Troubleshoot PDF printing in Acrobat and Reader

Find solutions to common PDF document printing issues.


If you are facing issues in printing single-side or double-side on Mac, see Unable to print double-side or single-side in Acrobat on Mac

The first step in solving a printing issue is to trace the source of the issue. The troubleshooting techniques below solve some of the most common issues and are grouped into three categories:

Three most common issues

Printer-related solutions

Can you print this troubleshooting page?

Try printing this troubleshooting page. If you can't, follow these steps to check your connection to the printer:

  1. Make sure the cable that connects your printer to your computer is securely plugged in.

  2. If your printer is plugged into a USB hub, unplug the printer cable from the hub. Then, plug the printer cable directly into a USB port on your computer.

  3. Turn off your printer. Wait 30 seconds, and then turn it on again.

  4. Try to print the PDF again. 

Are you using the latest printer driver?

Make sure you update to the latest printer driver (a program that controls your printer). Printer manufacturers offer updated drivers to improve compatibility with newer software, such as newer versions of Reader and Acrobat.

  1. Find your printer model number. 

  2. Go to the manufacturer's website, and browse or search for "drivers" or "printer drivers." 

    Driver download pages for some manufacturers appear below:

  3. Find the correct driver for your model number. 

  4. Download and install the printer driver, according to the manufacturer's instructions.

  5. Restart your computer. 

Have you tried printing to a different printer?

If you have a different printer connected to your computer, try printing the file to the other printer. Sometimes a different printer can successfully print a PDF that doesn't print on another printer.  

To switch printers on Windows, see Change the default printer (Windows 10 and 8) or search Windows help for instructions.

To switch printers on Mac OS, see Change the default printer (macOS) or search Apple support for instructions for your operating system.

PDF file solutions

Often printing problems stem from issues with the PDF file. Even if a PDF looks fine on screen, it can contain incomplete or corrupt data. 

Try the "Print as image" option

If you’re in a hurry and want to print a simple document (such as a letter or form), use the "Print as image" option. Click the Advanced button in the Print dialog box to find this option. (In Windows 7, the Advanced button is at the bottom of the dialog box.)

Copy or download the PDF again directly to your hard drive

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 on your hard drive and print again. 

Create a copy of the PDF using Save As command

In Reader or Acrobat, choose File > Save As and give the PDF file a new name. Include only letters and numbers in the filename. Do not include symbols such as %, $, or []. Try printing the new copy of the PDF.

Recreate the PDF file

If you have the original source file that the PDF was created from, recreate the PDF.

  1. Open the file in the original program (such as a word processing or a page layout program).

  2. Choose File > Print, and then choose the option to save the file as a PDF.

  3. Open the new PDF, and try printing again.

Checking printing files (preflight inspection) for syntax-related issues (problems in programming code).

  1. Open the PDF and choose one of the following:

    • Acrobat: Tools > Print Production
    • Acrobat XI: View > Tools > Print Production
    Choose Print Production

  2. Select Preflight.

    Select Preflight

  3. Acrobat: In the Find bar of the Preflight window, type "syntax." Then select the profile Report PDF syntax issue. Then click Analyze and fix.

    Click Analyze and Fix PDF

Software-related solutions

Restart your computer

Restart your computer, then open the file again. It is surprising how often simply restarting your computer solves a problem. Restarting a computer clears its memory and memory cache.   

Use the current version of Adobe Reader or Acrobat

It is important to update your version of Reader or Acrobat. Adobe releases free security updates quarterly. The updates often include fixes for common problems. Download the latest free update:

  1. Open Reader or Acrobat.

  2. Choose Help > Check for Updates. If a new update is available, it installs automatically.

  3. Once installed, restart your computer. 

  4. Try to print the PDF again.

Two other documents provide troubleshooting suggestions: Resolve issues when configuring your printer or Printing complex PDFs | Acrobat. For tips on using the Print dialog box (such as printing back-to-back, resizing pages to fit the paper, or printing comments), see Printing tips (Acrobat X and earlier).

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