I am setting up a SP2016 on-premise farm. Some pdf files with newer version cannot be crawled. Here is my findings:

  1. Those pdf files are v1.7 (Acrobat 8.x, Acrobat 9.x)
  2. Search only return those pdf by search with file name. Search with pdf content will not return result.
  3. In the search result page, those files preview show

"If this message is not eventually replaced by the proper contents of the document, your PDF viewer may not be able to display this type of document … You can upgrade to the latest …"

  1. In the crawl log, those files are shown up as warning. Error is "Document was partially processed."

All the pdf in question have size smaller than 2MB. Each pdf have 1 or 2 pages only. We have other pdf and word document larger than that have no problem.

Should I install pdf viewer on the crawling server to solve the problem?

1 Answer 1


SharePoint search by default has limitation on characters it will crawl whether it is PDF, excel, word or any other documents. Since the document is appearing in 'Warning', it is clear indication that it is crawled but not complete content is indexed due to content size limitation.

Parsed content size 2 million characters Boundary Search stops parsing an item after it has parsed up to 2 million characters of content from it, including the item's attachments. The actual amount of parsed characters can be lower than this limit because search uses maximum 30 seconds on parsing a single item and its attachments. When search stops parsing an item, the item is marked as partially processed. Any unparsed content isn't processed and therefore isn't indexed.

Ref: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/install/software-boundaries-and-limits-0#limits-and-boundaries

You can increase the file size limit but it causes index crawl really huge and performance issues if you have lot of large files in your SharePoint sites http://www.sharepointdiary.com/2015/03/increase-sharepoint-search-index-file-size-limit.html

  • sorry I forgot to mention the pdf have size smaller than 2MB with 1 or 2 pages only. Let me update my question.
    – Mark L
    Jul 19, 2019 at 6:22
  • If it is happening with small PDF files and large PDF files are working fine then there is a problem with those particular PDF indexing or files itself. You can certainly install PDF viewer and test but I doubt it will help. How many such files has this issue? If there are only few such files then you can try to upload them in another location and test. If you have multiple SharePoint farm then you can try to index them there and see if that helps. Jul 19, 2019 at 7:12
  • After further test, it seems problem on occur on pdf created by Adobe's LiveCycle Designer. I copied those error pdf to our test farm and same crawl result occur (If this message is not eventually replaced by the proper contents ......)
    – Mark L
    Jul 19, 2019 at 8:20
  • If the issue is consistent in multiple farms with the files created by Adobe's LiveCycle Designer, then you may need to report the issues either to Microsoft or Adobe to understand what different they have done in code due to which these are recognized differently. Jul 21, 2019 at 17:01
  • Do you know how to report?
    – Mark L
    Jul 21, 2019 at 23:55

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