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Why is Adobe PDF reader no longer usable or available with Firefox?

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  • آخر ردّ كتبه jscher2000

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I want to vote by mail but the Elections Canada PDF has this message on top: "This PDF document contains forms. The filling of form fields is not supported." Googled this extensively but there is no Adobe PDF reader listed in Firefox "options" or "add-ons". Only Firefox default PDF reader is available. Adobe is not listed under Open with different viewer - Other..., either. The default Firefox reader won't allow me to fill in the form and print it. Needless to say, I'm very upset I won't be able to vote. I am a wheelchair user with very serious medical problems and cannot leave my home to go to a voting station. This must be a new thing FF is doing because I filled out and printed this form to vote in our election four years ago. What possible reason does Mozilla have for not allowing someone to fill out and/or print a form?

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Chosen solution

Hi heather7, on Windows XP you probably were still using Firefox 52 ESR (Extended Support Release) since it was the last version for XP. That also was the last version that could run plugins other than Flash. If you want to see an old support article about it: Why do Java, Silverlight, Adobe Acrobat and other plugins no longer work?

At this point, your best move is to fill the form offline in Adobe Reader/Acrobat or try Internet Explorer, which I assume still runs the Adobe "ActiveX control" (IE's version of plugins).

The fastest way to open a PDF from the viewer to an external program is to use the little Download button on the viewer's black toolbar:


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Hi heather7,

filling form fields was never possible in Firefox pdf reader. You have to save your PDF on disk using the icon with down arrow, then open it in Adobe Reader.

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Four years ago, with Windows XP, I filled out and printed this form. And I was able to do this two years ago, again with Windows XP, when I filled out and printed a PDF form for Canada Pension for a friend. No message telling me: "This PDF document contains forms. The filling of form fields is not supported." Never seen that before. Now that I have a new PC with Windows 7, suddenly, I can't fill out a PDF form or print it. I did save the file but when I clicked on it to open it, it opened in the FF browser tab/window with the same message. So why was I able to do this four years ago and not now? So not one person in Canada with FF as their browser can vote by mail because of this? This doesn't make any sense. What has changed that is preventing me from doing the exact same thing four years later?

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Chosen Solution

Hi heather7, on Windows XP you probably were still using Firefox 52 ESR (Extended Support Release) since it was the last version for XP. That also was the last version that could run plugins other than Flash. If you want to see an old support article about it: Why do Java, Silverlight, Adobe Acrobat and other plugins no longer work?

At this point, your best move is to fill the form offline in Adobe Reader/Acrobat or try Internet Explorer, which I assume still runs the Adobe "ActiveX control" (IE's version of plugins).

The fastest way to open a PDF from the viewer to an external program is to use the little Download button on the viewer's black toolbar:


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Thank you for your patience with me. I'm not very computer savvy! I already did download the way you suggested. I go into my PC and click on the icon and it opens in my browser with the same message. Adobe is not listed anywhere in any dropdown list under "Open with..." Does this mean I don't have Adobe PDF reader on my PC?

"Firefox has worked hard to build replacements for these plugins. Together, they are called Web APIs...Today, they’re ready. Many sites have adopted them, and almost all your favorite pages can be enjoyed without using old and insecure plugins. Firefox joins other modern browsers like Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge to remove support for these NPAPI plugins." Does it mean that Elections Canada's website has not adopted a Web API? If that's the case, I'll let them know no one can vote by mail using FF browser.

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Hi heather7, do you have any external programs for reading/filling PDFs? If you don't have Adobe Reader, maybe it's Foxit Reader or another one. Anyway, it's easy to download Adobe if you don't have it:

https://get.adobe.com/reader/

"Firefox has worked hard to build replacements for these plugins. Together, they are called Web APIs...Today, they’re ready. Many sites have adopted them, and almost all your favorite pages can be enjoyed without using old and insecure plugins. Firefox joins other modern browsers like Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge to remove support for these NPAPI plugins." Does it mean that Elections Canada's website has not adopted a Web API? If that's the case, I'll let them know no one can vote by mail using FF browser.

PDF is the closest analogue to the original paper form. I don't think there is an exact Web API replacement for PDFs files because they have very tightly controlled formatting: they look the same everywhere and are great if users might need to print and mail the form. Websites can use HTML forms for online submissions and then send you a PDF in return, but that would introduce more possibility of error, so I understand why they are doing what they're doing.

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Wow, do I feel silly. That old XP was a hand-me-down so the previous owner had obviously installed Adobe on it so I just assumed that was part of the OS. My current PC did not have it because I never put it on it! So it seems that I am the problem, not Firefox. I did warn you I was a computer idiot.

I just filled out the form and printed it off. Guess I'll be voting after all. Thanks for the help.

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No worries, there are always a lot of things missing from a new computer.

Maybe someday the built-in PDF Viewer will become as mature as Adobe Reader, but I'm doubtful because there are just so many other things to work on.