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Advise users when a pdf file open.

Posted on 2014-03-13
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Last Modified: 2014-08-05
Hello,

We use pdf converter from nuance and adobe pro. Most users use pdf converter, some use adobe pro. Is there a way of advising users when someone is already in a pdf document. Much like excel does.

When we have users modifying the same pdf, there is no warning until they try to save ten it gives them a message that the file cannot be saved. Of course this becomes a problem when users have made modifications at the same time, to the same file. I have asked to save as on their desktop, then just copy it over but then that means the work is lost from the original person that had the file opened and edited.

Thanks in advance.
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Question by:rha_mtl
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by:Frosty555
Frosty555 earned 250 total points
ID: 39926592
When programs open files, they can lock the file in a few different ways:

No lock - other programs can change the file behind the application's back
Read lock - other programs can read but cannot write to the file
Exclusive lock - other programs cannot access the file at all

And when a program tries to open a file and discovers it has a read lock, it can handle it in a few different ways:

     - Ignore the read lock, open the file and then fail later when the user tries to save it
     - Inform the user that the file is locked and open the file as "read only"

As you can see, Office handles it the second way, and Adobe seems to be handling it the first way.

So basically, for you to have a good experience the software you are using needs to place a read lock on the file when they open it, and they need to warn the user when they attempt to open a locked file.

It is up to the developer who wrote the software, they need to handle file locks gracefully. I don't think this is functionality that you can control.

You do have a few options:

- Switch to a different application that handles locks more gracefully
- Use a revision control system like SVN or Git to facilitate in group collaboration without relying on the filesystem's locking mechanisms
- Enforce user behavior (e.g. copy to the desktop, or save the file with a revision number appended to the end)
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Joe Winograd, EE MVE earned 250 total points
ID: 39927034
Adding to Frosty's excellent comment, this is a classic document management problem. When you're in a situation where many people may be modifying the same document at the same time, you should consider having a document management system (DMS) with a check-out/check-in feature, including version control. There are many commercial products that do this, such as MS SharePoint and EMC Documentum, as well as open source products, such as Alfresco and OpenKM. Regards, Joe
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 40018039
Hi rha_mtl,
I'm trying to clean up a number of open questions, and it's been more than a month since the last post on this one. Please provide an update. Thanks much, Joe
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LVL 54

Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 40089698
Hi rha_mtl,
Another month has gone by since my last post, so I'm hoping you'll provide an update. If the issue is resolved, please let us know what action you took and close the question; if it isn't resolved, please let us know where things stand and how we may be of further assistance. Thanks much, Joe
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