Here are the most common problems or questions encountered with GDE, and some suggested solutions:
- I get an error message from GDE
- I get an error message inside the viewer window
- My document won’t display in xyz browser
- The viewer is the wrong height
- The viewer asks me to log in to my Google account
- The viewer loads my document(s) very slowly
- I want to translate GDE into my own language
- I have some other question or problem and need help
I get an error message from GDE
GDE error messages are plain text and prefixed with “GDE Error:” (or equivalent in your language), so it’s easier to identify them. They show up on your page where the GDE shortcode was entered, either printed on the page (default) or in HTML comments (an option on the Advanced tab). For the most part these messages should be self-explanatory, but here are some reasons why they may appear:
- Your shortcode syntax is incorrect. The
file=attribute is REQUIRED, and should be either a fully qualified URL or a path to append to the File Base URL setting in your default (or selected) profile.
- The document can’t be found. GDE attempts to validate the URL before loading, to reduce errors and capture useful data used for the generated download links. In rare cases, GDE’s URL validation may not work with your specific environment. In this case, you can turn off this function in Advanced Settings.
- Your document isn’t a supported file type. The file you’re embedding must end in the extension of one of the currently supported file types. If you use a shortened URL or cloud service (including Google Drive) that removes this extension, GDE will not handle this. You’ll have to turn off GDE’s error checking as above and test to see if the document works. The plugin uses Google Viewer in a standalone fashion so it must be provided a file saved in its native format (PDF, Word, etc.) rather than a cloud-based format.
- Your document is too large. Very large documents often fail to load using this viewer because of the amount of transfer involved. This limit varies somewhat by server but is usually in the range of 8-12MB. Many source documents can be optimized for web use (lower resolution, optimized images, etc.) which can alleviate this issue. If your document goes over the maximum file size (set in Advanced Settings), the viewer won’t embed, but the download link (if selected) will still be included.
I get an error message inside the viewer window
If the viewer loads and an error message is displayed inside the viewer frame, the document passed GDE file validation (or you’ve turned it off) but Google is still having a problem loading or converting the document. This isn’t an exhaustive list of all the errors you might receive from Google, but here are some more common ones:
- “Sorry, we are unable to generate a view of the document…” This means either the URL is incorrect, or it’s unreachable by Google. While the plugin works when installed on localhost, behind a firewall, on an intranet, or in password-protected directories, the document you’re embedding must be publicly available on the internet (not access-restricted). This is the only way Google will be able to fetch the file for conversion and display in the viewer. If you’ve validated both of these, this error may be momentary based on internet traffic or routing issues.
- “Sorry, it took too long to find the document at the original source…” Size matters when it comes to the embedded document. Extremely large PDF files in particular are going to time out before being rendered. You should optimize your source documents for web use before attempting to use this plugin. If your file size is relatively small (less than around 8 MB), again this could be caused by momentary internet load or a slow/overloaded server holding the source document.
My document won’t display in xyz browser
Far and away the most common problem reported with GDE is that it works in browsers 1 & 2 but not 3 (which one varies). This is almost always due to browser caching issues. Before reporting this issue I recommend that you clear your browser cache/temporary internet files. Be advised that modern browsers make this extremely difficult as there are multiple kinds of cache and advanced options on what kind and how much to clear, and what to exclude. The easiest way to test for a browser cache issue may be to try it in the same browser where you’re seeing the problem from another computer that you haven’t used for development. Unfortunately, failure to do this leads me to respond to most support requests with the hated words “it works for me.”
While I can’t give specific instructions for proper cache clearing for every browser and version out there, in general you will want to completely clear the “normal” cache, and be sure to clear cookies or “active logins” related to your web site and Google.
The viewer is the wrong height
While GDE supports width and height settings in either pixels or percentage, it’s important to realize that in CSS, a height set to a percentage means that the element will be that percentage of the height of its parent div, not of itself. Meaning, setting
height="100%" in your profile or shortcode will not make the viewer the height of the entire contents of a page in the viewer, but the full height of the parent element (usually the content block of the page itself). Since most often the content block of a page does not have an explicit height set – it’s supposed to get taller or shorter based on the actual content on the page – CSS then does not know what height to use. Effectively it asks, “100% of what?” and will give you the default height, which is the minimum possible given the contents.
The short answer here is that
height="100%" does not work the way you might expect it to, because of the way CSS works. Either the parent div has to have an explicit height, or you should consider setting the height to a pixel value instead.
The viewer asks me to log in to my Google account
It is not necessary to have a Google account, or to be logged in to it if you have one, in order to view documents with GDE. However, Google in its infinite wisdom has added a third state of authentication (besides “logged in” and “logged out”) which, for lack of a better term, means “logged in – but only kinda.” Occasionally this “stale” (timed out, or otherwise conflicting) Google login will cause problems. This may result in an error message or a login screen in the viewer area. You should completely log in or completely log out of your Google account in this event.
The viewer loads my document(s) very slowly
As noted above, this is usually caused by poorly web-optimized (or not optimized at all) source documents, or slow/overloaded servers hosting the source document. It can also be a side effect of extremely long documents even if the file size is relatively small, because each page is being individually rendered as an image. If you find this load time to be unacceptable in your environment, use the Standard Viewer option if possible as this will always load the fastest. Otherwise, use an Enhanced Viewer profile that does not enable features you’re not intending to use.
I want to translate GDE into my own language
GDE is fully localizable and a .POT file is included in the distribution to get you started. I strongly welcome any new language additions or corrections to existing translations. Please send your translation or request for help with this to me using the email address found in the GPL statement near the top of the file
I have some other question or problem and need help
The plugin is free and I do my best to provide timely free support. The preferred support contact is the Support tab in GDE Settings, as this asks for specific information that helps me assist you with your particular document or environment. I also monitor the support forum for GDE on the WordPress Plugin Repository and emails sent to the address in the GPL statement near the top of the file