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Open an existing PDF document from VB.net using OLE automation


I want to open an existing PDF file using OLE automation.

I have built a project which allows the user to open Word and Excel templates.

I am using the following code to open Word/Excel:

Dim wordApp as Word.Application
Dim wordDoc as Word.Document
wordApp = New Word.Application
wordApp.Visible = True
wordDoc = wordApp.Documents.Add

I would ideally like the reference needed as well as the code to access the pdf file.


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1 Solution
I don't think that you can actually open pdf file with VB, because the pdf format is property of Adobe. I am sure that you could export data in this format (I' ve done it), there are no generic methods to edit pdf file in VB.

Try searching for an open source component that edits files - may find one out there.

If you are trying to open the pdf file Fron your app with Acrobat Reader then use

ShellExecute(hwnd, "Open", "filename.pdf", 0&, 0&, SW_SHOW)  
Sorry - SW_SHOW is not defined in VB, old c++ :)
try 5 istead
The way suggested by Daniel would intern would actually depend on Adobe Acrobat reader being installed over there on the machine and also its not Win32 automation .
Gareth can you please give more exact specs abt why you need a word document to open a PDF file. Infact, if you need to extract text or image from pdf there is free source code available on the next.
The source code for one of the tools is available at

it inturn depends on XPDF library obtained at following url


Best of luck!

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GarethWhamAuthor Commented:
I just need to open a pdf file from vb.net. I may be able to use shell. Thanks for your comments, will let you know how I get on
GarethWhamAuthor Commented:
I have managed to use the shell function to open adobe reader which is:

Shell ("C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 5.0\Reader\AcroRd32.exe")

Now, does anyone know the switch to open a pdf file.

For example, when you shell a word template the switch is \t (then the path of the template)

I want to put in a switch to open an existing file any ideas?

Many thanks
Actually there is no need to start the acrord.exe .
After you are using the  shell routine just use:

shell ("start " +<file paht and name>,,,,,);
The string filename.pdf must include
 The default app for the file is autostarted
Amritpal SinghCommented:
plz visit the following link
i hope it'll be of any help
GarethWhamAuthor Commented:

That doesn't seem to work. I am using the following code.

("start""C:\Documents and Settings\J Smith\Publications\FileName.pdf")

Is there a reference I need to use?

Well you've got to add + between the two strings:)
and put  space char after start the string should be:

"start C:\Documents and Settings\J Smith\Publications\FileName.pdf" or

"start " + "C:\Documents and Settings\J Smith\Publications\FileName.pdf"
Here is How I open pdfs for my projects. This will try version 6 or 5 then just try to open file based off what its associated with..

'function to determine adobe version and use that version. 6 or 5
    Function Readeropen(ByVal FiletoOpen As String)
            Shell("C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 6.0\Reader\AcroRd32.exe " & FiletoOpen, AppWinStyle.MaximizedFocus)
        Catch ex As Exception
                Shell("C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 5.0\Reader\AcroRd32.exe " & FiletoOpen, AppWinStyle.MaximizedFocus)
            Catch ex2 As Exception
                Catch ex3 As Exception
                    MsgBox("Adobe Acrobat Reader v5.0 or higher can not be found.", MsgBoxStyle.Exclamation, "Reader missing.")
                End Try
            End Try
        End Try

    End Function
GarethWhamAuthor Commented:
Cheers all,

Sorted by using the following:

Shell ("Full File Path to Adobe Executable File & Full File Path to PDF File")

system.diagonistics or what ever it is called.
needs to be included to do

This will open the file with the associated app.

Just incase the shell one dosn't always work.

Thanks and GL
If you own Acrobat 6.0, you can reference the acrobat.tlb Acrobat Type Library.  I don't think it is available with the free 6.0 reader though.

This is part of my code that I use to merge .PDF files.

        Dim AcroApp As Acrobat.CAcroApp
        Dim PDDoc As Acrobat.CAcroPDDoc
        Dim InsertPDDoc As Acrobat.CAcroPDDoc
        Dim iNumberOfPagesToInsert As Integer, iLastPage As Integer
        Dim goRound As Integer, strOutput As String, strTest As String

        On Error GoTo ErrorHandler
        AcroApp = CreateObject("AcroExch.App")
        PDDoc = CreateObject("AcroExch.PDDoc")
        InsertPDDoc = CreateObject("AcroExch.PDDoc")

Hope this helps.
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