Many factors can prevent a PDF from opening in Adobe Reader or Acrobat. Some factors include damage to the PDF, damage to the Reader or Acrobat installation or update, or an out-dated version of Reader or Acrobat. Other factors include unrecognizable file types or PDFs created with non-Adobe programs. Try the suggestions below as your first troubleshooting steps.
Problems with PDF file
The most common issues with a PDF are as follows:
- Password protection blocks opening the PDF.
- PDF was created with a non-Adobe program and doesn't comply with industry standards.
- File is damaged.
The creator of a PDF can add password security to a document to prevent unauthorized users from viewing the PDF. To open this type of document, enter the password when prompted. If the PDF creator has not shared the password with you, you cannot open the PDF.
Reader and Acrobat block PDFs that do not conform to certain industry-specific PDF standards. For example, Reader and Acrobat block PDFs that can allow potentially harmful content to load, or PDFs created with bad syntax. These PDFs can pose a security risk to your system.
PDFs created from non-Adobe products don't always comply with the complete PDF specification, and therefore do not open in Reader or Acrobat. In addition, earlier versions of Reader or Acrobat are not as strict in their conformance to PDF standards as are newer versions. Each new version of Reader or Acrobat forces PDFs to be more compliant to the PDF specification. So, you could have been able to open a particular PDF in an older version of the product, but not in the latest version. If you trust the creator of the PDF or where it came from, consider reverting to an earlier version of Reader or Acrobat to open the PDF.
Sometimes a PDF file becomes damaged or contains corrupt data. If you downloaded the PDF from the Web or received it in an email, download the PDF again or ask the sender to resend it. Copy the file directly to your hard drive, rather than a thumb (portable) or network drive.
Open the new copy directly from your hard drive.
Note: If the explanations in this section do not solve your issue, submit your sample file using the File Open Issue Form.
Problems with Reader, Acrobat, or OS settings
If you've determined the PDF is not damaged or non-compliant, try the following steps to ensure that Reader or Acrobat are up-to-date and not damaged:
- Update to latest "dot" release.
- Repair installation.
- Reinstall using the latest version.
- Ensure that the operating system can recognize PDFs.
Adobe releases regular security updates for Reader and Acrobat. It's likely that the latest update patch can fix a conflict with your system.
Reader or Acrobat, or the resources they rely on, could be damaged. Repairing the installation is a quick troubleshooting safeguard.
Note: You cannot repair the PDF itself. However, if you have the source file, you can re-create the PDF using an Adobe product.
Although you can repair your product installation by choosing Help > Repair [product] Installation, the Control Panel method sometimes provides better results.
- (Windows 7/Vista) Click Programs, and then click Programs And Features.
- (Windows XP) Double-click Add Or Remove Programs.
- (Reader) Choose Help > Repair Adobe Reader Installation.
- (Acrobat) Choose Help > Repair Acrobat Installation.
Try uninstalling Adobe Reader, making sure that you remove all versions. (In Windows, use Add Or Remove Programs.) Then install the latest version.
A system freeze or an error message indicates a specific problem with your computer or the installation process. To troubleshoot further, see the TechNote associated with the error in the table below. If your error does not appear in the table, type the error in the search box at the top of Adobe Reader Help and Support. Then click the Search button .
|Symptom or error||TechNote or solution|
||Errors and freezes -- Adobe Reader -- Windows|
||Errors and freezes -- Adobe Reader -- Mac OS|
|Installation starts but a frozen cursor, frozen screen, or an error message interrupts startup.||Installation interrupted | Acrobat 9, Reader 9
Error 1402 | Error 1406 | Acrobat, Reader
|Can't view a PDF in a web browser, or the PDF opens outside the browser.
||Can't view PDF on the web
For solutions in an enterprise environment, see Error "There is a problem with Adobe Acrobat/Reader..." | PDF in browser | Acrobat, Adobe Reader | 8, 9 | Windows
|Acrobat stops responding when you rotate or insert a page, combine documents, scan, add a digital signature, add security, change a setting in the Advanced Print dialog box, or add a background.||Error: "Acrobat has encountered a problem and must close" (Acrobat 8.x)|
|Error: The file is damaged and could not be repaired.||Forum post|