Changing a Word (docx) file to a pdf

I am showing documents to operators through Ignition and our engineering staff is putting in those documents and procedures. Instead of putting in pdf files for our operators to view, does anyone have any experience converting Word files to pdf or even just displaying Word files? This would simplify making any changes to these documents, since the engineers can just change the document and then upload that without having to make a PDF copy.

I’m working on a system that stores Work Instructions (WI) and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) documents (for ISO quality requirements). We also created and stored documents in Word and saved them to a shared drive. However, there are several problems with that. First, it’s tough to track when the document is changed. What if the changes are significant enough to require retraining? How do you automatically notify users? How do you keep track of who edited the document?

We decided to build out a page using the Webdev module and a WYSIWYG editor. We’re using TinyMCE, which allows users to copy a Word document and paste it in the editor and keep formatting. The documents are stored as a string in a database. We also embed all types of media, tables, and other rich data inside the documents. We have complete control over our document audits now.

One approach you could use is to use markdown to format your documents. This would require the engineers to learn something new (editing markdown documents). However, if you do use markdown, you could easily automate retraining, pushing new changes to operators, keeping document revisions and / or history, etc.

Or you could use a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor. This is a simple text editor that operates like Word, with formatting, styles and the like. The editor generates HTML in the background, so what you see will be what you get when you reopen the document.

Just my 2 pence…

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Install Libreoffice. Use the lowriter command line option --convert-to pdf. I do this in scripts, like the build for my Ethernet/IP module. If you need change management, the LibreOffice “Flat” file formats are git-friendly, especially when combined with “PrettyPrinting = true” in the advanced settings for document save.

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