Many of the tasks below are more advanced options that can be helpful for document service bureaus and others working with professional-level printers. For more basic troubleshooting tasks, see Troubleshoot PDF printing in Acrobat and Reader (cpsid_87346)

Print the PDF in batches 

Print the PDF one or two pages at a time. By printing in small batches, you can determine if a particular page, or an object on a page (such as an image), causes the problem. If you can identify a page or an object that does not print, do one of the following:

  • Remove the page or object.
  • Re-create the page or object that is causing the problem.
    Note:  This option requires that you have the source file.
  • If you don't have the source file, extract the page and try to print the page as an image. See Quick fix | Print PDF as image | Acrobat, Reader (cpsid_87345).

Reset the print settings to their defaults 

Print by using the Acrobat default settings to determine if a print setting could have changed and is causing the problem.

  1. Choose File > Print, and then click Advanced.

    For Mac OS only:  If you don't see the Advanced button, click the arrow (to the right of the Printer pop-up menu).
  2. If necessary, click Save As and enter a Print Settings name, to avoid losing your current settings.
  3. Choose Acrobat Default from the Advanced Print Setup dialog box, Settings pop-up menu, and then click OK (Windows), or Print (Mac OS).
  4. Click OK to close the dialog box, and then click Print.

Combine fragmented images to reduce the PDF file size 

When you convert documents that contain transparent images into PDF files, the transparent images are processed in many small fragments in the PDF. A Word document containing a transparent GIF is an example. This processing can increase the file size of the PDF, which can cause printing problems. In Acrobat 8 and later, you can merge these fragments to reduce the PDF file size.

  1. Make a backup copy of your PDF.
  2. Open the copy and choose Advanced > PDF Optimizer.
  3. Select Discard Objects.
  4. Select Detect And Merge Image Fragments and click OK.
  5. Save the PDF file.
  6. Try printing this new version of the PDF. 

Merge or flatten layers in the PDF 

PDF files can contain layered content if they are created from layered documents by using applications such as Adobe InDesign. As a result, a single page of the PDF file can contain different layers with different content. If you print a PDF that contains layered content, only the layer that is currently visible onscreen is printed. Acrobat Pro and Pro Extended let you specify which layer is visible and printable. Merge or flatten the layers in the PDF to determine if one of the layers is causing the printing problem.

Note: Merging or flattening layers can't be undone. For this procedure, use a copy of your PDF.

To determine which version of Acrobat you are using, choose Help > About Adobe Acrobat (Windows), or Acrobat > About Acrobat (Mac OS).

For Acrobat 8 Professional or later:

  1. Make a backup copy of your PDF file by choosing File > Save As and giving the copy a new name.
  2. Open the copy and choose Advanced > PDF Optimizer. If asked whether you want to save and continue, click Yes.
  3. Select Discard User Data.
  4. Select Discard Hidden Layer Content And Flatten Visible Layers, and then click OK.
  5. When prompted, save the Optimized PDF with another new name.
  6. Open the Layers panel (if the Layers panel is not visible, choose View > Navigation Panels > Layers). Click the Options pop-up menu, and then select either Merge Layers or Flatten Layers. Merged layers acquire the properties of the layer into which they are merged. Flattening layers discards any layer content that isn't visible onscreen.

  7. Save the PDF file and try to print it.

For Acrobat 7 Professional:

  1. Make a backup copy of your PDF file.
  2. Open the copy and choose Advanced > PDF Optimizer.
  3. Click the Clean Up tab.
  4. Select Remove Hidden Layers Content and Flatten Layers, and then click OK.
  5. When prompted, save the Optimized PDF with another new name.
  6. In the Layers panel, choose Options, and then select either Merge Layers or Flatten Layers. Merged layers acquire the properties of the layer into which they are merged. Flattening layers discards any layer content that isn't visible onscreen.
  7. Save the PDF file and attempt to print it.

Adjust the flattening of transparent objects 

If a document contains transparent objects, such as images with transparency, Acrobat flattens the document before printing it. Flattening removes transparency information and converts images to a format that the printer can interpret. Adjust how Acrobat performs the flattening to determine whether transparency is causing the problem.

To determine which version of Acrobat you are using, choose Help > About Adobe Acrobat (Windows), or Acrobat > About Acrobat (Mac OS).

For Acrobat 8 Professional or later:

  1. Make a backup copy of your PDF.
  2. Choose Advanced > Print Production > Flattener Preview.
  3. Adjust the Raster/Vector Balance:
    • If you print to an inkjet printer, drag the Raster/Vector Balance slider to the lowest setting.
    • If you print to a PostScript printer, drag the Raster/Vector Balance slider to the highest setting. You can determine whether your printer is a PostScript printer by checking its documentation. You can also look at the driver properties in the Printers and Faxes control panel (Windows), or Print & Fax in System Preferences (Mac OS). Usually the model name shown in the properties includes the letters "PS" if it is a PostScript printer.
  4. Select Convert All Text To Outlines.
  5. Deselect Clip Complex Regions.

    Note: This option is available only if you select values from 1 through 99 in step 3.
  6. Click Apply to flatten the PDF and close the Flattener Preview dialog box.
  7. Print the document.

For Acrobat 7 Professional:

  1. Make a backup copy of your PDF.
  2. Choose File > Print, and then click Advanced.
  3. Choose Transparency Flattening from the list on the left.
  4. Adjust the Raster/Vector Balance:
    • If you print to an inkjet printer, drag the Raster/Vector Balance slider to the lowest setting.
    • If you print to a PostScript printer, drag the Raster/Vector Balance slider to the highest setting. You can determine whether your printer is a PostScript printer by checking its documentation. You can also tell by looking at the driver properties in the Printers and Faxes control panel (Windows), or Print & Fax in System Preferences (Mac OS). Usually the model name shown in the properties includes the letters "PS" if it is a PostScript printer.
  5. Select Convert All Text To Outlines.
  6. Deselect Clip Complex Regions, click OK, and then print the document.

Print a composite of the PDF 

If you print a PDF with color separations, print a composite to determine whether one of the color plates is causing the problem. When you print a composite, all the colors print on one plate, regardless of whether individual colors are selected. If a composite prints, sometimes it indicates that one of the individual color plates is causing the problem.

  1. Choose File > Print.
  2. In the Print dialog box, click Advanced.
  3. Select Output from the list on the left.

  4. In the Output pane, select Composite from the Color menu.
  5. Click OK to close the dialog box, and then print the document.

Change the PostScript options 

Print using variations of the default PostScript options to determine whether a specific print setting is causing the problem.

  1. Choose File > Print, and then click Advanced.
  2. Select PostScript Options from the list on the left.
  3. Select any PostScript options that aren't selected and deselect any options that are selected.
  4. Click OK to close the dialog box, and then print the document. If this option eliminates the problem, experiment with each of the PostScript options in step 3 to determine which specific option is causing the problem. 

Enable the PostScript error handler in Windows 

If you print to a PostScript printer, enable the PostScript error handler for the printer, if one is available for your printer. The PostScript error handler prints a list of PostScript errors that occur when you print. For help interpreting and resolving PostScript errors, see Troubleshoot PostScript errors (328515).

  1. Choose one of the following:
    • Start > Settings > Printers (Windows 2000)
    • Start > Printers And Faxes (Windows XP)
    • Start > Control Panel > Printers (Windows Vista, Windows 7)
  2. Right-click the printer you are using, and then choose Printer Properties.
  3. Select the General tab, select Printing Preferences, and then click Advanced.
  4. Expand Document Options, and then expand PostScript Options.
  5. Set Send PostScript Error Handler to Yes. If you do not see this option, your printer does not have a PostScript Error Handler.

Delete Acrobat temporary files in Windows 

Excess temporary files can cause Acrobat to freeze or appear to freeze when you print.

To delete temporary files using Disk Cleanup:

  1. Close any open applications.
  2. Open Computer.
  3. Right-click the system boot drive (usually the C:\ drive), and then select Properties.
  4. On the General tab, click Disk Cleanup.
  5. Scroll down in the Files To Delete list, and then select Temporary Files.
  6. Click OK, and then click Yes to confirm deletion.
  7. Click OK to close the system drive Properties dialog box.

To delete temporary files using the command line:

  1. Close any open applications.
  2.  In Windows 2000 or Windows XP: Choose Start > Run, type command in the Open text box, and then click OK. In Windows 7 and Windows Vista: Click Start, type command in the search box, and then click Command Prompt.

  3. Insert the appropriate command at the end of this text line, and then press Enter:

Print with Windows in Simplified mode 

Windows Simplified Mode disables startup items and services. Starting in simplified mode can eliminate some errors or conflicts caused by one of these items.

In Windows 2000:

Windows 2000 does not have the MSConfig utility for disabling startup items. You can manually disable the items or obtain the MSConfig utility for Windows XP, which also works with Windows 2000. Disable these processes every time you restart the computer.

To manually disable startup items:

  1. Quit all applications.
  2. In Windows Explorer, move all icons and shortcuts from the following folders to another folder:
    • Documents and Settings/All Users/Start Menu/Programs/Startup
    • Documents and Settings/[user profile]/Start Menu/Programs/StartupRestart Windows.
  3. Right-click the taskbar and choose Task Manager from the menu.

    Note: The simplest method for disabling all remaining programs is to disable processes that are not required for the system to run. Without a strong understanding of the Windows 2000 system, you can typically reduce the number of processes to 19. If the process is not in the required process list, disable the process by following the steps below.

    Caution: Do not disable the following required processes: wuauclt.exe, WinMgmt.exe, WINLOGON.EXE, TASKMGR.EXE, System Idle Process, System, svchost.exe, spoolsv.exe, SMSS.EXE, SERVICES.EXE, regsvc.exe, mstask.exe, LSASS.EXE, explorer.exe, CSRSS.EXE.
     

  4. Click the Processes tab.
  5. Select a process, click End Process, and choose Yes.
  6. Try to print your PDF file.

To re-enable startup items and services, follow these steps:

  1. Move the icons and shortcuts from step 2 above back into their respective Startup folders.
  2. Restart the computer. 

In Windows XP:

  1. Quit all applications.
  2. Choose Start > Run, type msconfig in the Open text box, and click OK.

  3. Click the Startup tab, and write down the names of any deselected items.
  4. Click the General tab, and choose Selective startup.
  5. Deselect Load Startup Items. Verify that Process System.ini File, Process WIN.INI File, and Load System Services are selected.
  6. Click the Services Tab, and select Hide All Microsoft Services.
  7. Click Disable All.
  8. Click OK, and restart Windows.

    Note: When you restart, click OK when the dialog box appears to notify you that the System Configuration Utility has changed the way Windows starts. Click Cancel when the System Configuration Utility appears.
  9. Right-click any icons in the taskbar's notification area (also called the System Tray in earlier versions of Windows) to close or disable them. 

  10. Attempt to print your PDF file.

To re-enable startup items and services, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Start > Run, type msconfig in the Open text box, and click OK.

  2. Choose Normal Startup on the General tab, click OK, and restart the computer.
  3. Deselect any items you wrote down in step 3 of "Disable startup items and services."
  4. Restart the computer.

In Windows Vista or Windows 7:

  1. Quit all applications.
  2. Click Start, type msconfig in the search box, and press Enter.
  3. On the Startup tab, click Disable All.
  4. On the Services tab, select Hide All Microsoft Services, click Disable All, and then click OK.
  5. In the System Configuration dialog box, click Restart.

To re-enable startup items and services, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Start, type msconfig in the search box, and press Enter.
  2. Choose Normal Startup on the General tab, click OK, and restart the computer.

Switch to the standard VGA video driver in Windows 

Switch to the standard VGA video driver and then restart Windows in VGA mode. If the printing error doesn't occur when you use the standard VGA driver, contact the video card manufacturer for an updated driver. If you already use the current version, try using a different video resolution (for example, 800 x 600, rather than 1024 x 768).

Note: Standard VGA drivers display 16 colors only. Switch to Super VGA for applications that require a minimum of 256 colors, such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premiere Pro, or Adobe Illustrator. 

Use the current version of Adobe Reader or Acrobat 

Download the current version of Adobe Reader or Acrobat, at the Adobe Product updates site. Or, in Adobe Reader or Acrobat, choose Help > Check For Updates.

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