Save “Un-Savable” Data Entered Into A PDF Form

You’ve been through it before; you’re filling out a PDF form for school, work, or your taxes when you see the message at the top:

“You cannot save text entered into this document. Please fill it out and print it.”

If your computer is hooked up to a printer, this isn’t a problem. But what if you’re using a laptop, with no access to a printer? You’re screwed, right? Better start that 10-page form all over again on a different computer!

Unless…. is there actually a way to save that text?

In The Social Network, Mark Zuckerberg comes up for the idea for Facebook’s relationship status feature when he tells a classmate that people don’t wear their relationship status around their neck. The solution to this PDF problem came to me in much the same way; a friend walked into my room near midnight asking to use my printer, because he had spent an hour filling in a non-savable form for one of his classes. After groaning, I asked him why he would fill out an un-savable form without access to a printer. I didn’t really hear his excuse though, because a possible solution hit me – could I save the document with the Microsoft XPS Document Writer and somehow convert it to a PDF?

It turns out that my solution worked. So here’s the details on how to pull it off if you ever run into un-savable documents.

  1. Fill out your document
  2. Bring up the Print menu and choose the Microsoft XPS Document Writer as your printer
  3. Hit Print. A Save dialogue will come up. Save the document wherever you want.
  4. Now it’s time to convert the XPS document. Go to and upload your document.
  5. Hit the Convert button, and then download your PDF!

Now you’ll have a saved PDF with all the text you entered. Then, you can save it in your Dropbox and print it out when you get to another computer!

Thomas Frank is the geek behind College Info Geek. After paying off $14K in student loans before graduating, landing jobs and internships, starting a successful business, and travelling the globe, he's now on a mission to help you build a remarkable college experience as well. Get the Newsletter | Twitter | Instagram

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25 Comments on "Save “Un-Savable” Data Entered Into A PDF Form"

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Derek Fairbank

You can easily save filled pdf form with pdf form filler tool


Hey there…I have an even more simple solution. Simply download and install “CutePDF Writer” print driver at so it shows up in your printer options. Then to save the updated PDF sheet…just select print and then select “CutePDF Writer” in your printer name list. This will prompt you to save the updated PDF directly in the PDF format. Then goto to the UPS store and print yourself I do since my printer is always on the fritz. By the way you can use this print driver to save any document to PDF (ie MS-Project). Have fun. Adam


I did as you instructed but instead of the Save dialogue coming up, the print control button came up: when I tried to hit it there was only the sound of a ping and there was no control on the page at all, I could not even x out. I had to go to Ctrl Alt delete then start task manager and then delete the form. Any answer to that one?


But you can’t edit it. That’s what I was looking for.

Thomas Frank

You can edit PDF’s with Adobe Acrobat. It’s expensive stuff, but you can grab the free trial if you only need to edit something once.


You sir are brilliant! The landlord and tenant forms I am forced to use in my law practice are all non savable, until now!


@Thomas [email protected] I’m with Thomas on this one. Especially because there’s no privacy policy, terms of service, or any other real indication of who actually runs the site, you don’t know if you can trust that your form isn’t sitting on their servers forever. And because there is no https version of the website, your data can be intercepted in transit. You should easily skip this solution for sensitive data.


what about privacy and scurity? lets say I’ve entered vital information such as credit card numbers, SSN, addresses or a resume, etc…when its time to upload it in the website …can someone see it?


You could also “Print to PDF.” On a Mac, it’s in the print dialog’s lower left-hand corner (the button’s labelled “PDF”). On Windows, you can use software such as PDFCreator at (this one has a bonus feature: it’s open source!).

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