11 Replies Latest reply on Jul 24, 2015 4:14 AM by compucon@ccbtr.com

    Can you view PDFs inline?


      I have a database which stores PDFs in a local container field. When I put the field on a layout, it just shows an icon for the PDF, along with the PDF's name. If I control-click and choose Export Field Contents, I can then view the PDF in a PDF viewer, so I know there's nothing wrong with the PDF itself. Why does it just show an icon in FileMaker? Is there some way I can make the actual PDF itself display on my layout, instead of just an icon for it?


      I'm using version 14 on a Mac, in case that matters.

        • 1. Re: Can you view PDFs inline?

          Go to the Inspector, Data tab, and at the bottom look in Data Formatting. You'll want the container formatting to be "interactive content", I believe.


          Chris Cain


          • 2. Re: Can you view PDFs inline?


            In the inspector "Data" tab and "Data formating"you can specify he type of the container and if your choice is "As PDF", this must work. your field must be a container type.

            • 3. Re: Can you view PDFs inline?

              The above to answers are correct. I have however experienced some caveats with a client that makes heavy use of PDFs. If you use "Insert File", the PDFs won't be interactive. They work fine if you use "Insert PDF" or just drag-and-drop on the layout. Then the container field will use the OS default PDF viewer to interact with it.

              • 4. Re: Can you view PDFs inline?

                The container field in question was originally populated using the "Insert File" script step. Does that mean that if I want them to work like PDFs, I have to export them and reimport them as PDFs? (Easy enough with a script, I suppose, but bizarre.)


                I tried creating a new container field, and putting that on a layout. In Data Formatting, I checked optimize for interactive content. Back in Browse, I dragged a PDF to the container field. It displayed the first page of the PDF (rather than an icon), but there's no way to view a different page. I then deleted the PDF and control-clicked on the field; the option for "Insert PDF" was disabled in the pop-up menu; my only options to Insert were File and Picture. File just gives the icon, Picture shows the first page.


                So perhaps my main problem is that Insert PDF is disabled; why would that be?

                • 5. Re: Can you view PDFs inline?

                  I'm not sure why the "Insert PDF" option would be disabled. If you can see the first page of the PDF, you should be able to click on the field and page through it.

                  • 6. Re: Can you view PDFs inline?

                    The Insert PDF script step actually works, and lets me view/scroll through the PDF just as I want. The option just isn't available from the contextual menu. Bizarre, but I can make do with a button. Still, I'm curious whether this behaviour is a bug or a feature...

                    • 7. Re: Can you view PDFs inline?

                      As I understand it, if you select a container field that is optimised for images then Insert … PDF is not available—you only have … Picture and … File options. If you use insert … Picture, and actually insert a PDF (1) it should still insert correctly. Furthermore, another instance of the same field that is optimised for interactive content the PDF should still display correctly anyhow in that field instance. On the other hand, if you select the interactive field in the first place you will find all menu options are available—there you can choose insert either PDF (2) or Picture (3) for your PDF. In all three instances the end result should be the same.

                      • 8. Re: Can you view PDFs inline?

                        That's definitely not what I'm seeing. The field is optimized for interactive content on the layout, there's no Insert PDF option when I control-click, and once I've inserted the PDF using the Insert PDF script step, the PDF is interactive as desired.


                        If I use Insert Picture or Insert File, it is not interactive, regardless of the field optimization, and the only way to make it interactive is to export it and then re-insert it as a PDF. Which is a ridiculous thing to have to do, but I wrote a script to take care of it.

                        • 9. Re: Can you view PDFs inline?

                          As this post is turning out to be a useful PDF reference point, I'd also like to add an issue with the insert PDF command I've not seen reported, which we have come across when setting up accounts on Windows servers when running FileMaker within Citrix XenApp (the same is probably true of Remote Desktop).


                          Unless you first launch Adobe Reader (Acrobat) the Insert PDF option is not available within FileMaker. As soon as you've launched Reader, then the command is available for use.


                          In our case, we have to remember to log in to every new user's Windows account, carry out a single launch of Reader in advance of handing that account over (along with deleting all the sample files it dumps in the 'Documents' folder).




                          • 10. Re: Can you view PDFs inline?

                            Perhaps its a system difference. I am using FM14 on Mac OSX 10.9. How about you?

                            • 11. Re: Can you view PDFs inline?

                              I have observed the behavior described on systems that have a 3rd party PDF utility installed (FoxIt PDF especially). On these systems, the "Insert PDF" was disabled. My correction to this problem was to install Adobe Acrobat Reader. The installation modifies the Default Program profile for PDF documents. Once installed, the "Insert PDF" function was available, as well as drag-and-drop. I have not observed the necessity to prelaunch the Reader before launching FileMaker for the "Insert PDF" function to be operational.


                              Best of luck,

                              Bruce K.