How do I “Clean Up” a PDF form that fails to merge?

You may receive a PDF form that does not merge and produces errors. This is generally due to “mal-formed” PDF files that have been created by software other than Adobe’s Distiller. We usually run problem files through Distiller as a way to “clean” them up. Listed below are instructions for running your file through Distiller:

  • Open your PDF in Acrobat and remove all the form fields
  • Go to the File Menu > Hit Save As
  • Give the file a new name
  • Under Save As Type, choose PostScript File (*.ps)
  • Open Distiller and browse for this file or go to the directory where the file exists and double click on the file – this will open and run Distiller
  • Once you have your “distilled file”, open both the original file and the distilled file in Acrobat.
  • You need to copy and paste all the form fields from the original file onto the distilled file:
  • To do this under Acrobat 6 or 7, you need to go to the Tools Menu > Advance Editing> Select Object Tool
  • Hit Ctrl+A or go to the Edit Menu>Select All (all form fields will be highlighted)
  • Hit Ctrl+C or go to the Edit Menu > Copy
  • Open the distilled file and hit Ctrl+V or go to the Edit Menu > Paste – at times when you paste fields onto a page, they are not in the exact location, so you will need to move the fields around on the page – You will need to copy and paste the form fields for each page following the steps mentioned above.