Amazingly the Real Estate industry has done well in shifting from paper files filling room after room, to PDFs filling our inbox. I’ve been using PDFs as paper replacements for a very long time and it still amazes me how quirky the system can be.
Dan Moren details a huge problem that Mac users [will encounter when they save a filled out PDF form from Preview](http://www.macworld.com/article/2027181/solving-the-mystery-of-the-empty-pdf-form.html). Essentially you need to “reprint” that PDF so that the fields stay filled when sending to Windows users, otherwise they see no information.
I personally run into that problem all the time. I’ve simplified my issues a bit by utilizing two tools:
– Keyboard Maestro
The free way to speed up “flattening” PDF files, so that Windows users can see the text you add, is to use [this tip from David Sparks](http://macsparky.com/blog/2008/3/19/keyboard-shortcut-for-save-as-pdf-in-os-x.html). Sparks walks you through adding a shortcut to your Mac so that you can simply hit CMD+P twice and get straight to the save printed PDF dialog. I extended that idea (and I think stole it from Patrick Rhone) by adding a new Keyboard Maestro macro.
The macro I created simply tells the system to press `CMD+P` twice, whenever I type the keyboard shortcut `OPT+CMD+P`. It doesn’t ever feel like a smooth solution, but it works very well.
There is another tool you can use: PDFpen or PDFpenPro. Both from Smile Software are great and robust replacements for Preview. What I like is that, as best I can tell, PDFpenPro flattens the information added to a PDF when you save it, yet keeps that information editable inside of PDFpenPro. This saves a step over Preview when sending to Windows users.
If you work with PDF files on your iOS device, PDFpen is a must have. Inside the iOS app there is an email file option — when clicked PDFpen asks if you want to send the file as an Annotated PDF, or a Printed PDF — the latter of which is the rasterized version that you want for sending to Windows users.
I still use Preview a lot on my Mac, but PDFpenPro is what I use when I need to fill out a form. Oh and PDFpenPro does a great job OCR-ing any PDf file you open.
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