1. No PDF reader installed
Before moving onto the following sections, make sure you have a functional PDF reader program installed. You can check this by clicking the start button type 'Adobe' to see if Adobe Reader or Acrobat is installed. If it doesn't, you can simply download Adobe Reader and install it.
Tip: Updating your PDF reader may resolve many basic issues. Always verify you have the latest version installed.
2. The Default program to open PDF files has changed.
- Click the Windows Start button | Settings.
- Open Default Apps
- Scroll to the bottom of the right column and click on Choose default apps by file type.
- Locate the file type you need to set a default app for (PDF for this example). To the right of this file type is the program that is currently set as default, or a box with a "+" sign in it that says Choose a default. Click on the program name or "+" box to assign a default app.
- When the Choose an app dialog box opens, click on the app you want to use (Adobe Acrobat Reader DC, in this example) as the default. If no app is shown, click on Look for an app in the Store. This will open the Windows Store and you can then search by file type for a program.
- Test opening one of these files to make sure it uses the app you selected.
3. PDF is not recognisable
In some situations, the file extension Microsoft Windows uses to identify the file as a PDF may be stripped away when it is sent through e-mail. If the file does not end in .pdf, Microsoft Windows will not know how to open this file. To determine if this is your issue, follow the steps below.
- Save the PDF to your computer's desktop.
- Open your PDF reader. You should be able to find it in the All Programs list in the Start Menu. If you have Windows Vista or later, you can press the Windows key and search for your reader there.
- Drag the saved PDF from the computer desktop to the reader. If the file is valid, it should open with no problems.
4. File is corrupt
If the example PDF opened when you clicked the image above, but the other suggestion did not help, it is likely the PDF has been corrupted. Re-download the PDF or, if it's an attachment, request that the e-mail be sent again. There are also some software utilities that can "fix" a corrupted PDF, though none we fully recommend at the time of this writing. These utilities may be found by doing a Google search.
Note: If the PDF is corrupt, the PDF Reader will still open a blank window. You may also see a warning or error message stating the PDF cannot be opened.