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Content file preview issues

Knowledge Article Number 000213786
Description Salesforce does not guarantee all file types and their contained features will properly generate previews in Content. The Previewing section of the Salesforce CRM Content documentation outlines this limitation. Viewing and Editing Content Details mentions this limitation as well and also details which file types are currently supported for previewing.

For this reason, it is best practice and recommended to thoroughly review the online version of all content to ensure you are happy with the quality of it and decide whether it should only be downloaded and viewed in it's original file format accordingly.

When a content file is uploaded to Salesforce the application generates PDF versions of the file's contents which are then used to generate a flash version of the file for the online preview. During the upload and conversion process it is not possible for Salesforce to guarantee that all of the original file's formatting and features will be preserved in the online version used for content previews.

Due to the architecture and tools used in the generation process Salesforce does not typically have the ability to implement an application side solution to directly address discrepancies you may find between the original file and the online version or preview.

This is not all inclusive, and the preview process is consistently being improved upon, but here is a list of Office and general file features that have been known to potentially cause issues in rendering content previews. 


- Slide transitions
- Animations
- Embedded references to other files
- Complex shapes containing gradients and several objects like a dot graph for example
- Smart Art - disable those features in your file
- Avoid text areas with special formatting such as bullet points and custom spacing for example
- Avoid using obscure fonts
- Avoid using none standard (custom) page sizes


- Embedded references to other files
- Obscure fonts
- Custom spacing, page sizes, margins
- Bullets and multiple list levels


- Special formatting such as complex tables, embedded charts, and shading


- Hyperlinks to URLs in all file types are unsupported and generally, will not be clickable within the file's preview.
Resolution Troubleshooting steps and potential workarounds you can try to resolve unexpected issues found in content previews:
- If a file is not generating a preview or it's attributes are not displaying as expected in the online version you may attempt to regenerate the preview.

- If regeneration is unsuccessful upload an entirely new version of the file to see if the issue persists.

- If you're consistently seeing formatting or display issues in the online version make note of where they are occurring in the file. Open the file in it's original format and program to review the specific areas or attributes. You may find an unexpected formatting discrepancy at the file level that's causing the preview to render incorrectly. If you do find an unexpected discrepancy or formatting issue correct it, save the file, and attempt an upload with the new version.

For example, if there is an issue with bullets and numbering in a Word file's preview check to see if it may be caused by an issue within the Word document itself. If you open the file in Word you may find that the numbering's list level formatting is not properly carrying over to the next section where the preview issue is apparent. Identifying and correcting potential inconsistencies like this may fix the preview.

- If it is essential that you have the content in an online version consider removing or modifying the file's affected features to potentially improve the outcome of the rendition process. For example, change bullets to dashes, use default page formatting, change complex shading to solid colors, reduce image sizes and/or convert .png images to a simpler format such as .jpg if possible and use standard fonts.

- If you're unable to address the issue by correcting discrepancies or formatting issues within the file itself consider saving them directly as a PDF from within Office via the File | Save As...| PDF or XPS option.  Carefully review the new PDF version of the file to ensure the formatting is correct and upload the PDF version. This may allow file attributes that were not rendered properly in the preview when uploading in the original file format to be corrected by uploading it as a PDF by performing the PDF conversion step of the preview process locally.

- If possible, you may also try saving the file as a previous or older office file type if possible and then attempt to upload that version to see if the preview issue persists.

- If the "Preview Unavailable" message is being returned for a PDF file, try saving the file as PDF version 1.3 or 1.4. At this time, Salesforce Content Preview is not always supported for PDF saved as version 1.5 or later.

There are several Ideas available for promotion on our IdeaExchange so that we may see the content file preview functionality extended and improved upon with future releases.

See Also:
Set Up Content Deliveries​
Overview of Uploading and Sharing Files
Salesforce Content - Search, Previews and Versioning

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