Using Pine Tree's Interactive Forms

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Basic Help with Filling Out Interactive Forms

Here are some tips for using our interactive .pdf forms.

  1. Point the cursor arrow to any box and click on it to check or un-check that box.
  2. Put the cursor on any line and click on it to fill out that line. Some lines, like the signature and some docket number lines, cannot be filled in on-line.
  3. You can tab between lines using your tab and shift-tab keys.
  4. You don't need to fill in every line on-line. Unfilled lines will print out in blank and can be filled in later.
  5. On some older forms with built in help, double-click on the help note icon for help with preparing the different parts of the form. Click on the little dash in the upper left hand corner of the help window to close it. Many of the newer forms have help if you just hold the cursor over a line or checkbox.

Getting a PDF "Reader"

To use the interactive forms on the Pine Tree Legal Assistance website you will need a "reader" that can open and work with PDF documents. Most computers now come with Adobe Reader already installed. If you don't have it on your computer you can get Adobe Reader here for free. NOTE: If you don't want to download McAfee Security Scan software at the same time, uncheck the box before hitting "Download" button.

There are other good PDF readers made by other companies. Many of them are FREE, and will allow you to save the data in your fillable forms even if saving data has not been "enabled" for Adobe Reader. 

Some of those readers are Foxit Reader, PDF-XChange Viewer, CutePDF Form Filler, and Nitro PDF Reader. It might be a good idea to have one of those on your computer anyway, for saving forms that don't have the "save data" feature enabled for Adobe Reader.

However, please be aware that we have not tested our interactive forms in other readers.  So the latest version of Adobe Reader may work the best when using our forms.

Saving Data in Interactive PDF forms

For a long time you could not save the data (the information you filled into the blanks) along with the interactive forms, at least using Adobe Reader. Beginning with Adobe Reader 8.0 you can save the data you fill into the forms if the forms have that feature enabled. WE HAVE ENABLED ALL OF THE FORMS ON OUR SITE TO ALLOW SAVED DATA. Once you have filled in a form, simply save it to your computer. You can open it later to finish the form, or make changes. You can get the latest version of Adobe Reader here.

You can save data in most of these other readers too: Foxit Reader, PDF-XChange Viewer, CutePDF Form Filler, and Nitro PDF Reader.

Again, please be aware that we have not tested the forms in readers other than the lateste version of Adobe Reader.

Clearing Data From Forms

To ensure the privacy of data you enter on a form with the fill-in feature, be sure to use the "clear form" or "reset" button when you are finished. This Reset Form button will reset all the fields to be blank and will remove any data you have entered. Failure to do so may permit others using the same computer to view the data you have entered.

This only applies if you are using a computer in a public location, such as a library or school. If you are using your own home or office computer, and you know that nobody else uses that same computer, then the privacy of your data is not an issue.

With the more complex forms like the Child Support Worksheet and Financial Statement, you should reset the form after each use regardless. The forms may keep data that you cannot see that will interfere with new calculations.

Using Blank Forms

If you need a blank form to fill out by hand or with a typewriter (or for any other reason) you can just use your computer to print most of the interactive forms before you fill in any of the blanks. Some of the forms that do calculations will have zeros in some of the blanks. For those forms we have posted blank versions along side of the interactive ones. You can also get most of the blank forms from the Court website, or you can get forms directly from your local Court Clerk's office.

Problems Downloading, Displaying or Filling-in PDF Files

These forms will not work unless you have a PDF reader installed on your computer. Most do, but some do not. Almost all problems related to PDF files not working correctly are due to an incorrect installation of Adobe Reader or using an older version of Reader. If one file on our site doesn't open correctly, then try a different file. If that doesn't work either, the problem is probably due to your computer configuration. The following remedies solve most problems.

  1. Rebooting your computer solves many problems. You might want to try that first.
  2. Make sure you are using the latest version of your PDF reader. Even if you have the latest version, some application files may have been corrupted or deleted, so you may still need to re-download and re-install the program.
  3. Especially if you are using a MACINTOSH COMPUTER make sure that the files are not being opened in Preview. The interactive feature will only work in a PDF reader such as Adobe Reader. Change the default program for opening PDF files to the reader.
  4. If you are running many different programs on your computer at the same time (multi-tasking) this may interfere with the forms. Try closing some of them.
  5. Instead of left-clicking on the link to open the item, try RIGHT-clicking (or control-clicking if you have a one-button mouse on Macintosh), then download/save the item to your hard drive. Then open the item directly in Reader rather than going through your web browser. Do this by opening Reader first, then use File-Open to view the document, or just double-click the file's icon.
  6. Remember that some of the PDF files are quite large. If you're using a slower internet connection, they could take several minutes to download.
  7. As a last resort, use a different computer to download the file.
  8. Some people are reporting problems with downloading the Financial Statements. It seems to be a problem with certain internet browsers. If you run into this, try RIGHT clicking on the link and chose "Save Target As." Save the file to your desktop in a location you will remember. Then open Adobe Reader (or another pdf reader) on your computer and open that file in your reader. If that doesn't work, let us know.

Problems Printing PDF Files

If the files download and display correctly, but you are unable to print them, first make sure you've gone through all the steps listed above. If one file doesn't print correctly then try a different file. If that doesn't work either, the problem is probably due to your computer configuration. The following remedies solve most printing problems.

  1. Open the file in Adobe Reader (not your web browser) and choose File, Print. In the box that appears, click the "Advanced" button at the bottom, then check the option that says "Print as Image". This converts the entire document into a graphic before sending it to the printer. This option may not be available with all printer drivers.
  2. As a last resort, take the file to another computer and printer, and print it there.

Problems with newer Firefox browers

It appears that the default setting for opening .pdf files through newer Firefox browsers is an alternative browser-based reader that does not display interactive fields.  We have found two solutions to this problem:

  1. If you use interactive forms a lot, it is worth going into your browser settings to change the setting to Adobe Reader. In Firefox 43, this is the path.
    • Open the Firefox toolbar that is displayed in the upper left-hand corner of your screen. It looks like thee horizontal lines.
    • Choose: Options. Another tab will open.
    • In the pop-up screen, choose: Applications. 
    • In the left-hand column under Content Type, you'll see:  Portable Document Format (PDF).  In the right-hand column next to this listing, left click on the item listed there. A dropdown menu will appear. From the dropdown menu, select: Use Adobe Reader (default). 
    • The next time you open an interactive .pdf document, it will open in Adobe Reader, displaying the interactive fields.
  2. If you are an infrequent user of online interactive forms, it may be easier for you to just use the option Firefox offers you each time you view a .pdf file.  In Firefox 43, you will notice that when you first open a document, a message at the top of your screen says:  "This .pdf document may not be displayed corrrectly."  Then, to the right of this message, you'll see a button that says: "Open with a different viewer."
    • Left click on the button.
    • On the pop-up screen, you have several choices. 
    • If you want to open the document in Adobe Reader, make that choice by clicking the radio button, and the click OK.  Your document will open in Adobe Reader and you can fill it out and save it.
    • If you want to open the document in another reader that is installed on your computer, use the dropdown menu and choose "Other."
    • Your third choice is to save the document to your computer. Pay attention to where you save it. Then you can open your choice of .pdf reader and access the document from your computer. 

Problems with using forms in other browsers

If the forms are not behaving properly, you are having trouble saving your data or having other problems with the forms, try going to the Adobe site here for help with setting up your browser so that the forms will open in Adobe Reader.  We have been informed, for example, that the child support worksheet does not behave properly in Chrome's browser-based reader.  Also, you cannot save your data there.  Our forms have been tested in the latest version of Adobe Reader.  We cannot promise that they will function correctly with other .pdf readers, including browser-based readers.

Updated July 2016