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Storing and Opening PDF in Container Field

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I am starting to create a new solution to catalog all of our companies Safety Data Sheets and would like to make the PDFs accessible through FMP14. At the moment I have created a container field that is Interactive and has temporary storage. If I choose "Insert PDF" FMP thinks about it for a moment then opens the pdf I have selected, if I close the pdf I can see that something is in the container but there is no content show. If I move to a record where this has been done the PDF automatically opens, albeit slowly, but I am unable to view the PDF contents without exporting it. If I insert the pdf as a file I see a file icon but am not able to read the file in any way except by exporting it. 

From reading about PDFs and container fields, it sounds like I should at least be able to see a thumbnail of the pdf but I am not able to read any of the PDFs content. Has anyone else been having that problem? A sample file is attached. 

Ideally the pdf would be viewable in the record or by clicking a single button and then could be saved to the user's computer for printing purposes. 


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"At the moment I have created a container field that is Interactive and has temporary storage."

Not sure what you mean here. Containers can be embedded, stored only as a reference, stored externally secured and stored externally open. Which are you using?

As for how you wish the container to behave, see: http://www.filemaker.com/help/14/fmp/en/html/edit_layout.10.45.html#1136311

perhaps more specifically, this:


Honestly, I script both Import and Export, because I've not had clients that wish to interact with PDFs within FM. I use Export Field Contents with Auto open.


Edited by bcooney

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Thank you for your response bcooney. 

With 'interactive and temporary' I was referring to the thumbnail generation that is located under Manage Containers and then the individual container which is set to optimize for Interactive content. 

My container field is stored externally open, but I am open to whatever storage options would make this work. 


Both of links you sent make me think that I should be at least able to see a thumbnail of the PDF content in my container. I am unable to see any of the PDF content. Is this normal or should you see a preview of the pdf?

Is there any way to view a PDF without exporting it from FMP?

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Yes, you can view a PDF in a container if it is inserted using Insert>PDF and Optimized for Interactive Content.

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Any idea why a PDF would not only not be viewable if inserted this way but the full pdf opens in Reader whenever you click into that record (and do not click on the field)? When it opens by itself it also bogs down my whole database. 

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Andsersonk06: did you ever find out any answers? I have the exact same thing happening to me...

Were you running FMP Advanced as I am?  When I open my FMP db in Filemaker Pro (not Advanced), the containers work exactly how they are supposed to work (the .PDFs are interactive and can be viewed within the container) When the db is opened in FMP Advanced, the .pdf appears as a white block within the container, are not interactive and, very weirdly, open full screen when I switch between layout mode and browse mode...

Anyone with potential solutions to this issue?  Thanks!


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Hi Ryan,

No, I've not yet gotten this to work. I'm running strictly on Pro so i may be having a different problem than you. I think my problem is stemming from the fact that my FMP Server is being accessed through a Citrix network. 

But please do keep me posted if you figure anything out.

Good luck

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