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Acrobat 7 Prof Won't Enable Typewriter for Reader--Bogus "Permission" Problem

Posted on 2009-07-10
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Last Modified: 2012-05-07
A key function of Adobe Acrobat Professional 7 (version 7.1.0) has mysteriously stopped working.  Until yesterday, I have been able to "enable" the "Typewriter" tool for use by one who only has Acrobat Reader, which permits such a person to provide comments and feedback on draft documents and to reply to questions I pose in my own comments.  This function abruptly ceased, with the program generating the message "You do not have permission to write to this file," after it has created the new file but before it enables the Typewriter feature in that new file.

Some notable circumstances:

(a) I am the author of all involved files.  Neither the source file nor the new file has any "security," and neither is designated as "read only."  The result is the same if I try to enable the Typewriter in a file for which I've previously done so successfully--BEFORE the impasse developed.

(b) I have tried using the control panel "Add or Remove Program" feature to repair the application.  No change after the "repair."

(c) The operating system is XP Professional (Version 2002, Service Pack 3), and I'm not aware of any affirmative changes to either the operating system or the Acrobat program.

(d) The Typewriter tool does continue to work normally within my own full version of Acrobat; I just can't confer the power to use it on others.

(e) Norton Internet Security 2009 is current.  The "One Button Touch" fix within Norton SystemWorks doesn't fix this.

Thanks in advance for any assistance provided.
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Question by:dkatzen
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Karl Heinz Kremer earned 500 total points
ID: 24845525
Try to save the file with the rights enabled to a different location - one that you can for sure write to (e.g. your desktop). Does that work?
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Author Comment

by:dkatzen
ID: 24845868
Sorry, no go, but thanks for the idea.  I'm the "administrator" for the server and this workstation, so I've got broad authority/permission status.  I tried saving the new "enabled" file to "My Docs" and to the desktop, but neither yielded any new or different result--the file is created/saved, but not enabled.  FYI, I haven't experienced restrictions on other modifications to the files in questions--I can annotate the pdf files, just can't invoke the "typewriter for Reader" enabling.

~ David
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 24845893
How much memory is in your XP SP3 machine? The addition of SP3 to an XP machine without an increase in memory can cause funtions in Adobe Acrobat 7 to quit. I saw that happen to a client. ... Thinkpads_User
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Author Comment

by:dkatzen
ID: 24845916
RAM is 2 GB, reports as 1.99 GB.  The ability to enable "Typewriter" continued long after SP3 was installed.  The problem occurs even if nothing is else but Acrobat is running.

~ David K.
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by:Karl Heinz Kremer
Karl Heinz Kremer earned 500 total points
ID: 24869857
Sorry, I've never seen this problem before, I don't have an answer for you, but one more suggestion: What happens when you create a brand new file? Try this:

Hold down the shift key and then select the File>Create PDF menu item - with the Shift key, you will see one new menu item "From Blank Page", select that option
Enable the Typewriter Tool and save the file

Does this behave differently?
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Author Comment

by:dkatzen
ID: 24872027
Indeed, it does. The "Enable Typewriter Tool" works fine here.  With that success, I then tried to use the tool on a file for which it had worked before the problem developed.  Alas, same impasse.  Does this shed any light?

I recognize that this is a peculiar problem, and I appreciate all your sleuthing efforts.
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Author Comment

by:dkatzen
ID: 24872341
More interesting grist for the mill: I tried using the tool on several more files created from various underlying applications, and the tool worked!  Thus, it seems the difficulty may somehow stem from the program that generates the form that I am printing to PDF.  

That program -- called E-Z Filing -- is used to translate data into official forms for filing with a bankruptcy court.  Until quite recently, however, I had no difficulty deploying the typewriter toolfor use with drafts of these forms.  Oddly, I am now unable to invoke the tool within a particular file on which I previously did so successfully.  In other words, Acrobat is now treating the very same file as off-limits, even though the file itself is identical to the one for which the typewriter was actually deployed a couple of weeks ago.  

Most curious.  Any new thoughts?
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by:Karl Heinz Kremer
ID: 24872368
Is it possible that the file got corrupted? Did you update the E-Z Filing software recently?
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by:dkatzen
ID: 24873926
Yes, I did update the E-Z Filing software recently, BUT the pdf  file I've been testing was generated before the update, resides outside and seemingly independent of E-Z, and previously DID accept typewriter-enabling, so I've assumed the glitch is in Acrobat, or how it "sees" files printed to pdf from E-Z.

With your help, I think I've now determined that the problem is unique to E-Z originated pdfs, but those files contine to function ordinarily apart from the typewriter-enabling feature--I can modify them in other respects, so the "write permission" is a kind of red herring.
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Expert Comment

by:Karl Heinz Kremer
ID: 24875045
Try to load such a file into Acrobat and do a
'Save As' (if you are getting an error message at this point, the file is corrupt), close the document, and open it again. Then try to enable the typewriter function again. Does this work?
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Author Comment

by:dkatzen
ID: 24875572
Well, I'm afraid this has now started to seem VERY flaky.  Here are some findings:

1.  Contrary to my earlier assumption, the problem isn't restricted to pdfs printed from E-Z; I'm getting it with others, too.

2. Some of those others, as well as some E-Z generated pdfs, cannot be enabled when residing in the server-based folder, but CAN be if I copy them to the local My Docs folder. "Save As" seems to affect this sometimes and not others--not always necessary.

3. Also, "Save As" doesn't always work--even for some E-Z files that were previously typewriter-enabled just fine from a server location.  Copying them to "My Docs" first doesn't overcome the bogus "permission" hang-up, with or without a preliminary "Save As" in the new location.

If there's a pattern here, I'm too dense to see it, at least right now.  If you can suggest a series of tests that might help isolate the problem, suggest away . . . .  My head hurts.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 24875602
David - at the risk of me being off the wall, Adobe 7 is out of support (I had a problem as noted above and I could not get support) and in addition has some basic insecurities (true for V7 and V8) that permit viruses via PDF files. Might you consider upgradiing to V9.1 to see if that cures your problem and if not, at least Adobe will support it. I realize this costs money and therefore will not be highly wanted by you. ... Thinkpads_User
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Author Comment

by:dkatzen
ID: 24875670
Thanks, thinkpads, but Acrobat Pro is pricey, and spending only to find it wasn't necessary/sufficient would be exasperating.  My experience with "support" from folks at Adobe or Microsoft leads me to think folks like you are generally a better bet.

Your suggestion did lead me to identify another experiment I could run, though that might just confuse things further.  I've got V.7 Pro on another computer (running W2K, so you see my parsimony is rampant), and tomorrow I think I'll try to use the tool on a file I cannot enable from my main machine.  If that works, it will suggest the problem could be solved by reinstalling my main version (and then trying to remember all the other tweaks to effect my preferences).  I'll report back if the results shed any light.
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by:Karl Heinz Kremer
ID: 24877751
If you find out that the other machine has the same problem, you could just take a third machine and install the 30 day evaluation version of Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro (you can download that from Adobe's web site) and verify that the problem is fixed.
You should do that on a machine that does not have a regular Acrobat installation, because otherwise you will have to remove and re-install the original Acrobat version.
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Author Comment

by:dkatzen
ID: 24880905
Thanks for the suggestion.  The problem DID occur on the second PC, which suggests there's some invisible permission restriction that's being injected into these files, though it's not clear how or when.  

Time permitting, I'm going to try a more rigorous set of experiments to see if I can tell (a) whether all source applications appear vulnerable; (b) whether it matters when the pdf was created (are old ones invariably okay?); (c) whether it matters where the pdf is originally saved (e.g., to the local drive or the server); (d) whether it matters where the pdf resides when I attempt typewriter-enabling (e.g., on the local drive or the server); (d) whether it matters whether I assign a new name when I attempt typewriter-enabling; (e) whether--and in what circumstances--using "Save As" before I attempt typewriter-enabling solves the problem; and (f) whether the answers are consistent--do I get the same result every time I use any particular configuration?

I will report back when I've got some data to share.  Depending on what--if anything--this testing regimen reveals, I may try the Acrobat 9 evaluation experiment, but first I'd need to get another machine on the domain, which is its own project.

~ David
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by:Karl Heinz Kremer
ID: 24881163
If you can share a file, you can find my email address on my profile page. I can take a look to see if there is something wrong with the files.
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Author Comment

by:dkatzen
ID: 24883200
It appears that--

1. If I save an E-Z (maybe, any pdf) file to My Docs, I can enable typewriter there, UNLESS the name of the file is complex (before or in conjunction with the enabling save).  Haven't determined exactly how many characters in what configuration causes the red-lining.

2. If I save an E-Z file to the server, I cannot enable there, no matter what the name is.  

3.  However, if I move a server-based version to My Docs, I can enable there, per paragraph 1 above.

So, this seems to be a function of the file's location and its name.  Any thoughts about why that would be?
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by:John Hurst
ID: 24883389
Let me try some thoughts and see what you think:
1. You can access your server by UNC or mapped drive. What happens if you use the other access method? I never have difficulty with mapped drives, and this is not likely a reason.
2. Is E-Z Filing somehow a non-compliant piece of software?
3. Is your network connection possibly flaky? What happens if you move the machine?

I do realize these suggestions are at the outer edge, but I don't say any more obvious reason. ... Thinkpads_User
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Author Comment

by:dkatzen
ID: 24883783
Thanks for the brainstorming.  Alas,

(a) The enabling impasse isn't restricted to E-Z originated pdfs, but applies to anything on the server (so contrary to my earlier thinking, E-Z isn't the culprit); and

(b) It also applies to My Docs files if the name is too complicated, though I'm not sure where the line is (so the network access alone doesn't explain the problem). (I did try mapping and trying to enable a simply named server-based file via that route, but no go.)

My current workaround is: (i) copy any file I want to enable to the My Docs folder; (ii) make sure it's got a "simple" name (rename as necessary); (iii) enable typewriter in the simply named file while it resides in the My Docs folder; (iv) rename the file as enabled (complexity doesn't matter at this stage); and (v) put the enabled file back on the server.

This is tedious, but it's livable.  

It occurs to me that the crux is the complexity of the name, and perhaps the path to the server is always complicated enough--when combined with any name--to overtax the permission threshold.  Anybody have any thoughts on that hypothesis?
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by:Karl Heinz Kremer
ID: 24886159
What type of filesystem are you using (NTFS vs normal FAT)? What operating system is your server running?
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Author Comment

by:dkatzen
ID: 24888372
Sorry for delayed response--had some chores to do.  

File system is NTFS.  Server is running Small Business Server 2003.

~ David
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Expert Comment

by:Karl Heinz Kremer
ID: 24934074
That all looks good. I'm running out of ideas here, sorry.
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Author Closing Comment

by:dkatzen
ID: 31602337
The problem had to do with (a) the location of the file when typewriter enabling is attempted (so desktop or MyDocs--or, presumably, any local/non-network folder--foster enabling) and (b) the length or complexity of the file's name when enabling is attempted (so creating a new file helped, because it hadn't yet been assigned a complicated name). The solution isn't complete, but it's tolerable.
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