need the portability of DTTG.

Thoughts anyone?

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Sorry but no, DEVONthink To Go doesn’t support PDF forms. That would require extending the license for the PDF framework it uses.

PS: PDF Expert doesn’t use the same framework so it’s not comparable in this case.

Thanks for the prompt response, Jim.

So that would mean additional cost to Devontechnologies, I’m guessing? If that’s the case, then perhaps the license extension could be added to the DTTG subscription as an optional extra as an “Add-in Purchase”? I’d certainly be happy to pay - depends on demand, I guess.

Interesting point about PDF Expert - I assumed all PDFs were constructed equally. Consistency in frameworks would be pretty key in product design I would have thought. But then again, I’m not a PDF expert :wink:

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They kind of are. There’s a standard, after all. Implementing it in a “reader” is a different thing, though. Apple’s PDFKit has a worse reputation than Adobe’s original implementation. I guess there’s no standard for that – if someone decides not to implement the form functionality, it is up to them. This can probably be explained by PDF’s history: It comes from the desire to provide a standardized format for the printing industry. Nobody thought of forms filled out interactively at that time.

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PDF Viewer from PSPDFKit uses the same PDF framework than DTTG. You could a) use the open with from DTTG, do the form fill and then from PDF Viewer return to DTTG or b) use the own PDF Viewer file manager to go into DTTG file system and fill the forms that way (don’t forget to open DTTG to make aware of changes).

Disclaimer: I ignore if PDF Viewer supports form editing… but at least they use the same PDF engine and are 100% compatible.

Yes, that would be an additional cost to extend our license, and yes, we’d need to pass that along to cover the expense.

Oddly, I thought we’d have many people clamoring for form support, but we really haven’t. I can see it’s usefulness in many scenarios with both DEVONthink and DEVONthink To Go, but we haven’t had enough interest to pursue it.

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Not something needed here. In those rare instances where I fill in a PDF form, I simply use software that does it already. Support more cost of DEVONthink to provide this is not attractive, to me. Just my two bits.

I would appreciate the ability to buy form support as an in-app purchase in DTTG.

One problem that I have is that DTTG is completely oblivious to anything that is in forms. So I canʻt read anything that is written in a fillable spot in a fillable form.

I didnʻt even know this at first. I spent 20 minutes trying to figure out why my DTTG wasnʻt syncing only to finally realize that it was syncing all along. I just canʻt see whatʻs in there because DTTG doesnʻt support PDF forms.

Even though I may not use PDF forms all that often, I definitely need to be confident that I know what is in my PDFs, including form blanks. Iʻd gladly buy an in-app purchase of PDF forms in DTTG, as long as itʻs reasonably priced.

So sorry. How do I use the “open with from DTTG”. Are you just talking about using the share sheet in DTTG? If so does that actually open the same PDF in another app (i.e. PDF Viewer) or is it creating and opening a copy of the PDF?

If you go into the external application and it supports the document provider mechanism, you can open files in DEVONthink To Go.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the form fields will be supported. That depends on the external application.

I would also be interested in this function. I’d like a consistent handling of files between DT3 on my Mac and DTTG on my iPad. Currently I can only work on PDF Forms on my Mac. I was also puzzled, when I first looked at my PDF forms on the iPad. Maybe a message informing the user, the current form might not be displayed correctly would be nice (with a unlock button possibly?).
I’d be willing to pay for this feature on the iPad, depends on the price-tag though.

I’d be willing to pay for this feature on the iPad, depends on the price-tag though.

That’s the issue for us: adding form support to DEVONthink To Go requires extending our license for PSPDFKit. That cost would have to be passed on to the consumer and not just new customers. And we haven’t had sufficient interest shown.
Also, while I think form support would be a great addition to increase our userbase, there’s no guarantee on a timely ROI.

If this forum represents a small slice of the user base, I vote not needed in DEVONthink To Go especially extra license cost required at the expense of other more important things. Those subset of users (probably not many) who need it can use other apps now available on iOS that can do it.

Wouldn’t it be possible to open the PDF in another app and fill in the form there? That way, people who need/want it, can pay the other app’s developer.

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Yes, and this is currently the suggested method.