Why can't I convert a document to PDF format or annotate a document?

This topic offers you guidance if you are experiencing problems in one of the following situations when using M-Files Desktop:
  • You right-click a document and select Sharing, E-mail and PDF > Save as PDF... from the context menu.
  • You right-click a document and select Sharing, E-mail and PDF and then select either Convert to PDF (replaces original file) or Convert to PDF (adds separate file) from the context menu.
  • You right-click a document and select Scanning and Text Recognition (OCR) > Convert to Searchable PDF... from the context menu.
  • You right-click a document and select Create > Annotation... from the context menu.

Issues surrounding PDF conversions and annotations may be related to the same root cause since annotating a document requires that it is first converted to PDF format. See below for common solutions to these issues.

Reinstall the PDF converter

You may need to reinstall the PDF converter used by M-Files if you receive one of the following error messages after attempting to convert a document to PDF or after attempting to add annotations to a document:

  • The M-Files PDF printer driver is not properly installed. Class not registered.
  • Unspecified error.

First you need to uninstall PDF-XChange from your computer:

  1. On the Windows Start menu, select Settings.
  2. Select System > Apps & features.
  3. Select PDF-XChange and click Uninstall.

Next, reinstall PDF-XChange:

  1. Open the file C:\Program Files\M-Files\<version>\Client\PDFX6SA_sm.exe.
  2. Follow the installer instructions to complete the installation.

Make sure that your computer has an application for opening the original document

To be able to convert a document to PDF format in M-Files, you need to have an application for opening the document installed on your computer. So for instance, if you wish to convert a Microsoft Word document to PDF, you need to have Microsoft Word installed on your computer. And similarly, if you want to convert a Microsoft Excel workbook to PDF, you must have Microsoft Excel installed on your computer.

Make sure the document is not checked out

Ensure that the document you are trying to convert is not checked out by another user. You need to able to check out the document to convert it to PDF format.

Make sure the document is not protected by password

Ensure that the document that you are trying to convert is not password-protected. If the document is protected by a password, M-Files is unable to open it and in such cases you are unable to convert the document to PDF format or to add annotations to it.

Make sure the document is not too large

If you attempt to add annotations to your document but the annotation toolbar is not shown, the file size of the document may be too large.

Similarly, your document may be too large if you try to convert it to PDF format but the conversion fails and an error message similar to the following is displayed:
Conversion of the file "Document.docx" to PDF format failed.
The size of the file, [11437522] bytes, exceeds the maximum size 10485760 bytes specified for Word conversions.
By default, the maximum allowed file sizes for PDF conversions for different file formats are the following:
  • E-mail messages: 10 MB
  • Microsoft Excel documents: 10 MB
  • Images: 10 MB
  • PDF documents: 10 MB
  • Microsoft PowerPoint documents: 10 MB
  • Visio documents: 10 MB
  • Microsoft Word documents: 10 MB
Another limitation of converting large documents to PDF is time. If your PDF conversion takes more than 120 seconds to complete, the conversion fails with an error message similar to the following:
Conversion of the file "Document.docx" to PDF format failed. 
The maximum execution time of 120 seconds was exceeded.

These limitations can be increased by modifying advanced vault settings on the M-Files server computer. For instructions, see Modifying PDF Conversion Limitations.