Appian is a powerful, low-code platform that allows you to build complex workflows and apps. In almost every workflow you can fathom, documents tend to play a central role. Knowing this, we’ve partnered up with Appian to create a plugin component that enables you to view, edit and manipulate documents in a secure and compliant manner without data ever leaving the Appian platform.

From redaction, to form filling, to annotating & collaboration, and more – this blog delves into what you can accomplish with Appian and PDFTron’s WebViewer. After reading, you can learn more about WebViewer and all its PDF and Office capabilities!

Use Cases and Capabilities

Like Appian, PDFTron caters to every vertical and provides building blocks that can be customized and tailored to any workflow. We provide several tools in a single WebViewer component, and below, you’ll find examples of our users and their use cases.

  • Engineers building a collaboration tool to markup architectural plans.
  • Government entities facilitating FOIA requests and removing PII information from documents.
  • Pharma and life science organizations preparing for an FDA approval and needing everyone to sign off.
  • Legal firms preparing for a court case and building a document bundle.

Viewing

You can view Word documents in Appian, render PDFs, images, videos and other file formats.

Annotating & Collaborating

Annotate by highlighting, placing comments, underlying important information, drawing shapes, or simply chatting on the document. Use @mentions to get the correct individual’s attention.

Form Filling & Creation

Fill forms, edit form properties like read-only as required, add validation to ensure accurate information capture, and create PDF forms from scratch.

Editing & Page Manipulation

Insert pages, append, split, remove, crop, reorder, rotate, export, replace, and much more. Edit PDF text and edit word documents in Appian.

Redaction

Safely remove sensitive content within PDFs without covering or obscuring. Search and redact dates, phone numbers, addresses, SSNs and other personally identifiable information.

Digital signatures

Capture eSignatures and combine them with a digital certificate to make a truly binding legal signature. Validate documents to ensure they have not been tampered with.

Template Generation

Generate reports, invoices, contracts, letters, or other documents with data directly from Appian into existing DOCX templates.

How to Get Started with PDFTron WebViewer

The solution comes in two parts: PDFTron WebViewer Component and Connected System Component.

The PDFTron WebViewer component is the UI and a powerful processing library that enables all the above use cases.

The Connected System component allows you to open and save documents directly from Appian. It’s also possible to open documents directly from a URL. This allows you to pull documents from AWS, Azure, GC, or other file storage platforms. Install both of them from the official listing.

We also offer full source code for the Appian component plugin on GitHub (https://github.com/PDFTron/webviewer-appian-sample) and the Connected System.

You can set up a connected system and create an interface. Once in the interface, drag and drop WebViewer. When completed, you can now add the interface to any page.

Configuration Options

Our WebViewer component comes with several configuration options.

URL of the Document

Add a URL to the document location you are trying to view. You can open files from virtually any file storage platform.

PDFTron License Key

By default, WebViewer runs in demo mode, but without a time limitation or feature limitation, letting you build and test a complete PoC. When you’re ready, contact the sales team and we can get you set up with a license and license key that will remove watermarks from PDFTron WebViewer.

appianDocId

If you want to open documents directly from Appian, ensure the connected system is set up. Instead of a URL, you can proceed through an Appian Document ID with an integer of single or multiple IDs, like 1230 or {1221,1230}, for example. If you proceed with multiple IDs, they will be merged into one document.

Document Access Connected System

Provide the Document Access Connected System as a constant to open and save documents from the Appian Knowledge Center.

Disabled Elements

WebViewer comes with most functionality enabled out of the box. However, to tailor the experience to the user and their use case, you can hide all buttons, panels etc. To do so, you can pass the data elements you wish to disable. For example: {"downloadButton", "printButton"}.

For a list of elements, you can visit our documentation. To get data elements, inspect the DOM in the browser and find the right attribute.

Full API

Enable full API to get access to functionality like redaction and other features. To learn more about Full API, please visit our documentation.

Enable Redaction

To enable the redaction application inside of WebViewer, set the enableRedaction property to true and full API.

User Display Name

The user display name is delegated to the user who is making annotations on a document.

Appian Document Folder ID

The ID of the folder you are trying to save the new document to.

enableExtractPagesToAppian

If enableExtractPagesToAppian is true, the user will be able to extract pages to Appian as a new PDF.

savedDocumentId

This is the new document ID after a user saves a copy.

xfdfAnnotationData

This string represents all annotations data . Annotations are stored as a separate layer on a PDF. If the user presses the default save button, annotations will be saved together with a PDF. WebViewer will import any annotations from this variable. If the user presses “save annotations”, it will save annotations to this variable.

Wrap Up

We are thrilled to see what you build on the Appian low-code platform together with the powerful document functionality provided by PDFTron. If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to email me directly.