Improved PDF support in SharePoint 2013 delivers better User Experience

There are two major end-user experiences one should know about PDF support in SharePoint 2013. After 4 iteration of SharePoint products, As Todd Klindt blogged about month ago, finally SharePoint 2013 natively supports PDF files.

As Todd mentioned, PDF icon is natively supported in SharePoint 2013 results and document libraries without any additional configuration or installation of software in SharePoint 2013 farm. There is no need to install Adobe’s free PDF ifilter or Foxit PDF iFilter like SharePoint 2010 or MOSS 2007. This is simply available in out of the box configuration.

Apart from native support of PDF icon, Microsoft even takes it one step further and allows end user to open PDF file without saving them on your machine if you have Adobe Reader 10.0.2 or later is installed. If you click on the PDF file with proper version of Adobe Reader installed from IE 9 or later, SharePoint will try to open PDF file in the Adobe Reader and prompt user to either checkout & open or open the PDF file directly. Office 365 and SharePoint Online 2010 already supports opening PDF files without saving them prior to opening them. It is nice to see Microsoft implementing this simple yet very useful feature in SharePoint 2013 as Out of the Box feature

Here is my experience clicking the PDF file from the document library in IE 9 –  I have Adobe Reader 10.0.4 version installed on my machine.

Microsoft has worked really hard to integrate SharePoint functionality in the Adobe Reader software. Once user opens the document in the Adobe Reader software, users will have option to directly check out and check in documents from the Adobe Reader. This would definitely make PDF file viewing and management experience much better in coming years.

Having native PDF support in SharePoint 2013 – PDF Icon & Opening PDF files without saving them first would be one of the most welcome feature from many IT shops.

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5 Responses to Improved PDF support in SharePoint 2013 delivers better User Experience

  1. Native PDF support is an interesting change. That should make pdf viewing a lot simpler in our farm. Thanks,

    • Nik Patel says:

      Yes, I agree.. This is one of the those requirements which made SP2010 looks bad.. My clients were always suprised to see SharePoint doesn’t support PDF natively in earliar versions…

  2. Ming Kwan says:

    Hi Nik, I was able to have this feature work on my SP2010 Foundation but I’ve seemed to have lost this functionality in SP2013 Standard. I would conclude that this would be a SP2013 setting to disable this. Any idea on what that could be?

  3. Nik – In my experience, the integration between Adobe Reader/Acrobat and SharePoint only works when the user accesses the opens the PDF file from outside of the browser. It does not work when users click on a PDF file from their browser. For example, I often use an Outlook add-in called to navigate to my content in SharePoint, and when I use that tool to open a PDF file in Adobe Acrobat, the “SharePoint Server” menu is always displayed. But when I click on the same PDF file from IE or Chrome, the SharePoint Server menu is never displayed.

    My understanding is that when I click a PDF file from a browser, the browser always downloads the PDF to the local cache, and Adobe opens the file from the local cache rather than from the URL. I have replicated this behavior in multiple SharePoint 2010 and 2013 environments. Did you do anything to the SharePoint Server configuration to allow this to work?


  4. SharePoint Integration with PDF
    We recently uploaded all PDF documents uploaded to our dept. site.
    But now when browser opens up the PDF from sharepoint – office 365, we are not able to edit the PDF; basically we need to add comments to the PDF. We can check out the file and make comments but check in fails. FI: It works in some libraries where as in some libraries it says “Acrobat can not access network. Please varify your computer’s network connection and try again.
    How do we solve this? Thank you.

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