What To Do If You Cannot Read A PDF

We apologize for any inconvenience that you are experiencing. Please try the following solutions that we hope will help you to resolve the issue.

First, please check to see if the PDF opened in another browser window.

There is a range of possible reasons for problems with reading PDFs, including various security changes made by software vendors such as Microsoft, different versions of operating systems and web browsers, and problems with the installation of Adobe Reader.

Solution 1 – Upgrade Adobe Reader

An Adobe Acrobat product (such as Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader) may be unable to display a PDF file inside a compatible Web browser window if

  • the Acrobat product can't read the PDF file
  • the Web browser isn't configured correctly with the Adobe PDF Browser plug-in
  • the Web server on which the PDF file is stored can't serve the PDF file.

If you are having trouble opening a PDF document, one of the first things to try is updating your Adobe Reader to the latest version. Or, you may need to download and install the free Adobe Reader on your computer.

Example: “bad encrypt dictionary” message

If the downloaded PDF was saved with a more current version of Reader than the one you have installed, Reader may not understand the encryption method used. Try updating your Reader by opening the Reader, clicking Help > Check for updates now…
If that doesn’t work, you could try visiting the Adobe User-to-User Forums for free, non-guaranteed support.

Solution 2 – Possible File Corruption

PDF files that show up as blank or corrupt, or that freeze your browser, were likely damaged during the download process. In order to fix this, clear your browser's cache, close the browser and download the file again or download from another place. If you do not do clear the browser cache, any additional attempts to open the PDF may cause your browser to view the cached (damaged) version of the PDF instead of causing it to download it again from the web server.

Solution 3 – Configure our Browser to Open the PDF in Reader

Configure Acrobat Reader to NOT open PDF files in browser. Open Acrobat Reader, select Edit > Preferences. In the window that opens, on the left menu, click on the link named “Internet.” Uncheck the option that says “Display PDF in Browser”. Click OK. Close Acrobat Reader (if necessary). Return to your browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.) and clear your temporary internet files again. Refresh the page, and click on the link to the PDF file. Follow any options to allow the PDF file to display in Acrobat Reader instead of your browser.

Solution 4 – Download the File First

Try saving the file instead of opening it directly.

  • Left-click on the link to the PDF file (This may appear under Attachment.)
  • A dialog box should appear. Choose the option to save the file.
  • Choose a location for the file on your hard disk, such as your Desktop, and save it.
  • Wait for the download to finish.
  • Go to the location that you chose (above) and open the file.

Solution 5 – Upgrade to Your Browser's Latest Version

(Windows only): Upgrade Internet Explorer. Upgrade to Internet Explorer 11 or later, which corrects display issues of PDF files sent dynamically using POST or ASP (Active Server Page) methods.

Solution 6 – Test With Another PDF Document

Try to open a local copy of another PDF file from your local hard drive:

  1. In Internet Explorer, right-click the link to the PDF file, and then choose Save Target As from the pop-up menu (Windows), or click and hold the link to the PDF file and choose Download Link to Disk from the pop-up menu (Mac OS).
  2. Specify a name and location for the PDF file, and then click Save.
  3. Open the Acrobat product, choose File > Open, and try to open the PDF file that you saved in step 2:
    • If the PDF file opens, complete Solution 7.
    • If the Acrobat product displays a blank screen or returns an error when you try to open the PDF file, clear your temporary internet files and refresh your browser window, and attempt again.

Solution 7 – Enable Active X Control

(Windows only): Enable Adobe ActiveX Control.
In Internet Explorer, enable the Acrobat ActiveX Control in the security options:

Note: This procedure changes Internet Explorer's security options for all ActiveX Controls. If you prefer to use stricter security, contact your Network Administrator or Microsoft for information about using the Administrator Approved setting in Internet Explorer's Security panel.

To enable the ActiveX Control:

  • Close Internet Explorer and the Acrobat product.
  • Choose Start > Settings > Control Panel, and then double-click Internet (or Internet Options).
  • Click the Security tab in the Internet Properties dialog box.
  • Choose the appropriate zone for the location hosting the PDF file (for example, Internet or Local Intranet).
  • Click the Custom security level.
  • In the Security Settings dialog box, select Enable under Run ActiveX Controls and plug-ins, and then click OK.
  • Click OK in the Internet Properties dialog box.

Solution 8 – Use a Different Browser on the Mac

(Mac only) If you are using the Safari web browser, download and install an alternative web browser such as Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome (lately Chrome has worked better). Try downloading the PDF file again, using the alternative web browser.

Finally, if you are still having problems downloading your ePearls, please , giving as much detail as possible, including the type of computer you use, operating system, type of browser exact text of any error messages, and we will try to help.

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