Create and edit PDF-XFA - Not just readers - Ubuntu 22

aleff

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Hi I have been looking for several days for a software for linux (ubuntu 22) that allows me to create pdf XFA exactly like LiveCycle Designer which, however, does not have a version for linux.
I also specify that I am not interested in a pdf reader or form filler sw.
I know that XFA is not a good format and that there are great alternatives but I really need this format here.
 


Condobloke

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G'day aleff, Welcome to Linux.org

I have no idea if this work for you....pdf etc etc are not my forte......however it may be worth a look on your part

 
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aleff

aleff

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G'day aleff, Welcome to Linux.org

I have no idea if this work for you....pdf etc etc are not my forte......however it may be worth a look on your part

Thanks for your reply, i tried LibreOffice Draw but when i create a PDF and i will save it, it isn't a XFA PDF :-/
Btw i don't know if exist some specific function for export the document differently
 

KGIII

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I did some searching, specifically for XFA (which I have no clue about) and came across this - in a StackExchange question that also specified XFA. Again, I have no idea what you're talking about, I'm just using Google.


They also mentioned Evince in the thread, but I think that's just a reader.

They also mention filling in forms with Firefox. Here, read the thread yourself to see if there's something there you need:


But, of all those, the first link I shared looks to be the closest to what you're asking for.
 
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aleff

aleff

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@KGIII
I tried to use Master PDF but when i create a document from Black file it isn't editable like XFA pdf, so it is not useful for me... however i want to repeat that i don't need an XFA reader, but a software that permit me to create one...
 

Brickwizard

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Sa far as I am aware, XFA was depleted in 2017, there are several readers or flatteners available for Linux, but I don't know of any compositors
 

kc1di

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I too have had no real experience with XFA-pdf files or forms but as @ Brickwizard has said that format has been depreciated for some time now and is not recommended for use. As far as I can tell it was depreciated due to security concerns. Which would want me to find a different way to do my forms, etc. Many I know are hesitant to drop this format because they paid big bucks for it in the first place. :(
However some have mentioned a program called PDFTK which is in most Linux repositories. That can be used to edit XFA formated files. I have no personal experience with that so you'll have to check it out yourself. All I know is it's a Java based program and as such should work across many OS's . Good luck.

This quote is from Stack overflow site. It may be of help.
There are three types of forms in PDF:

  • Forms using AcroForm technology. In this case, each field corresponds with one or more widgets with fixed positions on specific pages. The form is described using nothing but PDF syntax.
  • Dynamic forms using the XML Forms Architecture (XFA). In this case, the PDF file is nothing but a container for an XML file that describes the whole form. We refer to this as dynamic XFA, because the form can expand or shrink based on the data that is added: a 1-page form can turn into a 100-page form by adding more data.
  • Hybrid forms that combine AcroForm and XFA technology. In this case, the form is described twice: once using PDF objects; once using XML. Obviously, such a form is not dynamic: the AcroForm part still defines widget annotations that are defined at absolute positions on specific pages. The form can't adapt to its data.
If you have a dynamic XFA form, dropping the XML will remove the complete form. There won't be anything left.

However, it seems that you are confronted with a hybrid form that consists of both AcroForm and XFA syntax. Hybrid forms are a pain because they often lead to confusion. For instance: a viewer that is not XFA aware, will show you the data as stored in the AcroForm. A viewer that is XFA aware, can give preference to the data as stored in the XFA form. What's the problem, you might ask? Aren't both forms equivalent?

Ideally, both versions of the form are indeed equivalent, but:

  • If the form isn't filled out correctly, the AcroForm can be different from the XFA form.
  • XFA has more functionality that AcroForm technology. For instance: a text field in an XFA form can be justified (similar to <p align="justify"> in HTML). However, this option doesn't exist in an AcroForm text field (you can only have left, center or right alignment). Hence if you have text that is justified in an XFA form, but you only look at the AcroForm, then the text won't be justified (because justified text doesn't exist in an AcroForm text field).
This is a long answer to explain that, if you have a hybrid form, it is in most cases OK to throw away the XFA part. You may have small differences, but if you are OK with what the form looks like in Ubuntu Document Viewer (a viewer that doesn't support XFA), then you should be fine.

DISCLAIMER: I am the CEO of the iText Group. Pdftk is a third party tool based on an obsolete and no longer supported version of iText. iText Group does not endorse the use of Pdftk.
 
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aleff

aleff

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I too have had no real experience with XFA-pdf files or forms but as @ Brickwizard has said that format has been depreciated for some time now and is not recommended for use. As far as I can tell it was depreciated due to security concerns. Which would want me to find a different way to do my forms, etc. Many I know are hesitant to drop this format because they paid big bucks for it in the first place. :(
However some have mentioned a program called PDFTK which is in most Linux repositories. That can be used to edit XFA formated files. I have no personal experience with that so you'll have to check it out yourself. All I know is it's a Java based program and as such should work across many OS's . Good luck.

This quote is from Stack overflow site. It may be of help.
i saw that PDFTK if available for windows, but it is available for linux too?

qoppa is downloadable only with payment or do you know some free version?
 

kc1di

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i saw that PDFTK if available for windows, but it is available for linux too?


qoppa is downloadable only with payment or do you know some free version?
pdftk is in the ubuntu 22.04.1 repository.
Code:
sudo apt install pdftk
should do the trick.
It's a terminal program though.
you can get information about it after install by typing
Code:
pdftk --help
or
Code:
man pdftk

This page may also be helpful though I don't think in mentions XFA files.
 
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aleff

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Thanks but it doesn't work.
I tried to open an XFA-PDF file and it crash exactly because it is an XFA-PDF.

Screenshot from 2022-10-17 09-44-41.png
 

Lord Boltar

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Thanks but it doesn't work.
I tried to open an XFA-PDF file and it crash exactly because it is an XFA-PDF.

View attachment 13693
The only workaround I know of is to convert the Dynamic XFA form into a static XFA form. To do so, open the dynamic XFA form in Livecycle Form Designer and save it as “Static Form”. The static form will be able to open in PDF Studio as well as most PDF viewers. You might be able to 'Print to PDF" this may flatten it by removing the layers.

These forms are phased out and mostly discontinued. Adobe themselves have moved away from dynamic XFA forms and they did not add support for them on mobile (Android, IOS) since 2014. In the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, the form designer does not support these type of forms and the LiveCycle Designer had to be purchased it separately. Adobe has no longer supported Adobe LifeCycle since 2018 - https://helpx.adobe.com/support/adobe-livecycle-end-of-core-support.html
 
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