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PDF file cannot be opened by pc

Posted on 2014-02-07
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Last Modified: 2014-02-27
Have user that receives pdf's from a particular customer.  He cannot open pdf; he gets an error "There was an error opening this document.  The file is damaged and could not be repaired."  I cannot open the file either, I get the same error.  Apparently the user can open any other pdf with no issue.  Also, we can both open the pdf with no issue on our iPhones. Please help.
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Question by:071171
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Michael-Best earned 250 total points
ID: 39843271
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by:Dan Craciun
Dan Craciun earned 125 total points
ID: 39843278
Usually that error message means exactly that: the file is damaged.
If you can open the pdf on your Iphone, it means the program your customer uses to create pdfs does something not standard and the reader on the pcs chokes on it.

HTH,
Dan
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Author Comment

by:071171
ID: 39843285
Michael Best - I actually uninstalled upgraded Reader to its newest version which didn't resolve the problem.  Also, I got the same error from my and the owner got the same error from her pc, yet on iPhones it works fine.  I'm able to open all other pdf's and so can my customer.
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Expert Comment

by:Dan Craciun
ID: 39843293
Try an alternate reader. I suggest Foxit: http://www.foxitsoftware.com/Secure_PDF_Reader/
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
Joe Winograd, EE MVE earned 125 total points
ID: 39843299
How are you and your user trying to open it? However you're doing it, try another way. For example, if you're double-clicking on it in your email client, try instead to save the file and then open it with Windows Explorer (or whatever file manager you use). Since you can open it on an iPhone, it's likely that the file is fine, but the delivery mechanism is the culprit, e.g., the email client and/or the automation or the email web page in the browser, etc. Regards, Joe
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Author Comment

by:071171
ID: 39843331
I saved the file and opened it locally in Adobe Reader with same error.  However, if you click on it in Windows Explorer to view thumbnail, you can see it.  FoxIt allows it to open. Again , we can open all other pdf's b y double clicking them in Outlook as an attachment with no issue on multiple pc's.  Also, I found out the sender creates the pdf invoices in QuickBooks. i think something doesn't wash here with the sender's creation of the file.  FoxIt must be less rigid than Adobe with the standards it's looking for in order to open the pdf's.
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Assisted Solution

by:Michael-Best
Michael-Best earned 250 total points
ID: 39843333
The PDF has likely been created in an older version.
The new version of Reader or Acrobat forces PDFs to be more compliant to the PDF specification.
Try reverting to an earlier version of Reader or Acrobat to open the PDF.
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 39843334
Another thought is PDF version. If the document's PDF version is more recent, such as 1.7, and the PDF reader on your and your user's machines is an old version, while the PDF reader on your iPhones is a new version, this could explain the behavior you're seeing. It would also explain why other PDFs can be opened without a problem, as most folks send docs with older PDF versions, such as 1.5 and 1.6 (and even 1.3 and 1.4). Just a thought — check version numbers. Regards, Joe
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 39843341
Our messages just crossed. If you're able to see the thumbnail in WE and open it in Foxit Reader, then it's almost surely a PDF version issue — your Adobe Acrobat is too old to handle the PDF version being created by QuickBooks. Regards, Joe
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Expert Comment

by:captain
ID: 39846194
>> I actually uninstalled upgraded Reader to its newest version which didn't resolve the problem.

Not a Reader version issue, but a Reader issue. Intriguing...

I will get my thinking cap on. I take there is no chance to post the PDF here so we can analyze it.

If possible could you ask your customer to create a test PDF with meaningless data that also shows the symptoms? That way we could work on an actual solution to a file rather than wildly guessing.
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 39846403
> upgraded Reader to its newest version

Good catch, captain — I missed that!

So, Adobe Reader XI can't open it but Foxit Reader can.

@071171, if you don't mind, let's try a tie-breaker — PDF-XChange Editor (an improved, but still FREE, version of the excellent PDF-XChange Viewer):
http://www.tracker-software.com/product/pdf-xchange-editor

There's also a PRO (non-free) version, but you don't need it for tie-breaker purposes — just see if the free version can open the PDFs that Adobe Reader XI can't. Regards, Joe
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Author Closing Comment

by:071171
ID: 39892880
Weirdly, I was able to mess around and get the file to open in Reader.  It took some doing as the file initially wouldn't open. It did  involved secure signatures, so perhaps the signature import that was built into the original pdf caused issues.  I'm awarding the points to multiple people.
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 39893079
Thanks for posting your results...and thanks for the points. Regards, Joe
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