When converting InfoPath to PDF my file does not look 100% the same.

Muhimbi's range of PDF Conversion products is the only tool that provides comprehensive support for converting InfoPath to PDF as well as many other formats. Attachments are automatically converted and Conversion specific views can be defined, yet InfoPath can be a tough beast to tame.

The following troubleshooting steps apply to the legacy InfoPath converter used in versions older than the PDF Converter's 8.0 release (how to determine your version). If you experience any InfoPath related formatting problems then it is strongly recommended to use the latest PDF Converter. Details about the new InfoPath converter can be found hereContact us if you have any questions.

 

One of the few problems our customers experience is that the conversion of InfoPath forms to PDF is not always pixel perfect. Naturally we have discussed this with our sources inside Microsoft and although they acknowledge these problems, especially when generating PDFs in a server based environment, they will never fix it as InfoPath has been discontinued. We don't like discontinuing support for popular software so here are a couple of tips to hopefully resolve any formatting related problems.

 

First of all, make sure you have the latest InfoPath service packs installed on the server (For IP2007 you need SP2 + Any post SP2 updates that come via Windows Update). 

Depending on the complexity of your InfoPath forms, the PDF output generated by InfoPath may not be pixel perfect. Unfortunately our product is limited by InfoPath’s internal PDF Exporting ability. The best way for you to simulate the PDFs exported by our system is to open the XML file in InfoPath and selecting 'File / Export to / PDF or XPS'.

The most common problems are:

  1. Gray borders around the page: If Internet Explorer 9 or newer is installed on the server running the conversion service then you  may see a border around each converted InfoPath form. Unfortunately we have no control over this so either use our watermarking facilities to place a white square on top of the borders or roll back to a previous version of Internet Explorer (on the conversion server only) You can uninstall IE9 from 'Add / Remove programs' / View Installed Updates and then filter for 'Explorer'. Select the IE9 update and click 'Uninstall'.
  2. Content in the page headers / footers is not exported: This is a known InfoPath PDF issue. A possible solution is to try and move the content from your headers to the actual pages. Alternatively you can post process the PDF File generated by InfoPath using one of the many built in watermarking facilities that ship with the product. 
  3. Page breaks: When exporting to PDF from InfoPath, InfoPath does not 'break' the user interface elements particularly well. The solution we normally recommend is to create a print view that is specifically designed to make the exported PDF files look as good as possible.
  4. Missing grid borders: InfoPath may randomly fail to render grid borders. Increase the width of the border to at least 1.5 pixels as a workaround.
  5. Cut off content: Consider switching dimensions away from pixels and use cm or inches. You may also want to consider reducing the size of your form's margins.
  6. Check-boxes not displayed: When using InfoPath on systems with IE9 or later installed, InfoPath's export to PDF facility is severely crippled, this is unrelated to Muhimbi's software. To solve this problem either downgrade Internet Explorer to version 8 or configure the PDF Converter to convert InfoPath forms in 'Bitmap' format.  
     
<!-- InfoPath output on conversion servers with IE9 or later installed may result in
undesirably looking output due to architectural limitations in InfoPath. It is
recommended to roll back to IE8 or switch the 'RenderingMode' to 'Bitmap'.
Supported values are: 'Default' or 'Bitmap'. Although Bitmap output may look
better, the content of these PDFs cannot be indexed or searched. --> 
<add key="InfoPathConverterFullFidelity.RenderingMode" value="Default"/>

 
For details about how to edit the Conversion Service's configuration file see this KB article.

 

Note that you can always create a specific view just for the PDF Conversion.

Some of our customers use a different work around, which is to use InfoPath / Forms server for capturing the data and then use MS-Word to populate the captured data into a template. This works really well as MS-Word provides much more control over the look and feel and the generated PDF files look perfect. For an example of how to achieve this see this post.

You also may want to check the page setup of your form and make sure the XPS Document writer is the default printer on the server. Please check the default page setting for this printer as well.

Finally we recommend going through the InfoPath troubleshooting guide as it is really helpful. 

 

I am afraid that, other than upgrading to at least version 8 of the Muhimbi PDF Converter, there is no perfect answer to magically solve InfoPath's formatting related problems. However, we hope that some of these suggestions are helpful. Hundreds of customers and some of the largest organisations in the world are using Muhimbi's PDF Conversion products to deal with InfoPath conversion, so you are in good company.

 

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2 Comments

  • 0
    Avatar
    Peter Behler

    In regards to the Grey Border around each page, is there any update that fixes this yet?  I just ran across the issue and need more information on "placing a white square on top of the borders" I haven't messed with watermarks yet and need more direction. Is this a Line based Watermark, and how do I make it cover just the border.

  • 0
    Avatar
    Jeroen Ritmeijer

    Hi Peter, please send an email to support@muhimbi.com for assistance.

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