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Dear community, 

I am trying to edit pdfs stored in a document library on sharepoint with no success. 

Is this possible at all to do? 

 

Regards! 

 

37 Replies
Hi Carl,
PDFs should be opened in your browser with no problems...can you share more details about what issues are you having?

Hi Juan, 

Thank you for replying. Opening the PDF is not a problem, but I would like to be able to edit the PDF in the browser. Such as annotations or comment the text. 

 

Regards, 

Carl 

Well,
To do that, the only thing you can do (unless there is a browser Plugin that allows to do it) is to download the PDF file, edit it in your local PC and upload it again to the document librar. As an alternative to download the PDF file, you can sync to your PC using OneDrive For Business Sync Client and just edit the file using your PDF reader.

Microsoft and Adobe are working hard to have a better integration of Adobe in Office 365, so we can expect improvements in PDF documents edition in Office 365 in the future

Are you aware of any timeline for such a feature / app to be available to 365 users?

 

Hi Carl,

As an alternative, if you have Acrobat Adobe DC (and possibly other instances), it is possible to map a SharePoint library with Adobe itself.

I agree it's really disappointing that we cannot force .pdfs to open in the desktop application.

Like Juan says, hopefully, we will get some better integration soon.

For some of our users, this is enough to stop them from using SharePoint.
It may not always be possible for all your documents but if they aren't too custom, you can open PDFs in Word.

Actually, the responses above are partially correct. You are able to edit the pdf in place with a few extra clicks. As long as you have an adobe version installed that has edit capabilities....try this

 

  • Make sure you are in Internet Explorer - yes, I know its slow but it's the only way to get to "explorer" view
  • View your library in explorer
    • Classic Experience - Go to the library tab and select "Open with Explorer"
    • Modern Exp - Click the view drop down and select the "View in File Explorer" view
  • Double click on your pdf and adobe will launch
  • Follow the prompts...it will ask you to check out the file (even if you don't have check in/out turned on)
  • Make your edits
  • Save and check in

Please let us know if this works

 

It Works - Thanks!

I just set up an entire workflow for staff and important committee members in which the committee members, who are external users, would mark up a fillable PDF with comments in comment boxes I created as fillable fields. I just got an email back from one of them saying his comments disappeared after he filled them in. The entire point of this was to make document review and commenting as easy as possible with as few clicks as possible. Requesting a committee of six people either use internet explorer (you overestimate how many people even know what the word 'browser' means) and follow additional steps, or download and reupload (bad, bad, bad practice in any situation) the PDF is not even under consideration. It's humiliating that I did a training for everyone, created documentation, and then come to find out that a feature that should be there isn't. 

 

(While MS is at it, please make fillable PDFs appear in their fillable form upon clicking on the file name in SharePoint - as it is, you have to hover over the file, click the vertical dots > Open > Open in browser for the file to even appear in its fillable form - which as previously detailed is a bait and switch anyway, since if you fill it out, it won't save)

I've an example by Laura Rogers using Word quick parts that map to SharePoint columns, you can lock the Word document so only the fields are editable. This does have the same editing problem as you have to open it in Word for quickparts to work but you could set the default library open to default to client application.https://wonderlaura.com/2019/01/09/microsoft-flow-quick-parts/

I just finished doing that but your suggestion to set the library to default open to client app I'll do now. Thanks Alan. But if any MS staff is reading, this fix doesn't suffice. Issue *not* resolved. Nothing short of near-total Adobe-MS integration will do in the business world...if MS can't imitate PDF features for IP reasons. You see my end users don't care what they click on. They just want to click on something once and have it work right. This is the smartphone mentality. People are no longer used to having to hunt around on screens for things. 

Hey. I have been using Acrobat Adobe DC for last several years. Of course you may use even Word for editing but I prefer pdf maker to create and edit pdf files in the brower it's easy and convenient you just can do it in your browser but there's also a desktop version there.

Agree. I have complaint directly to Microsoft for this lack of functionality as it is incredibly frustrating for users. I can't believe companies like Dropbox and Box already offer this functionality but SharePoint doesn't. Truly painful to even advocate for SharePoint with end users.

Hope Microsoft and Adobe get on a solution for this very soon.

@Michael Malloy this worked for me!  Thanks for the post!

While this is a workaround, this should not be the acceptable experience we require from Microsoft. Similar if I want to open an Office file in Word Online or the desktop version, I get to choose how to open the PDF in Adobe with check-in/out functionality with only one-click, from any browser. That's the acceptable and usable workflow for end users. Period.

@Juan Gonzalez 

 

Seriously? R-E-L-A-X 

Sure buddy (◔_◔)

@Deleted and all other views of this thread - please up-vote this feature in UserVoice.
Don't relax (or be-lax) as some have suggested here - use you voice and vote here:
https://office365.uservoice.com/forums/264636-general/suggestions/18507451-allow-editing-of-pdf-files-from-sharepoint-online

@SteveMartin 

Actually relaxing and using your voice are not mutually exclusive. It is quite possible to relax and use one's voice simultaneously.

There's a few problems working against PDFs, here.

 

1) PDFs were never meant to be edited. They're a *print* format.

2) PDF "standard" isn't a standard. Adobe has extended/abused PDF to no end. This lead to a misuse of PDFs; see #1. Think of OpenGL. There's a standard, and then there is vendor abuse of said standard.

3) Because of this, Microsoft cannot implement a fully featured PDF viewer/editor, due to #2.

 

As far as browser integration goes, this is a problem on the client side. All major browsers, sans IE, have built-in PDF viewers. It is up to the vendors of PDF software to integrate with those built-in viewers. For example, Adobe has a Chrome web extension that allows you to go from the built-in Chrome web view to Adobe Reader/Acrobat.

 

OneDrive sync or adding the library within Acrobat are the routes I would personally take in a scenario where these cannot be converted to a proper format designed for editing.

PDF format isn’t overused or abused, it does what its supposed to; a read only document that can have a signature or markup attached. The headache for users of SharePoint and PDFs is that even if they open a PDF from SP in desktop, when they go to save it gets saved in some obscure temporary directory instead of back to SP. Suggestions to download to desktop, open/edit in application, then reupload back to SP are pure typical MS idiocracy at its best.

Hey Everyone - just letting you know Adobe now has a version of Acrobat that connects to your SharePoint Online/Azure subscription as an Enterprise App. You'll need your O365 Admin to install it but once installed it allows Annotation of PDFs inside the browser for PDFs stored on your SharePoint Online site.

 

Find more info here:
https://documentcloud.adobe.com/o365pdf/start.html

Opening PDFs seems to go through the documentcloud.adobe.com and is a little slower than browser supported viewing of PDFs but the annotation in browser editing is worth it IMHO.

 

We looked at this recently, if memory serves, you have to configure any SharePoint library/folder location that you want to work in first in Adobe. A common scenario for us is users sharing PDFs for review with others via OneDrive. Adobe DocumentCloud was a non runner as it still makes the process for the user cumbersome.

If you discover different, please let me know.

@Richard Bourke 

 

There is still the ability to open the library in explorer view (using IE). This allows you to edit the pdf in place and it saves the changes to the online file with no need to download/re-upload. Yeah, it's not lightning fast...but it does work.

@Richard Bourke The Adobe Acrobat Cloud is setup as an Enterprise App authorized to your O365/Azure subscription and then you don't need to authorize it for each folder. 

Once the user is allowed access to the Enterprise App they use it anywhere SharePoint or OneDrive

@SteveMartin, don't you need to configure each site URL via Add an account?
I recall it working great for a user in their own OneDrive or team site (which was added as an account for that user) but not so great an experience when random users share a PDF to others for feedback/review from their own OneDrive. I may have to revisit it if that's not the case.

@Richard Bourke 

 

I'd be interested to hear how this works. If we can enable it tenant wide, then that would be fantastic.

Not so great if it needs enabling on a folder by folder level.

 

@SteveMartin - Do you only get the ability to annotate?  We're looking for the full capacity of adobe either in the browser, or the ability to open from SharePoint in the client application without having to go via file explorer.

@Andrew Silcock It works just as you'd expect. SharePoint or OneDrive content PDF file opens in the browser routing by way of documentcloud.adobe.com. The free version only lets you add comments and highlight/markup. But if you sign-in on Adobe and you have a license then you get all tools like combining pdf files, managing pages, etc. (license is not cheap of course - you pay per user/month).

Have your O365 Admin install the App on your tenant and give it a whirl its free - but likely you are exposing any PDF you open to Adobe (which you'd be doing anyway if you signup for the digital signing option).

 

AdobeCloud.pngInBrowser Editing

@Richard Bourke Once installed as an Enterprise App (follow the process on Adobe linked above) you then just need to authorize users on that Enterprise App in your Azure Portal. Authorize everyone using an NT Group.

EnterpriseAppSetup.png

@Chad Woodward if _only_ it was used as a read only format. Nope, instead it is used as a full fledged editable document. Yes, it is abused and misused, unfortunately.

Hey @SteveMartin, I tested this out again. It looks really slick, particularly for the single user working on a PDF. 

Do you know if co-authoring is something that will be coming along in the future? It seems to not fully support it currently from my limited testing.

Also, am I correct that for commenting/annotating PDFs there is no license required?

No one in the organization can find a print command when opening a PDF in Adobe Document Cloud. Is this to be expected for the "free" version? Organize pages, combine files, export PDF to Word/PPT/Excel/rtf, download PDF, drawing tool, highlight text, and sticky note are all visible but a print option isn't. Right click options are add sticky note and use drawing tool. I consented for this enterprise app to be used on behalf of the organization and no one is signing in with an Adobe Document Cloud account because they don't have such accounts. 

@Richard Bourke - Sorry not sure on Adobe's plans to allow co-authoring 

Annotating/Commenting/markup does seem to be totally free - no Adobe account login required.
They get you when you want to combine, Organize or Convert PDFs - plus they want to hook you on their signature document signing platform.

@KD10018 True print option isn't available as I suspect its difficult to do through the Adobe DocumentCloud and not possible like the built in PDF viewer in the browser. 

Its a good way to discourage printing and do more Sharing :) - in the interim I see you can Download the PDF then view it in the local browser viewer to do printing.

 

There is no need to signin on Adobe for all of the markup features. You only need to signin / pay for features like convert PDF/Organize PDF and the more extensive editing features of full Acrobat editing.

@SteveMartin Sigh. I'm at a nonprofit that is a financial institution where printing is unfortunately still quite common and SharePoint is de facto treated as a digital backup of a paper client folder. I'm afraid that asking staff to download and then print is just a step too far. The goal is to stay in the browser. What I had been looking for in the enterprise app was the ability for team site members to fill out fillable PDF forms in the browser rather than having to download, fill out, and re-upload.

@SteveMartinCan you give more detail on how to sign into Adobe Cloud DC to have the full editing capabilities from SharePoint? I guess I'm not seeing how to do that. 

This feature is available in Onedrive (within Office 365 Home). Why would it not be available on Sharepoint (which is within Office 365 Business Premium) 

 

I am paying nearly 10 times as much to use Business Premium, and I need at very minimum for the feature i had within Office 365 Home and Onedrive to be available to me and my employees @Juan Carlos González Martín 

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