Why do my students send me .lnk instead of .pdf files after saving a PDF to the My Documents folder?

Jgold April 5, 2011
Ads by Google

I teach online courses in Blackboard. For the assignments, the student have to open a .pdf file, fill in their answers, save the .pdf and attach the .pdf file to the assignment. 95% of the students have no problem doing this. The other 5% keep sending me .lnk files. I tell them to redo making sure they save as .pdf. I even made them a tutorial with step-by-step instructions. They say that even though they save to the file in their My Documents folder as a .pdf, it changes to a .lnk.

Anyone have any ideas how I can guide them to get this right?

  1. Pamelaalize
    February 19, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this. I always save using .pdf or .rtf and everytime I go to submit it it came up as .lnk. I now realize like you said that I have been opening it from the shortcut files not the original file. This was such a help, I wish the professors advised their students of this also.

  2. Vickchick09
    December 3, 2011 at 1:16 am

    Thanks so much for this answer.  I just resubmitted my assignment using your help, maybe now I won't get a zero!

  3. Angwts
    October 22, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    I am a student and this is happening to me now. I am NOT taking shortcuts. I am creating a new document in microsoft word and even after I save it as a document when sending to my professor it comes across as .lnk! 

    • Tina
      October 27, 2011 at 4:37 pm


      the above question is several months old and as you see you have not received a response to your comment. I'm afraid I cannot answer your question, however, I recommend you to ask a new question. It will be published on the Answers frontpage and you will receive replies for sure!

  4. guest
    August 10, 2011 at 11:54 am

    What I have found is that students get their files from a folder called recently worked items and those are ALL .lnk (shortcut) files. You must tell them to get the file from the original folder and not from "recent work" folder.

  5. phil
    April 6, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    I agree with Mike. It sounds like they are not actually downloading it.
    Tell them to save the completed assignment on their computer with a different name such as "assignment_yourname.pdf" (really just require them to do a "save as" and choose where to store the file), THEN have them email you that file.

    they really ought to be saving assignments as back up anyway, at least until they know it has been submitted successfully.

    • Jgold
      April 7, 2011 at 12:49 am

      From your mouth to their ears Phil. 95% of them do the right thing. It's the 5% that have me combing through forums in the evening hours.
      Thanks so much for your response. It was very helpful.

  6. Anonymous
    April 6, 2011 at 8:15 am

    Possible the pc is infected with malwares and they have this .lnk problems on all their icones. So they have to fix fileassociation problems/

    The method regedit is also fairly simple, but recommend you set a manual restore point before starting. A regedit always has the potential to mess up your system. procedures are:

    1.Click Start Menu, and then type regedit in the Start Search and press ENTER.
    2.Navigate to the following registry branch:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurre ntVersionExplorerFileExts[ext]

    Replace the [ext] with the actual file extension that you want to restore its file type association to revert back to original Windows 7 default (probably .lnk). If you unsure, simply browse through all the sub-key under FileExts.

    1.Delete the sub-key named UserChoice.
    2.Exit from Registry Editor.

    either method shouldl work.

    • Jgold
      April 7, 2011 at 12:50 am

      Thank you so much for replying. I am thrilled to find a place to go for such informed answers.

  7. Mike
    April 6, 2011 at 5:44 am

    There are so much scenarios where files (and attachments) can turn into links.

    Personally, I usually experience that people have a link to the file on the Desktop (because it's easier than opening the obscure network path to the file) and drag this link into the Email instead of the source file. This way they are sending the link (.lnk) not the original file.

    You said you teach online courses - so maybe people don't save the actual PDF (Save file as) but only a link to the file. For example when you drag&drop the URL from the browser it will be named www . example . com / assignment . pdf (without spaces). For them there doesn't seem to be any difference because double-clicking the link will redirect them to the PDF - chances are they don't recognize the small arrow symbolizing the Link.

    However, as previously stated when you send this via Email it will turn into what it actually is, a link and not a PDF file.

    • Jgold
      April 7, 2011 at 12:47 am

      Thank you so much for your input. This was very helpful.

Ads by Google