PDF files (Portable Document Format) can contain multiple layers with different content on each one. They can also have interactive elements, such as drop-downs, checklists, or radio buttons. The data for these elements is stored in a separate area to the text on the page.

Such rich, complex PDF files can sometimes cause problems when you try to open or use them in other apps or when you try to print them.

For example it can sometimes happen that such a complex PDF is not recognized by eversign. The way this manifests itself is that you, for instance, cannot upload it or the document gets stuck in the signing process.

The solution to this problem is to flatten the PDF.

What is flattening a PDF?

Flattening involves taking the text, images and shapes from superimposed layers of the PDF and merging them into one single layer.

The PDF will still look the same but the user can no longer interact with the forms, which makes it usable with eversign.

When you flatten a PDF, the following happens:

  • Interactive elements such as checkboxes, text boxes, radio buttons, drop-down lists are no longer fillable and take the current selection
  • Annotations become “native text”
  • Multiple layers of text, images, page numbers, and header styles become one single layer

Where to flatten your PDF

There are many online tools that help you flatten your PDF files. We recommend Sejda, which is free for documents up to 200 pages or 50 Mb and 3 tasks per hour.

After flattening your PDF, you should be able to use it with eversign. Should you have any other problem, don't hesitate to contact our friendly customer service team.