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Can a sortable spreadsheet exist in a PDF?
February 17, 2012 11:58 AM   Subscribe

I have a PDF document and a spreadsheet in XLS format. We want to be able to put the spreadsheet into the PDF and allow users to click on the sheet's column headings to sort the data alphabetically depending on need. Is this possible? If so, what is the best way to do it?

I'm using MS Office 2010 and Adobe Acrobat X to try to do this, by the way.
posted by Servo5678 to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
 
I've never done it, but I see a reputable claim that you can do it. The linked answer implies that you have the Acrobat Standard product, not the free reader.
posted by dgran at 12:31 PM on February 17, 2012


I have the actual Acrobat product, not the reader.

I've tried the file attachment command, but what we're looking to do is to embed the table right into the PDF itself so that people can see both the table and the graphic in the PDF without having to open (or even have) Excel.
posted by Servo5678 at 12:39 PM on February 17, 2012


While Acrobat has JavaScript actions (and something called XFA that isn't really PDF on the inside) neither of these are going to be easy for you to get to from the Acrobat side. It would probably take LiveCycle or somebody who can program the Acrobat API. This link talks a bit about something similar.

In theory, embedding an OLE object would work, but that would still require Excel on the target machine, and it's not obvious that Acrobat will host OLE objects; you can embed a PDF in an OLE host, but apparently not vice-versa (not that I can find yet).

Assuming the data is read-only, there is another approach, although it's a bit tedious.

Using layers & destinations or bookmarks:
* Create a PDF from the spreadsheet for each sort order
* Create a new PDF and import the sorted PDFs into separate layers
* Add links or bookmarks to change the layer visibility
(see: Add Layer Navigation)

Good luck.
posted by and for no one at 12:50 PM on February 17, 2012


Why not upload the Excel spreadsheet to Google Docs, then share it? The shared link could be then placed into the PDF, perhaps on a page that displays a static version of the spreadsheet.
posted by megatherium at 2:37 PM on February 17, 2012


Why not upload the Excel spreadsheet to Google Docs, then share it? The shared link could be then placed into the PDF, perhaps on a page that displays a static version of the spreadsheet.

The boss wants sortable Excel columns directly in the PDF. I tried the Google Docs approach and it wasn't satisfactory. If this can't be done, it can't be done, but I wanted to ask around first.
posted by Servo5678 at 4:28 AM on February 20, 2012


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