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Eagle Project Workbook is exclusionary

So here is the rub and time to consider real costs? Should the BSA be spending any money on maintaining the workbook?? As long as they are using Acrobat there is a very real cost even if not a developer cost. We will start with a very real software cost. Even if Adobe is giving this to the BSA there is an IT support cost just to have it on the right person’s machine. Now add in that you have consigned the updates to a professional.

The mostly volunteer committee decides an update is needed and now a professional will modify the form and send it back to the volunteers. They will then look it over and then it gets published. Make the change and it becomes the volunteers update the list of headings and it gets published.

Not sure about the Android version of Adobe Reader DC, but for sure the iOS version can’t open the workbook form. If you try, it refers you to the window/MacOS version of the product.

Opens fine on my iOS with Acrobat - on my iPhone - forms work
EDIT: no I did the Application that worked - you are right the Workbook failed

One workaround is to have the Scout use the “print to Microsoft PDF” printer device selection and print out the Workbook as a new file. It flattens it and you can’t edit it, but at least you can then email it around for review as it can be opened in the iOS (& I assume Android) Acrobat Reader apps. Not elegant and not a great long term solution, but it’s a workaround. I’d guess that you could open it in any Linux PDF reader but am not a Linux person so have no means to try. Am attaching such a PDF file created that way for you to try out on Linux.

Also, here’s what the print dialog looks like and the printer selection to look for in Reader DC:

test print to pdf workbook.pdf (3.6 MB)

Yea, I think because the Workbook has some use of forms edit controls and macros that the iOS/Android versions don’t support, but if you do a Print to Microsoft PDF first, the resulting flattened file can be read.

Thank you for posting this issue - I would have thought I was the only one with this problem. My son is having the same issue and volume of comments speaks for itself. I have just spent two hours working through this issue on a nice summer night. The Eagle workbook is just one of many broken things in BSA right now.


The issue with this is that the signature pages are not included. My District/Council requires the proposal to be signed by the Scout, Unit Leader, Committee Chairman, and Beneficiary Representative prior to submission for Council approval. That would need to come as a separate document, which often gets lost, because “wet signatures” are required (exception being those submitted during the pandemic but that is temporary).

I don’t think the problem is so much that the document is in PDF format, but that the active elements in the workbook only work in Adobe’s application for reading/modifying PDFs. Several of the other PDFs distributed by the BSA are fillable in other applications (such as Preview or macOS) without the issues being discussed in this thread.

I’ve tried transferring it to another platform but as long as the file has some secret-double-handshake with Adobe Acrobat DC I can’t get any copies to open on Preview (Mac), Printing it and scanning it requires a scanner for each person sending it. Many of our Scouts barely have computers (usually school-issued Chromebooks) and a printer. Asking families to also have a scanner is too much. Also, on the Mac version I have not been able to sign a document on the app.

I wasn’t buying the standard Linux argument, but this argument I like. We many scouts now having school issues chromebooks, and standards compliant (and this maybe less rich) pdf is a must. Thanks for sharing as you have changed my position with your points.

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Adobe appears to want customers on mobile devices (cell phones and tablets) to “subscribe to Acrobat Pro DC, Adobe PDF Pack, or Export PDF.” I do not know what Mac needs. On my PC I am using the reader.

(This statement does not indicate an endorsement by me or BSA.)

There has to be a way to make it more workable for all Scouts as well as the adults that have to read and process them. I know that it has to work across multiple platforms (Mac, Windows, Linuz, etc.) but if game designers can release a game that works on X-Box, PlayStation, PC’s, and Switch, we can certainly find a way to have one document accessible to all.

I think the workable solution is to integrate it into Scoutbook so that it’s platform and application independent.

Integration within Scoutbook would make it dependent on Scoutbook. :slight_smile: Not everyone uses Scoutbook (our Troop doesn’t).

A simple, standards-conformant web form would be ideal. This would not be difficult. I probably have Scouts that could do it.

It only took about 5 weeks to get a reply this time, but I did finally get a reply from the BSA Advancement Team (Advancement.Team@scouting.org):

Thank you for your email we are working on ways to making the workbook more accessible to Scouts and leaders.

… a bit obtuse, but perhaps there is hope.

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I just wanted to let you know that I am designing a system in my spare time where you can create an account for scouts and it will sync with their unit leaders and parents accounts. I will post it here when done.

You are write to get any features you really need you have to pay an expensive subscription fee. It is really bad.

What kind of system for Scout accounts? Creating online accounts for youth under 13 can get you into a whole lotta legal trouble, no matter what your intent is.

Another example of the Committee on Committees of Committees. The BSA is a heavily bloated organization that looks more like the military and the US government than an agile not-for-profit organization bootstrapping to serve customers. The bootstrapping for the BSA is to fill out a form in triplicate duplicate. We live in a digital world, and I have 4 Adobe Readers and had to get a 6th to read the form. When you erect barriers to access and people value the less and less amount of time they have to make a non-profit like the BSA work, they are less likely to spend any time at all in the organization. Formstack, JotForm, SurveyMonkey. There are hundreds of form makers that will either give a dramatically reduced price or for free for a non-profit. Those forms also offer the special advantage of integrations to CRM databases so the form data can be sent directly to a database for tracking and management. The application should be cut in half - it’s long and duplicative and unnecessarily so and with a good online form the BSA could streamline and automate processing.