Adobe Reader PDF DOCs.......problems entering them on an online form

Hello folks,

I am not remotely 'tecchie' and I've hit a problem that I don't understand..

Someone trying to be helpful has told my that one can only download PDF Reader docs....Sounds odd, but from looking at the Adobe site FAQs, he might be right and I might have to convert them to to a format that is accepted by the Planning Portal...

At first I thoughtit may be the file size but I have checked but they are all way under the 5Mgb i'm thinking that the format might be the problem. Mine are Adobe Reader PDF's....

The list of formats that are admissable are as follows :- as shown on the trems and conditions of the Planning Portal,

Image (.jpg, tif, gif.bmp,png)

CAD (HPGL) (.pit)

MS Word (.doc, .docx)

Adobe PDF(.pdf)

Text (.txt)

MS Excel (.xls)

Video (.mpg, .avi, .wmv)

So it looks as though PDF's are there a problem using Reader ?

Very keen to get this sorted...If I have to convert them which of the above is the best format to choose (they are plans and elevations etc.)

Also, is there a good free or inexpensive converter that you would recommend....?


Hil x

There are loads of them. I have CutePDF ( for convenience sakes at present because the CutePDF Writer function handles large manuscripts smoothly. CutePDF is free unless you want the professional version which is fairly cheap. I download lots of forms that must be filled in to send back. It works in all but locked file PDFs, then it really does not matter what you use. Ironically, recently RAM sent out one as a survey to RSI/RAM/URSSAF using people that was a closed file that nobody could open but insisted on it being filled in and returned electronically. OK, so it would be possible to print it out, fill in the boxes and then scan it back in to send. That is not what they were saying, they meant fill it in as is and send it back. No do.

So it seems, back to Hilary's question, that the senders often do not know their ears from their rear ends, therefore send out PDFs that are useless and then do not respond to the messages to them asking why not!

Plans in .txt format sound fun - Reminds me of the 'graphics' prints on mainframes back in the Sixties, such as an infamous nude. One function that mainframe printers had that doesn't translate too well these days, especially to screens, was 'print but don't feed', where the paper didn't move up after the line was printed. This allowed for overprinting, so you could do fancy effects, like bold (same text in same position) underlining (underline character) & strikethrough (hyphens). Some printers even had upper- & lower-case!

Interesting to see that the list contains only one vector format...whatever happened to DXF/DWG, SketchUp, etc ?

As for PDF, well there are several different versions of the PDF format, perhaps your files are in a version that the portal doesn't recognise ?

I have to work with a number of (non-UK) administrations, with their software, that has at various points in time, only accepted version 1.3, and now 1.4 of the PDF format specification. And woe betide me if I dare have images in my original documents that are not 16bpp b&w.


If the PDF document is just a rasterized bitmap of the page, then you need some form of OCR software to recognise and extract the text. This is no doubt what your scanner offered previously.

If your PDF document contains embedded text boxes or text areas, and images, there is a variety of software available that will let you extract / convert that data to other formats.

On Apple Mac (and iOS ?), there is the built-in Preview app that will allow you to convert PDFs to other image formats. You can also annotate and sign these documents, and resave them as PDF.

On Linux, potentially, there are a myriad of little command line helper programs that allow you to manipulate, extract, convert, and edit PDFs, although if you want a GUI based application, these are somewhat less functional on the whole.

Personally, I use MasterPDF Editor, for which complete unlocked functionality is available for a small fee on Linux, Mac and Windows.

If you are stuck on Windows (by choice or obligaiton), then The Gimp, an image manipulation program similar to Photoshop, open source and free, allows you to import PDFs and then re-export them in another image format.

LibreOffice, which someone has already mentioned, can import embedded object PDFs into its Draw module, from where you can further edit text areas, and add/remove other elements and re-save / export.

Note that if the PDF is entirely composed of a raster image, it will only import as a bitmap image in LibreOffice, over which you can add / edit / overlay text and images, but it won't let you edit the text within the image.

Apologies up front for being off topic in relation to the initial question, but others have already answered that.

get yourself Linux and there is no hassle... Its so simple.

Thanks for your swift responses to everyone and your re-assurances that there shouldn't be a problem.

So, with that in mind, I will have another go......and then phone them if I'm still having problems....

Will let you know how I get on...

The 'full' version of Acrobat does all this, but isn't free, though there are free trial and monthly subscription versions. (I got a slightly cut-down version along with a Fujitsu Scansnap scanner I bought.)

Googling "convert pdf to word" provides a plethora of free stuff, on-line, local, even both. Owning Acrobat, I haven't tried any of them, but I'd be inclined to try the online versions if it's only for occasional use & the content isn't especially confidential.

Hi Peter L

Do you know of any software, preferably free, that can read a .pdf file and convert it to other formats, such as M/soft .doc or .txt?


Peter S

Your friend has supplied you with what you need for the Planning Portal - files in .pdf format. As Krister says, are there any problems when you try to upload (i.e send) them?

Part of the confusion might be due to the default setting "hide extensions of known file types" (or whatever it's called in Windows). The extension .pdf is not showing, just "Adobe Reader document" as file type.

Hi Hilary

My experience of Adobe is a b it like yours, which simply put, and as has been pointed out, you can download the Adobe reader free of charge - which you should do anyway.

The problem arises when you want to do something with that file, even copying it can be a problem and converting it to another format is almost impossible so the suggestion to acquire for free some software that will allow you to use the file for other systems seems like a very, very good idea.

With my old HP printer/scanner I could at least scan a PDF file and output it as the .txt document but my new HP printer/scanner does not have this facility which is really annoying for me if nobody else.

Peter S

Wow, thanks for the ultra-quick response, Krister !

I produced pencil sketches of my designs and ideas for a small eco home to try to get Outline Planning for a plot of land that I own and want to sell in the UK.

A friend of mine produced the technical drawing plans & elevations and they were supplied to me in Adobe Reader.....Presumably they were produced in that format ?

The Planning Portal (who I have just emailed incidentally), have a list of file types that they will support, these are listed in my discussion post above.

You have documents that you want to upload to Planning Portal? In what format are they and what program have you used to make them?
For document creation I use LibreOffice, and with that I can directly do a "Export as PDF".As a separate software, I have used Foxit PDF Reader, it's free and also capable of creating PDF files.