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I am digging around for some solutions, but can't seem to find any. Looking for suggestions...

I have a library that I have a bunch of single page pdf documents, each with a sheet number being used as a file name. However, these files are very complex, and each as its own use case in a variety of situations. I would like to enhance user experience by being able to divert traffic by use case, then displaying an appropriate file so users can easily navigate the individual files.

For example, say you have 5 files, with 1001, 1002, 1003, 1004, 1005 as file names. 1001 is related to a, b, c. 1002 is related to b. 1003 is related to c, d. 1004 is related to c, d, e. 1005 is related to a, b, c, d, e.

I would like to find a way for users to say, "oh, I want everything related to a" and be able display a pdf with 1001 and 1005. Is that possible? Basically, I am looking for something similar to a document set for pdf.

I have considered using a combination of managed meta data, adding category columns for major filters, and search as a data retrieval tool. However, the downside is that people will have to click on each single file and find the file they need, which impacts users' experience and also efficiency.

While I can certainly combine 1001 and 1005 myself and upload it as a separate file, the challenge is that (1) these files are updated by different people and (2) it will be very difficult to generate a large number of combined files with different sheet combinations.

If I go with premaking all the combined files, each update of a single page at a given time will basically result in a the update of a much bigger number of combined files, which I am certain will result in some files not being updated/or being updated incorrectly (such as the files are combined in a wrong order of sheets, etc). So if there is a good way to devise a system that does this automatically, where I can just predefine a use case of "a" will combine files of names 1001 and 1005, then each execution will ensure that the most current file is retrieved for 1001 and 1005, provided that the individual files are appropriately updated.

I can consider running a script as well to create combined files as well for each use case and upload those files - which may then make this a non-sharepoint question. But seeing what options are available first before making a choice on how to tackle this.

  • Any chance that you can add some additional columns and populate those with information so you can search / group on it? Also, are you looking for a product that can do the PDF merging or are you happy to write your own code? – Jeroen Ritmeijer - Muhimbi Dec 30 '15 at 10:04
  • I can add additional columns, but as I stated above, it impacts user experience. It gets tedious when use case "a" will return 30 sheets, and they need to click into each one to find what they need. I am not super well-versed in coding, but I can do coding to merge the pdfs if I know how to do it. I doubt I can use a product as I only have so much control over the sharepoint environment at my company - which I am still learning at this time. – Isa Jan 8 '16 at 18:29
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The big stopping point here is that PDF is not a Microsoft document type and as such there is very limited support for it on SharePoint. You could probably buy an enterprise license for Acrobat (you'd likely need one license per web front end unless you run stuff as a timer job) and then use the Acrobat Developer Center to make a custom solution that combines PDFs for you.

http://www.adobe.com/devnet/acrobat.html

I have not, it should be clear, tried anything like this myself, so all I can help with is how you'd get started.

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