PDF missing when publishing

Jan 26, 2016


I'm experiencing a two-stage issue with publishing a course that hyperlinks to PDFs.

  1. We have a course that references several small PDFs, but one PDF in particular is not showing in the External Files folder when publishing. This one PDF happens to be the only PDF in which we are hyperlinking to specific pages (e.g., C:\Content Services\Courses\EDM\TranscriptIntro.pdf#page=4). Note that the file is not on a server, but rather on a network drive. Could the "#page=4" part of they hyperlink be the cause for this PDF excluded when publishing?
  2. In the past, we've been able to copy the missing PDF into the External Files folder, then upload the course to our LMS. All hyperlinks work as expected, including the ones to the "missing" PDF. However, now it seems I'm unable to do this, as the course shows an Error 404-File Not Found Error when the hyperlink for the PDF is clicked.
  • I've published, then opened the file from the Publishing window to include the PDF, then zipped it, but I still get "file not found."
  • I've published, then opened the file from my local drive to include the PDF, then zipped it, but get a "this is not a SCORM file" error from my LMS.
  • I've published to a zip folder on my local drive, unzipped it, added the file, then rezipped the files, but get a "this is not a SCORM file" error from my LMS.
  • I've published, then opened the file from the Publishing window to include the PDF, then updated the imsmanifest file with the URL, zipped it, but I still get "file not found."
  • I'm really at a loss for how to add the missing file back into the course. (Unless issue #1 is the root cause for my pain. LOL.)

Your ideas are most welcome. Thank you so much!

28 Replies
Leslie McKerchie

Hi Bobbi!

You may have just talked yourself right through your issue.

Yes, we advise for the resources to be located on your local drive and you can check out our tutorial here on adding resources. I would advise that you try to open your project file and attach in this way.

We do not support the modification of the published output, which would include your further conversation about manually adding a file to the folder.

Kenneth Perkins

I have a somewhat similar issue, except I moved all the content into one folder on my desktop in case my external hard drive was causing the issue.

I put a hyperlink via text box and button on a slide for the user to click on to open a pdf in a new window, but for some reason whether I preview it by opening it from a published folder on the desktop or in our LMS system, it says cannot find document. I even verified that the document was in a external folder that storyline had published it to.

Leslie McKerchie

Thanks for sharing Kenneth!

I think your issue may have been a combination of a few things...

1. The file was located on your E Drive, and typically we advise to utilize your local drive

2. The file was not in the player resources

3. The file name was way too long

Here is my published output:


Your updated zip file is attached so you can see how I did that.

Kenneth Perkins

I usually view it locally before uploading it to our LMS, but I did it both ways and still no dice. The first picture I sent to you is after downloading the zip file you sent me. There seems to be a problem when adding a trigger to a linked document (pdf), even though the document is put into the content folder by storyline, the link is somehow removed in the publishing process because it cannot find it.

Bobbi Vernon


Even if we're not using the Resources link via the player, do I still need to add the Resources there? We're currently hyperlinking to the files, which are then packaged in the published output (except for that one PDF). Despite the PDFs being on our network, we've never before encountered issues with hyperlinking to them. I should note that the problems were NOT experienced in Storyline 1 but ARE experienced in Storyline 2.

Background: we are using the PDFs as transcripts for videos throughout the course. The videos are part of a really extensive branched scenario, so we don't want learners accessing all of the transcripts at once because they would then have the answer key for the following scenarios.

I just want to be sure I fully understand the difference between 1) hyperlinking to documents and 2) adding the documents as Resources. 

Thank you *so, so* much. Your assistance is greatly appreciated.

Kenneth Perkins

I appreciate any help I can get.

I checked all my browsers and they have the correct settings listed in that article.

What is stranger than strange, is that I did 4 of these modules the same day (virtually the same set up) and only the "first" module works correctly with the pdf link. The other 3 do not work using the hyperlink or button link to open a pdf.

Does it feel like a friday yet?

Sorry forgot to add that the one module that worked correctly using the hyperlink to a pdf was on an external hard drive.


Bobbi Vernon

Hi Leslie,

No confusion, so no worries :-)

The instructions say, "Storyline will place a copy of the hyperlinked file in your published output. All hyperlinked files for a course will be stored in a folder called story_content/external files."

However, this one PDF is not being copied into the External Files folder. 1) I'm not sure why. I was thinking it was because we were trying to link to a specific page in the PDF. 2) I'm unable to add the PDF into the External Files folder post-publishing.

Most importantly, points 1 and 2 were able to be done in Storyline 1; however, I'm now using Storyline 2.

Does this make sense? Basically, how do I get the PDF into the External Files folder if Storyline isn't doing it for me?

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