In fact, most web browsers you use currently allow you to open PDF files easily. But many people say they have trouble opening a specific PDF file. Why does this happen? How to fix when you can’t open PDF files on your computer or in a browser like IE? Please find answers in the following content provided by MiniTool Solution.

PDF is the acronym of Portable Document Format, which is a file format developed by Adobe in the 1990s. PDF files are mainly used to present documents including images and text information. The modern web browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Internet Explorer can easily open PDFs; besides, Acrobat Reader DC and Acrobat DC are two useful tools to help users open PDF files on their computer. But the problem is some users can’t open PDF. What are the causes of PDF files not opening? How to fix when you can’t open PDF files? Please keep reading.

can't open PDF

Can’t Open PDF on Your Computer

There are a lot of people saying they can’t open PDF in Windows 10, Windows 8, or Windows 7. The PDF files won’t open after users clicked on it. Some of them can’t help but ask: why can’t I open a PDF. Here, I’ll list the common reasons for PDF files not opening issue.

[Solved] Windows Photo Viewer Can’t Open This Picture Error!

Possible factors that prevent you from opening files in Adobe Reader or Acrobat:

  • There is no PDF reader installed on the computer.
  • The Acrobat or Adobe Reader itself is out of date.
  • The Acrobat or Adobe Reader application is damaged.
  • The Acrobat or Adobe won’t open due to certain reasons.
  • The PDF files are not created by Adobe programs.
  • The PDF files are damaged somehow.
  • There’s virus or malicious data in PDF files.
Full Guide to Recover PDF Files (Deleted/Unsaved/Corrupted)
Full Guide to Recover PDF Files (Deleted/Unsaved/Corrupted)

You must be eager to recover PDF files that contains a lot of significant information. This post provides you with useful methods.

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The most possible reason that will stop you from viewing PDF Files in browsers like Internet Explorer is software conflict; there may be conflict with the Adobe Setting. People need to change the settings manually when they cannot open PDF.


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How to Fix When PDF File Won’t Open

The following methods show you how to fix when PDF won’t open in Windows 10.

  • On Windows: navigate to the PDF file -> right click on it -> select Open with -> click Choose another app -> Choose Adobe Acrobat Reader DC or Adobe Acrobat DC -> check Always use this app to open .pdf files -> click on the OK button.
  • On Mac: open Finder -> locate and select your PDF file -> click File -> choose Get Info -> expand the Open with category -> choose Adobe Acrobat Reader DC or Adobe Acrobat DC -> click on the Change All button.

Fix 2: disable Protected Mode at startup.

  1. Open Adobe Reader.
  2. Choose Edit from the menu bar at the top.
  3. Look for Preferences from the drop-down list and click it.
  4. Select Security (Enhanced) from the left sidebar of the new window.
  5. Look for Enable Protected Mode at startup under Sandbox Protections and uncheck it.
  6. Click Yes to confirm the changes.

Disable Protected Mode at startup

Fix 3: update Adobe Reader or Acrobat.

  1. Run Adobe Reader or Acrobat.
  2. Choose Help from menu bar.
  3. Select Check for Updates from the drop-down list.
  4. Click Update and wait for it to finish.
  5. Restart your computer.

Check for Updates

If this didn’t work, you can also try to revert to an earlier version of Adobe Reader or Acrobat.

Fix 4: Repair Installation.

  1. Run Adobe Reader or Acrobat.
  2. Choose Help from menu bar.
  3. Select Repair Installation.
  4. Click Yes to confirm your selection.

Fix 5: repair corrupted files.

If the PDF file is damaged, you may try to find a way to repair corrupt file or just ask the sender to resend the file to you.

How to fix PDF file won’t open in Internet Explorer?

  1. Open Adobe Reader or Acrobat.
  2. Choose Edit from the menu bar.
  3. Select Preferences.
  4. Choose Internet from the left sidebar.
  5. Check Display PDF in browser under Web Browser Options.
  6. Click on the OK button to confirm.

Display PDF in browser

Please try this if you still can’t open PDF after above steps.

  1. Run the Internet Explorer.
  2. Navigate to Tools.
  3. Select Manage Ad-ons.
  4. Choose Toolbars and Extensions under Add-on Types.
  5. Click All ad-ons under Show.
  6. Select Adobe PDF Reader and click Enable.

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