Microsoft Purview Information Protection: Auto labeling (for files at rest in SharePoint Online) can now label PDF files

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Microsoft Purview Information Protection: Auto labeling (for files at rest in SharePoint Online) can now label PDF files

Auto labeling (for files at rest in SharePoint Online) will soon label PDF files.

When this will happen:

Preview: Rollout to public preview will begin in mid-July 2023 and expect to complete by early August 2023.  

How this will affect your organization:

Once the changes are rolled out to your tenant, the following are the changes you can expect:

  1. You can apply labels to PDF files at rest in SharePoint using Autolabeling. Auto-labeling policies will need to be restarted in simulation to label PDFs at rest. Newly uploaded PDFs will get automatically labeled with existing policies. Learn more: Automatically apply a sensitivity label in Microsoft 365 – Microsoft Purview (compliance) | Microsoft Learn 
  2. The sensitivity column will start showing the label names for newly uploaded or labeled PDF files.
  3. End users can view protected PDFs in SharePoint and OneDrive will be supported in the following clients on


  • Edge in the browser to view directly on SharePoint and OneDrive (user must be signed in)  
  • Adobe for downloaded files *  
  • FoxIt for downloaded files *  
  • NitroPDF *  
  • AIP viewer for downloaded files*  


  • AIP viewer  
  • FoxIt

* Note that using a PDF reader that requires download may conflict with DLP policies that prevent download of files

     4. If you want to remove labels with encryption from PDFs then you can use this cmdlet: Unlock-SPOSensitivityLabelEncryptedFile.

What you need to do to prepare:

  1. With this release you can expect more PDF files to be protected via sensitivity labels and encryption. You should prepare to train your users on methods to view protected PDFs both in browser and apps as described above.
  2. Note that this functionality is default turned OFF. If your organization is ready for consumption of sensitivity label encrypted PDF files, you have the option to enable this functionality via SharePoint Admin PowerShell cmdlet.

Set-SPOTenant -EnableSensitivityLabelforPDF $true

To turn on support from the Microsoft Purview compliance portal, go to Information protection > Auto-labeling. If you see a message to turn on PDF support, select the Turn on now button. If you don’t immediately see this message, try again in a few days, or use the PowerShell option. 

Please note that it may take around 15 minutes after this setting is enabled for labeling of PDFs to occur. Enabling this setting will enable all PDF labeling in SharePoint and OneDrive not just through automatic labeling.   

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