I'm searching for a PDF viewer on Linux that is able to display PDFs that were created with the Adobe Reader and contain XFA forms. The PDFs I get from the administration of my company are displayed as shown below in Okular and Evince on Ubuntu 16.04. Since the Adobe Reader itself is deprecated and unsafe to use on Linux, I do not want to install it on my system.

Any recommendations?

EDIT: A sample file, that I found on the internet, where this error occurs can be found here.

enter image description here

  • I take it you don't want to follow the recommendation given in that message and apt install adobereader? I vaguely remember some of the alternatives mentioned XFA, but I never had the chance to test. I'm currently not at my machine, so I cannot even check the ones I'm using – but might do so later.
    – Izzy
    Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 9:13
  • 1
    Yes, I will not follow the instruction in that message. The Adobe Reader for Linux is highly unsafe.
    – Ethunxxx
    Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 9:41
  • There's that, plus it's a monster in terms of loading time and memory hogging, agreed – which is why I killed it from my systems years ago. I'll check my machines in the evening (noon here currently) and see what I use (having installed multiple candidates for different purposes) and if any of those can deal with XFA. Would be helpful to have a sample document to try – so if you have one without sensitive data, could you link it?
    – Izzy
    Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 9:44
  • Thanks, I linked a sample file that I found online.
    – Ethunxxx
    Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 10:53
  • Thanks, just checking. You can remove from the candidates' list: QPDFViewer, Xournal, MuPDF, XReader (those are the ones I use – none of them could deal with the XFA stuff). From what's in the repos, that only leaves XPDF to try, but I doubt that one can deal with it. Sorry for the negative response, but it might at least save you from install-test-uninstall those ;) Good luck, I hope I have missed one!
    – Izzy
    Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 19:10

2 Answers 2


I am not aware of an XFA-enabled PDF viewer for Ubuntu (I may be wrong, and if so, I will stand corrected).

The workaround would mean a virtual Windows machine with the newest version of Acrobat Reader.

  • Thanks for your answer! I'm aware of the possibility of using a VM but this is cumbersome. Maybe someone else comes up with another idea.
    – Ethunxxx
    Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 9:02

I have not tested it myself, I would suggest giving Foxit Reader a try on Linux.

Otherwise, it looks like XFA rendering is now part of PDFium, so you could look for a viewer already built using that.

  • Thanks! I have already tested Foxit Reader and it doesn't work, unfortunately.
    – Ethunxxx
    Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 14:57
  • Ah, then good luck finding a viewer for Linux built on PDFium as that might be your best bet then. Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 15:34

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