Bad Adobe PDF

adobe-reader_windows-logoBad Adobe PDF: a reader asks…

I use Adobe Acrobat Reader to look at pdf documents. I recently received one that Adobe couldn’t open, and the error message said something about a corrupted file. Is there a tool out there that can fix this?

You didn’t mention what version of Adobe Reader you’re using, so the first thing I should recommend is that you visit and make sure you’re using the latest version. The current version is Adobe Reader DC (version 2015.007.20033) and the reason for always using the latest version is two-fold:

  1. Older versions have security vulnerabilities and Adobe PDFs are a popular method hackers use to infect unwary computers (users).
  2. If you’re using an older version to view PDFs that were created by newer versions of Adobe Acrobat, your reader won’t be able to read them.

The next thing I should mention is to consider the source. PDF is a popular format and there are a number of tools that can create PDFs (even from within a Microsoft Office program), but some of these 3rd party tools don’t do a great job. And as mentioned above, PDFs are often used by hackers who create PDFs that infect your computer with viruses, malware or worse.


So once you’ve made sure you’re using the latest Reader available, and know the PDF is from a trusted source, try opening the document. Better yet, go back to the source and download a fresh copy of the document. If you still get the error message, then it’s time to bring out the PDF repair tools. I should note that the free tools you can find with a casual internet search are often worth what you paid – they don’t work. Most of these tools deal with repairing the Adobe Reader software application, not the PDF document.

sysinfotools-pdf-recovery-software-imageOne good tool to use is SysInfoTools PDF Repair v3.0 ($59 US). There is a demo version available, but it only repairs every other page of a multi-page PDF – great for repairing a 1-page document! PDF Repair works to restore the PDF to its original format, which may have been corrupted by an incomplete download or other malfunction.

It cannot fix everything though, and your final recourse is to go back to the source – the person who created the PDF.

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