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What Are XFA Forms? Best Readers & Editing Possibility

XFA forms, or XML Forms Architecture, are a product of Adobe Systems. In general, XFA forms provide dedicated templates within fillable fields, which determine the form's appearance and layout. Since XFA forms are integrated with the PDF, it's possible to edit the forms, validate work, perform calculations, or save changes within the filled forms.

Meanwhile, to read or edit XFA forms, you need an XFA PDF reader. This article discusses 3 top tools to get started with. You'll also learn about UPDF, the best PDF editor for managing your daily tasks.

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Part 1: What is XFA? What XFA Form is Used for?

XFA is referred to as an interactive and dynamic form in PDF documents. The stored information on XFA is in XML format, as compared to AcroForm technology used in traditional PDFs. Hence, XFA can make much more complex and dynamic forms that support data binding with respect to form fields and external data sources.

Meanwhile, there exist several use cases for an XFA form. Here are listed some of the uses that make XFA a truly special format:

  • Complex Data Entry: XFA forms are well-suited for scenarios requiring extensive data entry. After all, they possess structured and organized layouts for capturing various types of information. This includes text, numbers, dates, checkboxes, and more.
  • Calculations and Validations: There's advanced support for calculations and validations on XFA forms. It's because form fields can be configured to calculate based on entered values. Hence, XFA can implement complex business rules and validate data integrity while maintaining data accuracy.
  • Offline Form Filling: It's possible to fill XFA forms offline using PDF viewers that support XFA technology. This makes them suitable for scenarios where users need to complete forms with no internet connectivity. The offline functionality allows for increased flexibility and convenience.
  • Branding Customization: XFA forms offer a high level of customization that is ideal for achieving branding goals. So, you can adjust form layouts, styles, and formatting to specific branding guidelines or requirements. This allows for maintaining a consistent look and feel across the forms.

Part 2: Can XFA Form Be Edited?

Yes, editing XFA forms is possible using software tools like Adobe LiveCycle Designer or Adobe Acrobat Pro. These two specialized tools help modify XFA form templates, adjust layouts, add or remove form fields, and customize form behavior. There are more editing options in Acrobat Pro as compared to LiveCycle Designer. But both these tools are ideal options for making changes to XFA forms.

Part 3: Top 3 XFA PDF Readers

There are dedicated XFA PDF document tools available that you can use to open, view and edit XFA forms. But what are these tools called? Find answers here:

1. Foxit Reader

Foxit Reader is a PDF reading tool that efficiently processes XFA PDF forms. Hence, you can continue to modify XFA forms by filling in them as needed. Users can even reset the forms that are filled in. The possibility also includes adding signatures to the existing form fields.

Meanwhile, using the Foxit Reader is simple and convenient because it allows easy tool navigation around. This PDF XFA forms reader has cross-platform support as it's accessible on mobile, desktop, and web platforms.

foxit xfa pdf reader

2. Adobe Acrobat

By using Adobe Acrobat Reader, continue to edit dynamic XFA forms simply and conveniently. After all, several editing functions can help you modify the XFA forms. You can also fill in the forms and add your signature or other initials.

Adobe Acrobat also allows you to enjoy a perfect viewing experience. Thus, you can continue to read the data in the XFA forms and extract data for your business. This XFA PDF reader also allows you to share PDF documents to collaborate on the provided data.

adobe acrobat xfa pdf reader

3. Master PDF Editor

With Master PDF Editor, you can now fill XFA PDF forms as per requirements. Moreover, this XFA forms PDF reader allows you to modify interactive elements of forms, including checkboxes, buttons, and text fields. Not only can you edit XFA forms, but you can also print them through Master PDF Editor.

Adding digital signatures to the forms is also among the possibilities. In general, you can also customize the text in PDF by changing font style, color, etc. There is also an option for splitting and merging PDF files or creating new pages within existing files. 

master pdf editor xfa

Part 4: The Best PDF Readers and Form Filler

Although the internet is filled with several PDF tools, the better and more reliable option is UPDF. Using this PDF reader and editor, you can edit the text, and links and apply watermarks to PDF documents. Meanwhile, you can read PDF documents in your desired page layouts. With the dark mode facility, reading at night becomes simplified and convenient. Even though UPDF doesn't support XFA forms right now, you can fill out normal PDF forms easily, including interactive forms and non-interactive forms.

Download it now for a free trial.

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updf pdf form filler

You can also organize your PDF documents by extracting, deleting, cropping, rearranging, splitting, and adding pages to existing documents. With UPDF Cloud and the powerful annotation tools, collaborate on PDF documents with people worldwide. Let's find some other important features of UPDF:

Key Features of UPDF - The Powerful PDF Management Toolkit

  • PDF Editing: With UPDF, you can edit text by changing content, font, font size, color, style, and layout. You can also control and edit PDF images or even put watermarks on documents. The possibility also includes adding headers & footers, colored backgrounds, or applying links to documents. 
  • Annotating PDFs: Make your PDFs more engaging with UPDF annotation. So, you can add comments, highlights, underlines, strikeout text, text boxes, and sticky notes to your document. In fact, you can also add stickers, stamps, signatures, and even insert shapes.
  • PDF Conversion: Continue to convert your PDF documents into different file formats like Word, PowerPoint, Text, HTML, Excel, XML, RTF, CSV, and Image. With the batch processing function, converting multiple files simultaneously will save valuable time. 
  • OCR For PDF: UPDF is powered by AI technology that helps convert your paper documents, scanned PDFs, and images to editable yet searchable PDF documents. The OCR technology is available in 38 languages and processes conversion in 3 layouts.

Video Tutorial on How to Fill Out a PDF Form

Part 5: FAQ on XFA Forms

1. How to open XFA PDF online?

To open XFA PDF online, you need to use DocHub, which allows you to upload documents with up to 25 MB file size. Meanwhile, the PDF editing for XFA forms is smooth and efficient.

To use DocHub, open its website in the browser and click on the "Select a document" button. Continue to select and upload your XFA PDF document. Wait a few moments, and your XFA PDF document will appear for reading or editing it.

2. Can I open XFA PDF in Chrome?

Some browsers, including Chrome, have added the support of XFA-based PDF forms to view directly. If you cannot view XFA PDF in Chrome, access this "chrome://flags" link and search for "PDF XFA Support" through the search bar. Afterward, change the "Default" option to "Enabled" to avoid issues in the future.

3. How do I create an XFA form?

You can create an XFA form from a third-party tool that specializes in XFA form creation. One such tool is Adobe LiveCycle Designer, which is commonly used to create XFA forms without hassles.

Related reading: How to convert XFA to a normal PDF >>


To sum up, XFA is an XML-based format used to create fillable forms in PDF. These forms are dynamic, interactive, and fully structured with layered text fields. Meanwhile, you need good XFA PDF readers to read the XFA document. This article provided a list of the top 3 XFA PDF reader tools to start with. Moreover, you also discovered UPDF, which takes PDF editing and managing to the next level - download it for a free trial now!

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