XFA forms are features of a pdf file involving options to complete fields in certain documents - in many cases official documents. These options may open a calendar, for example, in order to select day, month and year, etc. Usually these forms ensure that a certain official format is used.

I have seen that Okular displays a warning that XFA forms are not supported:

enter image description here

enter image description here

More here.

Selecting 'Show forms' in Okular those fields can be edited and changes can be saved, but comparing to what I see in Windows with Adobe Reader only some part of those are really accessed in this way: the calendar options are absent, and the separate fields of day/month/year are not present, which may raise questions on the correctness of the result.

Adobe Reader 9 can still be installed in Ubuntu 14.04 but this seems like a very limited option.

Is there a a native pdf reader that can use fully XFA forms?

(If not, is Wine a solution?)

The solution for Ubuntu 14.04 works in 16.04. too.

The file I tested was here (official French government website).

11 Answers 11

  • Master PDF Editor for Linux has a free and a commercial version, and even the free version has many advanced features, among which "Dynamic XFA form support".

  • Playonlinux has an option to install Adobe Acrobat Reader DC. But oddly, only letting PoL download and install the program works, while when selecting the latest version (AcroRdrDC1700920044_en_US) of the exe file previously downloaded locally the installation fails with an error. I have noticed this on several occasions, and also that PoL installs a different older version: 2015.010.20056.

  • In Ubuntu-16.04-systems the method of installing Adobe Reader 9 for 14.04 (link) still works.

As suggested in Chris' answer, the newer versions of Evince/GNOME Document Viewer, can better handle XFA files, and good enough for the file in question - tested version 3.24.0.

  • 2
    Master PDF Editor for Linux RPM works on Mageia 5. It is awkward to have two answers in one as +1 doesn't tell the reader which one the respondant is voting for.
    – kbulgrien
    Commented Apr 15, 2017 at 18:08
  • For 14.04 installing Adobe Reader worked. As I have not tested Master PDF I decided to not use +1/ Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 10:28
  • My vote is for Master PDF Editor, tested v. 4.1.30 in Manjaro Linux (up-to-date as of August 22nd 2017) 17.0.2. Worked without a hitch, except the date selector is funky, but no obstacle to filling the form Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 11:59
  • 1
    I confirm in 2021, Master PDF Editor works on Debian. Also, Evince works fine for PDF XFA forms now. Better to support OSS!
    – kevinarpe
    Commented Jan 22, 2021 at 12:43

Firefox 93 (or later versions) now supports filling in PDFs with XFA Forms.

  • 1
    This was the way for me, thanks for it. I did not want to manually install master edit pdf and did not want to install 32bit nonstandard packages and outdated Adobe Acrobat. Tried also some other standard tools (evince, ...) but with no luck.
    – Honza P.
    Commented Dec 29, 2021 at 11:26
  • 1
    Saved my life! (Ubuntu 20.04 and didn't want to install Master PDF Editor because I had to install all QT Libraries, which I was trying to avoid)
    – deuseux12
    Commented Jan 4, 2023 at 8:07

evince works for some XFA files. I just tried it on two and it worked just fine on one, but with the other I got a page that said to download Adobe Reader.

  • ... that is a fatal and embarrassing limit of my now old question. I had a XFA file that was not well handled by Evince, but the program is often updated. I have to find that file and test again to be able to confirm.
    – user32012
    Commented May 3, 2017 at 20:04
  • 1
    Indeed. GNOME Document Viewer 3.24.0 has a rather good support now for that type of file. - Thank you.
    – user32012
    Commented May 3, 2017 at 20:12
  • Testing again on that file and comparing with Master PDF and Adobe Reader DC, I can say that Evince works, but still falls a bit behind (as I mentioned in the question in relation to Okular, the separate fields of day/month/year are not seen as well as in the other apps, which may be misleading as to the result). That may depend on the variations in the XFA files.
    – user32012
    Commented May 3, 2017 at 20:41
  • Evince 3.30.2 on Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 does not work for me with my PDF files. These are Polish annual tax return government forms PIT-36 :(
    – Marecky
    Commented Mar 3, 2019 at 16:29
  • I didn't want to use commercial software for this, but Evince does not work, Master PDF works.
    – iago
    Commented Apr 17, 2020 at 8:41

Had a .pdf form with XFA fields I couldn't fill in. Downloaded and installed Master-pdf, free version:


Did the trick, at least with the form I needed. I'm running:

$ uname -a
Linux debianHP 3.16.0-4-amd64 #1 SMP Debian 3.16.43-2+deb8u1 (2017-06-18) x86_64 GNU/Linux
  • 1
    This fits more as comment to the accepted answer, as it is already mentioned there.
    – user32012
    Commented Jun 25, 2017 at 11:24
  • rpm version on Fedora does the job as well Commented Jan 18, 2021 at 15:09

Adobe Reader 9 can be installed in 14.04 and 16.04 - see https://askubuntu.com/questions/767937/how-to-install-adobe-acrobat-in-ubuntu-16-04 (works also for 14.04).


I am not aware of any PDF viewer besides Adobe products which can properly work with XFA forms. (I may be wrong on this; would not be the first time…).

If Adobe Reader 9 for Ubuntu is feature equivalent with Adobe Reader for Windows or Mac, it should be able to open and work with XFA forms. Saving, however, depends on whether the issuer of the form has applied Extended Reader Rights.

If the feature equivalence is not given, then your only choice is establishing a virtual Windows machine and run Adobe Acrobat/Reader. Saving with Reader may still be the issue, however.

  • 1
    I think there is a huge difference between actual documents. While I also have read that only Adobe Reader fully supports XFA, on the other hand very few documents use all the XFA features. That is, readers that support only partially XFA may be enough in practice to use such documents.
    – user32012
    Commented Feb 27, 2016 at 20:05

I was able to fill XFA forms with "Acrobat Reader DC Reader" with Wine. I've installed it using PlayOnLinux. The installed version is: 15.10.20056.167417 and can be downloaded at ftp://ftp.adobe.com/pub/adobe/reader/win/AcrobatDC/1501020056/. It let me fill XFA forms that with any native Linux PDF reader I couldn't even print the forms for filling it manually.

  • When trying to install in Playonlinux from that package downloaded manually I get an error. -- But the installation works fine when I choose the option of letting Playonlinux download automatically the package before installing, although it seems to be exactly the one mentioned above.
    – user32012
    Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 10:09

There is an SaaS convertor from XFA to simple PDF: http://speedtesting.herokuapp.com/pdfxfa/


As I tested.

Firefox, Brave browser, all works well with XFA.

❯ firefox --version
Mozilla Firefox 107.0
❯ brave --version
Brave Browser 

Foxit Reader works just fine in Wine without all the tinkering and patching needed to make Adobe work. There is also a native Linux version of Foxit, but it lacks most of the advanced features and is thus just another simple PDF viewer. Download from: http://download.cnet.com/Foxit-Reader/3000-18497_4-10313206.html Foxit's own pages won't let you choose the Windows version if it detects a Linux client.


PDF Studio Viewer, Qoppa's free PDF reader, can fill interactive forms and includes JavaScript support.

It does have support for static xfa forms but not dynamic forms.



You must log in to answer this question.