Common symptoms when you can't view a PDF on the web are:
- A blank page in the web browser
- A red X icon
- A broken-link inidcator, such as a red square, a blue triangle, or a blue circle
- Error: "The Adobe Acrobat/Reader that is running cannot be used to view PDF files in a web browser. Adobe Acrobat/Reader version 8 or 9 is required. Please exit and try again."
It can be hard to troubleshoot PDF display problems. The suggestions below represent the most common solutions. We recommend that you first update Reader or Acrobat. Then look for problems with the PDF, check the browser settings, and then look at repairing or reinstalling Reader.
Adobe releases free security updates quarterly. It is important to update your version of Reader or Acrobat to the latest release. The updates often include fixes to common problems. Download the latest free update:
Note: Microsoft Windows 7 requires Adobe Reader 9.2 or later.
Choose Help > Check For Updates. If a new update is available, it installs automatically.
Once installed, restart your computer.
Often, just refreshing the page allows the PDF to fully load.
- Hold down the Shift key and press the Refresh or Reload button in the browser.
Try viewing a different PDF. For example, see if this sample form displays in your browser. If Acrobat or Reader can open the sample form, then the other PDF may be damaged or the web server may be having problems. If possible, contact the individual or company who manages the website.
Determine if your web browser can open a PDF from your local hard drive rather than from the web. For this test, you need a PDF saved on your computer.
In your web browser, choose File > Open (or Open File).
(Windows only) From the Files Of Type menu, choose All Files.
Locate a PDF on your computer, select it, and then click Open.
If the PDF opens, the website you were viewing may have a problem. Contact the individual or company who manages the website.
Certain conditions on your computer, such as security settings or browser cookies, can prevent you from viewing a PDF. Often, the fastest solution is to try to open the page using a different browser. Try any of the following browsers that you have not already tried:
Microsoft Internet Explorer
For a list of compatible browsers for Reader and Acrobat X, see this list of Compatible web browsers.
Some websites display better in the Compatibility View of Internet Explorer. The Compatibility View displays a page as if it was an earlier version of the browser. For instructions on how to switch to this view, see one of these documents on the Microsoft website:
Internet Explorer 9: How to use Compatibility View in Internet Explorer 9
Internet Explorer 8: Why are some webpages blank or incorrectly displayed in Internet Explorer.
Restart your computer, then open the web page again. Restarting clears the computer memory and memory cache. It is surprising how often simply restarting your computer resolves a display issue.
Clear the browser cache (sometimes called 'temporary internet files') to ensure that you are viewing a fresh version of the page. When you open a webpage, the browser saves a temporary copy so that it opens more quickly next time. You want to force the browser to load the entire page directly from the server, rather than displaying a stored copy.
Be careful when selecting the options. You need to clear only the browser cache. If you clear all temporary internet files, you could delete the cookies that contain login information and preferences. As seen in this example below, most browsers let you choose the type of content you want to delete.
FireFox Clear All History dialog box lets you delete only the browser cache.
In Reader or Acrobat, right-click the document window, and select Page Display Preferences.
From the list at left, select Internet.
Deselect Display PDF In Browser, and then click OK.
Choose Edit > Preferences > Internet, select Display PDF In Browser, and then click OK.
Try to open the PDF again from the website.
Acrobat and Reader are 32-bit applications on Windows. If you try to open a PDF in a 64-bit version of Internet Explorer, the PDF opens in stand-alone Acrobat or Reader, not in Internet Explorer.
Note: Only Reader 10.1 or Acrobat 10.1 and later support Internet Explorer 9.
To make sure that you are using a 32-bit version of Internet Explorer, follow these steps:
In Internet Explorer, choose Help > About Internet Explorer. (In some versions of Internet Explorer, select the Question mark in the upper-right corner to select About Internet Explorer).
If you see "64-bit Edition" next to the version, then you need to switch to the 32-bit version of Internet Explorer.
To switch to the 32-bit Internet Explorer, first exit 64-bit Internet Explorer. Then double-click the program icon for the 32-bit version:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe
If you receive the error "Cannot use Adobe Reader to view PDFs in your web browser," do the following:
Choose Start > Run, type appwiz.cpl in the Open text box, and then click OK to open the Add Or Remove Programs dialog box.
Select Change Or Remove Programs in the Add Or Remove Programs dialog box, select DreamFactory Runtime for Netscape, Mozilla and Firefox, and click Change/Remove.
Click OK in the Remove Programs From Your Computer dialog box.
Adobe doesn't support a mix of versions of Reader and Acrobat on the same computer (such as Reader X and Acrobat 9). If you have both Reader and Acrobat installed, make sure they are the same version. Also make sure you don't have two copies of Reader or Acrobat installed. Having multiple or mismatched versions can lead to software conflicts and errors. Uninstall all versions of Reader or Acrobat, and then reinstall only one version of the product.
Reader or Acrobat could be damaged. Repairing the installation is a quick troubleshooting safeguard.
- (Reader) Choose Help > Repair Adobe Reader Installation.
- (Acrobat) Choose Help > Repair Acrobat Installation.
You can also repair your Acrobat or Reader installation using the Windows Control Panel.
Click Start > Control Panel.
Do one of the following in Control Panel, depending on your version of Windows:
- (Windows 7/Vista) Click Programs, and then click Programs and Features.
- (Windows XP) Double-click Add or Remove Programs.
In the list of programs, select Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat.
Click Change and follow the instructions to repair the application.
When the process is complete, click Finish.
Make sure that the Adobe PDF browser add-on, AdobePDF.dll, is enabled.
Select Tools > Internet Options.
Click the Manage Add-ons button.
Set the Show menu to "Add-ons that have been used by Internet Explorer."
Find and select Adobe PDF Reader. If you don't find this item in the list, reinstall Reader or Acrobat.
Make sure that Enable is selected.
Make sure that the Adobe PDF browser add-on, nppdf32.dll, is enabled.
In the Firefox address bar, type: about:plugins
Scroll down to a section named Adobe Acrobat.
Create a user account that has the same permissions as the account you use when the problem occurs. Or create a local administrator account. If the problem doesn't recur when you log on to the new account, then the original user account could be damaged.
For information on setting up a user account, refer to the following resources or contact your network administrator:
Windows XP: To add a new user to the computer
Windows Vista: Create local administrator account (Windows Vista) (kb404912)
Windows 7: Create a user account
If the PDF file is 4 MB or larger, ask the provider to optimize the PDF file. For information about optimizing PDF files, see Enable Fast Web View in a PDF in Acrobat X (Professional or Standard) Help.
Disclaimer: The registry contains system-related information that is critical to your computer and applications. Before modifying the registry, be sure to make a backup copy of it. Adobe doesn't provide support for problems that can arise from improperly modifying the registry. Adobe strongly recommends that you have experience editing system files before you modify the registry. For information on the Windows Registry Editor, see the documentation for Windows or contact Microsoft Technical Support.
Type regedit and click OK.
Browse to the key HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Software\Adobe\Acrobat\Exe.
Make sure that the (Default) value is set for the path where Acrobat or Reader is installed.
The default path for Reader is "C:\Program Files\Adobe\Reader 9.0\Reader\AcroRd32.exe".
The default path for Acrobat is "C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 9.0\Acrobat\Acrobat.exe".
Note: If Acrobat or Reader isn't installed in the default path, make sure that the key's (Default) value points to the actual location.
For a video demonstration of the procedure, go to kb2.adobe.com/cps/515/cpsid_51501.html.
If the above registry item doesn't exist on the system, do the following:
Type regedit and click OK.
Go to Edit > New > Key and create the missing HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Software\Adobe\Acrobat\Exe.
Go to Edit > New > String Value and name this key (Default).
Select (Default), and then go to Edit > Modify. Type the default path (listed above) in the "Value data" for your product.
It is possible that this key is damaged, is pointing to an obsolete version of Acrobat or Reader, or is pointing to a third-party PDF viewer.
Disclaimer: This procedure involves editing the Windows registry. Adobe doesn't provide support for editing the registry, which contains critical system and application information. Make sure to back up the registry before editing it, or contact a qualified computer service professional to do it for you. For more information about the registry, see the Windows documentation or contact Microsoft.
Choose Start > Run, type regedit in the Open text field of the Run dialog box, and then click OK.
Back up your current Registry file:
In the Registry Editor dialog box, choose File > Export.
Type a name for the file and choose the location.
For Export Range, choose All.
Navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\AcroExch.Document.
Right-click AcroExch.Document and select Delete; make sure that you have the correct key, and click Yes on any prompts.
Right-click AcroExch.Document.7 and select Delete; make sure that you have the correct key, and click Yes on any prompts.
Repair your Acrobat or Reader installation using solution 2 above.
This video demonstrates the steps.
If you're a webmaster or have administrative rights to a website, configure the web server to send content-type headers of 'application/pdf' for PDF files. For instructions, see the documentation that came with the web server, or see article 305153 on the Microsoft website at http://support.microsoft.com.
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