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moderated Add a built-in PDF and Doc previewer for the Files section? #suggestion


Bart Fried
 

One of my groups is starting to use the Files section for a 'library' of catalogs. Most are uploaded as either PDF files and occasionally Word Doc files. It would be very useful to be able to preview these files prior to downloading them. This is a function that is found in Google's suite of products and in many other sites on the Web. From what I can tell, it is a relatively common function. In its most extreme form of usefulness, the PDF files are automatically OCR'd.

I imagine that this would be useful for all groups.

Bart


Duane
 

On Tue, May 26, 2020 at 11:24 AM, Bart Fried wrote:
It would be very useful to be able to preview these files prior to downloading them.
That's a common misconception.  In order to be viewed on your screen, the file is downloaded, at least part of it.  All modern browsers that I'm aware of have a way to view PDF files.  It's much more complicated for DOC files because there are so many possible formats and versions behind the scenes.  (With a good title and a proper description, I never need to preview to know what's in a file before downloading.)

Duane


dave w
 

On Wed, May 27, 2020 at 05:38 AM, Duane wrote:
That's a common misconception.  In order to be viewed on your screen, the file is downloaded, at least part of it. 
+1.
Of course 'most' ordinary users don't understand the technical aspect of the way the web (WWW) works anyway, so how things are 'magically' and invisibly downloaded compared to the act of physically  downloading themselves. That said- I've not met a Mac browser that doesn't display proper pdfs on screen any time.
I do get ones that are either not properly created (encoded with correct metadata OR some other technical issue) that fail. I'm always suspicious of those being actual carriers of harm.
And I'm a voracious history researcher so do like my own copies to read later!

And citing what is 'common' because some company chose to target such features doesn't make it universal, or easy to achieve. Personally I'd be cautious with instantly playable doc/x files as much as they can contain/ control malware more commonly used to infiltrate machines.
FWIW, regards
davew


Bart Fried
 

Hi Duane,

That is partially correct in that the file is not necessarily downloaded as a file. Certainly parts of it must be sent to the user's screen, else they'd never see it. So for example, here is a capture from Google Drive. It shows thumbnails which require no input whatsoever except to log in to Google Drive.



This alone would be a useful and significant improvement in the Files option. Now, if one right-clicks a file, the option to preview it using Google's own app pops up. Now I realize that the image is sent to your browser, but you don't need to do anything for that to happen except select Preview. I'm not a programmer, so I cannot speak to any perceived or real cyber threat, but clearly Google doesn't think it's much of a problem. And the file itself is not downloaded, although the option is there, too.


I'm not a huge Google fan, but this is a very handy feature. IE, not having to download and save files in order to see what's in them. Thanks for considering the suggestion.

Bart