Home > Environment, SharePoint > Open PDF documents in your client application

Open PDF documents in your client application

When working with PDF files in SharePoint, most of the time these have to be opened in the browser and most of the time that works. That is because an Adobe plugin within your browser checks if the file which is returned has a content type of application/pdf and if so, it opens the document within your browser.

For one of my customers this was not what they wanted. The wanted the option to open multiple PDF documents and show them next to each other on their screen (not in different browser windows). You can disable the Adobe browser plugin, but this will impact all PDF’s you download, also from other sources (Internet etc.)

Okey, so how did we fixed this. The most important part is that the Adobe plugin checks the content type (the MIME type) returned. So to start, we need to change this one… Perform these steps on ALL of your front-end servers:

  1. Open Internet Information Services.
  2. On the GLOBAL level, navigate to the MIME types.
    The PublishingHttpModule handles the authorize request and also looks up the MIME type, this will be done based on the global settings. This means this method will work for all web applications within your farm, if you want it or not.
  3. Find the MIME type for the extension pdf.
  4. Change the MIME type to application/pdf2.
  5. Perform an IISRESET.

These actions will prevent the PDF document to open in the browser, but instead it will show you the save dialog (which I don’t want):PDF Download Dialog
Note: This dialog will only be shown for documents which haven’t been opened before. For other documents, you will have to clear your local browser cache!

If you want the document to open automatically within the Adobe Reader or Writer, or whichever application you use to open PDF files, this can be achieved by updating your registry. This can of course also be set by a policy for your entire company. The following steps can be made to update your registry to automatically open your PDF application:

  • Start regedit on your client (or create a policy)
  • Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell
  • Navigate to AttachmentExecute or create this key if it doesn’t exist yet.
  • Navigate to {0002DF01-0000-0000-C000-000000000046} or create this key if it doesn’t exist yet.
  • Create a new Binary Value with the name AcroExch.Document.11

Note: The value of the name of the binary value can differ with your company. The AcroExch.Document.11 is used for the Adobe Acrobat Reader. To check your value open your command prompt and execute the command assoc.[extension], so in this case assoc.pdf

That’s it! All PDF documents stored within your SharePoint environment will now be opened within your client application.

Categories: Environment, SharePoint
  1. August 10, 2017 at 18:25

    Doesn’t work

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Ben Prins

What I want to remember about SharePoint


my world of work and user experiences

Bram de Jager - Coder, Speaker, Author

Office 365, SharePoint and Azure

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