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XFA Form Incompatibility


Level 3

How, if at all, do you guys get around the very limited support for XFA file types?  I love how versatile XFA forms created in LiveCycle Designer can be, and I've created several very impressive forms, BUT I have to downgrade to static PDF because at least 1/3 of our clients cannot open XFA documents.  From what I've found, there are some MAJOR limitations, like:

  • COMPLETE inability to open XFA documents on mobile devices (iPhone, iPad, Nook, etc.)
  • Inability to open XFA documents in non-Internet-Explorer web browsers, like Google Chrome, Safari Firefox, etc., UNLESS a separate plug-in/extension is downloaded and enabled (totally not something you can reasonably expect your clients to do!)
  • Inability to open XFA documents in 3rd party PDF viewers (not a huge deal being that Adobe Reader is free, but still annoying)

Why such limited support for this highly-functional file type?  It's a shame to have developed something so powerful only to have to regress to the stone age of form presentation.  For example, I set up an XFA form to operate like a web-based smart form, with "pages" the users navigates through.  Unfortunately though, it cannot be used because at least 1/3 of our clients wouldn't even be able to open it.  Very disappointing.

0 Replies


Level 7

I believe many third party implementations look to the PDF specification, which currently does not include the XFA extensions. Adobe has provided the following document to outline workarounds for this limitation


Level 6

Even AcroForms have limited support in mobile versions of Reader. A few non-Adobe mobile viewers have better support, but none are as complete as the desktop versions of Reader. Most have no support.

It's hard enough for third-parties to get AcroForms to work on the desktop. PDF viewers from both Apple and Microsoft corrupt PDF forms in a number of ways. Others from Google (Chrome) and Firefox are lacking in a number of ways. Trying to include XFA support, especially for dynamic forms, would be significantly more complicated.


Level 3

That link contains the following:

Has anybody actually used this and, if so, what has been your experience?