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PDFs stopped opening in SharePoint as of July 21st, 2012

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We appear to be having widespread problems opening PDF files in SharePoint.  This appears to have started Saturday morning sometime and is affecting all of the computers I have checked so far.  When you click on a PDF in SharePoint, it used to ask if you want to Check Out and Open or Open.  Now it only prompts you to Save the PDF.


Before we implemented Office 365 SharePoint in April, I thoroughly researched PDFs in SharePoint.  SharePoint does open PDF files, but it requires Adobe Reader 10.1.2 and for the SharePoint site URL to be in trusted sites (as well as checking the keep me logged in checkbox when you sign in).  We push installed Adobe Reader 10.1.2 to all computers and set the SharePoint URL in trusted sites via a group policy.  Opening PDFs worked fine from the day of implementation in April till this past Saturday. 


I have tested this new problem with Reader 10.1.3 as well.  I’ve also tested this with both IE 8 and IE 9.  I’ve tested this on Windows XP and Windows 7.

It appears to be affecting every one of my computers.  I’ve even checked this on my home computer not on my domain and it’s affecting it too.  It appears to be some change to the SharePoint site itself or possibly a Windows update.  It isn’t an Adobe Reader update as I’ve got auto updating turned off and each computer that I’ve observed the problem was running Reader 10.1.2.


This is a major issue for us.  Can someone please help me resolve this?  This is very strange as it worked fine for four months and now just stopped working.

All Replies
  • Hello Jamie,

    Thanks for your post here.I would like to confirm with you whether you mean you could open PDF files directly in SharePoint on-premise, but not in SharePoint Online.

    Currently SharePoint Online doesn't support opening PDF files directly, and we have already known this issue. I suggest you download a copy of the PDF file and open it on your local drive.

    If there are any concerns about this issue, you can send us feedback through the following link:

    Cherry Wang
  • Cherry,

    I do not have SharePoint on-premise.  We have SharePoint Online via Office 365.  I don't know where you are getting your information, but SharePoint Online does support opening PDFs, I have 50+ users who have been doing this for the past four months successfully.  Please refer to the following Office 365 Blog from February 2012.

    I contacted our Office 365 parallels reseller for support on this recent problem as well.  They spent a couple hours on the phone with Microsoft Office 365 support and my reseller told me that it looks like Microsoft rolled out a Windows Update that affected the PDF opening functionality in SharePoint Online.  They didn't provide any time frame for resolution.

    Also, I've seen your exact response about SharePoint Online not supporting opening PDF files on several responses on this forum.  Is that just a canned response to all questions regarding PDF opening in SharePoint?

  • Hi Jamie,


    This is Tim with Microsoft Office 365 SharePoint Support.


    Yes, it is possible to open PDF files directly from a Document Library. When you click on a PDF file from a Document Library, you should be prompted to "Check Out & Open", "Open", or "Cancel". At this point, I am not able to replicate the issue that you are seeing. Are you getting prompted to "Save" or "Cancel" when you try to open a PDF file? Or, are you getting and error message when trying to open a PDF file? Please try to open a PDF file again and re-post exactly what is happening.

    I will continue to monitor this thread and wait for your reply.



    Tim Muth

    Microsoft Office 365 SharePoint Support

  • We are now getting different behavior.  It appears on my Windows 7 computers running IE9 and Adobe Reader 10.1.2, it now promps you when you open a PDF to either open Read Only or Edit mode.  If you choose Read Only, it prompts you to save the document.  If you choose Edit mode, then it has a long delay (30 seconds), and then brings up the familiar Check Out and Open or Open window.  I've confirmed this behavior on three different computers.

    However, on an XP computers I'm getting mixed results.  

    On one XP computer running IE8 and Adobe Reader 10.1.2, it now promps you when you open a PDF to either open Read Only or Edit mode.  If you choose Read Only, it prompts you to save the document.  If you choose Edit mode, then it immeadiately says a Windows SharePoint Services compatible application could not be found to edit the document.

    However, on two other XP computers running IE8 and Adobe Reader 10.1.2, when you open a PDF it prompts you that the document may be insecure.  If you click OK, then it prompts you to save the document.  You never get a Read Only or Edit prompt or the Checkout and and Open or Open prompt.

    Yet another XP computer running IE8 and Adobe Reader 10.1.2, when you open a PDF it immediatly prompts you to save the document, no other prompts or choices.

    All of these computers tested does have the Office 365 SharePoint site in IE Trusted Sites and each are running IE8 (XP) or IE9 (Win7).  All should be fully Windows Updated as well.

    Again, this behavior all changed last Saturday.  Prior to this, all of my computers would get the Check Out and Open or Open prompt when opening PDFs from Office 365 SharePoint.

  • Hi Jamie and Tim,

    We are NZ based and having the same issues as described above. We have a client with Office 365 using ADFS. The Adobe version is 10.1.3. They were able to open PDF documents successfully until recently and this seems to have now reverted.

    I have tested this in both their core Office 365 Site Collection and indivudal MySites.  Two behaviors appear

    1. User is prompted to save the PDF file locally when the try to open it from Office 365

    2. or Adobe Reader opens a presents an error implying an issue with the filename or location.  this is simply not the case.

    This is going to become a significant user issue as PDFs are used extensively and being forced to save offline completely defeats the purpose of putting Office 365 in place.

    Please help!



  • Hi David and Jamie,


    I have been testing opening PDF files form both my Enterprise and Small Business subscriptions, and I am not able to replicate the issue.  If you are still seeing the issue, could you please post some screen shots so that I can see the exact error that you are getting?


    Tim Muth
    Microsoft Office 365 SharePoint Support

  • Tim,

    Last Friday (7/27/12), Microsoft apparently released a fix (according to my parallels partner) that fixed whatever they broke the previous Saturday.  All of my computers started working again on Friday and they now all prompt to Check Out and Open or Open when opening PDF files in Office 365 SharePoint.  Frustrating to be down a week on this, but that I guess is part of the downside of not controlling your own SharePoint server.

    1 out of 1 people found this post helpful.

  • Hi Jamie,

    I can confirm that this now works for us too.  Incredibly frustrating that the guidance from MS has been client side testing (which takes up time) when we have know the issue was server side.

    Happy again!