PDF Won’t Open? 11 Proven Ways To Fix It | #macos | #macsecurity

Although PDF files are convenient to use, sometimes it becomes a stumbling block when you can’t open them. It is a common problem that everyone faces. So, you are not alone.

Your PDF might not open if the file is corrupted due to the download, storage, and file transfer error. Or, it can be a minor cause like you don’t have a PDF reader program on your device. 

However, you can be at ease as there are simple fixes that’ll solve your problem. Go through this article to learn 11 fixes for your PDF not opening. 

Why Won’t My PDF Open?

The most general reason why your PDF file won’t open is if it has downloading errors. However, there can be other factors. Find it out below.

  • No PDF reader on the device
  • Password-protected file
  • Virus or Malicious data in PDF file
  • File Incompatible with the PDF reader program
  • Older version of Adobe reader
  • Large PDF file size

How to Fix PDF Not Opening?

You cannot open a PDF file if there is no PDF reader program on your device. So, you can install Adobe Acrobat Reader or any other reader to fix the issue. Then, try opening it from the app. 

Similarly, your PDF won’t open if it is protected. So, before implementing other fixes, you can try unlocking the PDF and opening it. Besides, here are 11 fixes you can try to open your PDF.

Unlock PDF File 

Usually, some users protect their PDF file if it is confidential. So, if you don’t have access to the password for the file, you won’t be able to open it. In such a case, you need to unlock a PDF file to open it. Then, you can open the file with Adobe Reader.

Set Adobe Acrobat DC as a Default Program

Although you’ve installed Adobe Reader on your PC, it might open on a different app or browser. For instance, Microsoft Edge is the default browser to open PDF files in Windows 10 and 11. So, you must set Adobe Reader as the default program. Check out the steps below.

On Windows

  1. Locate your PDF file and right-click on it
  2. Select Open With > Choose another app
  3. Select Adobe Acrobat DC and click on Always use this app to open PDF files box
  4. Hit on the OK button

On Mac

  1. Select the PDF file and right-click on it
  2. Choose Open With > Other
    Mac Select Pdf file Open With Other
  3. Select Adobe Acrobat Reader DC and click on Always Open With
    Always open with Adobe Acrobat Reader DC Mac
  4. To confirm, click on the Open button

Resize the PDF

If the file size of the PDF is too large, it will take a lot of time to download it. So, you will have trouble opening the file. In such case, you can resize the PDF file, i.e., compress the size of the PDF file into a lesser app size. You can also go to the official Adobe website and resize the PDF. 

Update Adobe Acrobat

There can be bugs and errors in the application. So, if you are using an older version, your PDF might not open. However, Adobe constantly releases new software versions with fixes and improvements. You must update the program to use the advanced version. However, If it is up to date, it will show No updates. Follow the given steps to check for updates.

  1. Go to Adobe Acrobat 
  2. On the menu, Navigate to Help 
  3. Choose the Check for Updates option
  4. If there is an update, click on the Update button. However, If the app is up to date, it will show No updates.
  5. Wait for a few minutes and restart your computer to refresh the changes

Run Compatibility Mode

You might have trouble opening the PDF when switching to new Windows version. Sometimes there can be a conflict between the new system and app. Thus, there might be compatibility issues. However, you can run from the compatibility mode feature of Adobe Acrobat Reader to fix it. You can change it to normal at any moment. Find out the steps below.

  1. Locate Adobe Acrobat reader and right-click on the app
  2. Select Properties
  3. Go to the Compatibility tab and click on Run this program in compatibility mode for
  4. Select the older Windows version
  5. Click on Apply
  6. To confirm, click on the OK button

Turn Off the Protected Mode at Startup

If you’ve turned on protected mode on Adobe reader, it will block the PDF file with viruses or suspicious contents. However, sometimes this feature might misread files that are not malicious. In such case, you can turn off the protected mode temporarily and try opening the PDF file. Find out the steps below.

  1. Go to Adobe Reader 
  2. Navigate to Edit from the menu bar on top of your screen and click on Preferences
  3. Navigate to Security (Enhanced) and Uncheck the box if Enable Protected Mode at the startup box 
    Adobe Acrobat Reader DC Edit Preferences Security Enhanced Enable Protected Mode at Startup OK
  4. To confirm changes, hit on the OK button 

Repair Installation 

Your PDF won’t open if the system malfunctions within the Adobe acrobat. However, there is a repair installation option to solve the issue. So, follow the given steps to repair the installation.  

  1. Open Adobe Acrobat
  2. From the menu bar, click on the Help tab
  3. Choose Repair Installation 
  4. To confirm, choose Yes 

Reinstall Adobe Acrobat reader

You can delete the Adobe app from your device and install it again. It will erase all data including bugs and glitches.

To uninstall the app on Windows and Mac, please follow the given steps:

On Windows

  1. First, close the Adobe Reader app if you’re using it
  2. Enter Windows + R to open Windows Run
  3. Type Control Panel and click on the OK button
  4. Go to Programs 
  5. Click on Programs and Features
  6. Find Adobe Acrobat Reader and right-click on it
  7. Click on the Uninstall button 

On Mac

  1. Navigate to Finder and click on Applications
  2. Right-click on Adobe Acrobat Reader DC and select Move to Trash Adobe Acrobat Reader DC Move to Trash on Mac
  3. Go to Trash and click Empty Trash 

You can install the Adobe Acrobat Reader again by logging into their official website.

Use an Older Version of the PDF Reader

Although newer versions of Adobe bring system improvements and fixes, sometimes there might be unexpected errors with the updates. This will cause you trouble while opening PDF. If your older version works fine, you can switch to it. You can delete Adobe and install older versions again. 

Request to Resend the PDF File 

While opening a PDF file in Adobe Reader, the file should meet the particular standard set by the program. So, your PDF file won’t open if the file is damaged or consists of malicious data.  

For security reasons, Adobe reader will block any suspicious PDF file from opening. Since the damaged file won’t open, you can ask the sender to transfer the PDF file again. 

Try Another PDF Reader

If you still can’t open the PDF with the Adobe Acrobat Reader, the last resort is to contact the Adobe help center or try other PDF reader programs. You can find various programs online. 

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