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Resolve Error: Damaged PDF File Cannot Open

Media Team | Modified: May 18th, 2017 | Error|

“Damaged PDF File Cannot Open” Error-Resolved

Portable Document Format files abbreviated as PDF files are the most commonly used documents for sharing documents through web. Other factors, which make it a preferred choice over other formats, are:

  • Security
  • Ease of creation
  • Platform independent
  • Can be accessed in any application.

PDF file is Damaged and Could not be Opened Error

Although PDF files tend to be more preferable as compared to other files but there are certain errors that are encountered while working with PDF files. One of the most common errors is: Damaged PDF File Cannot Open.

This error occurs in PDF file due to three main reasons:

  • Damage to PDF file
  • Damage in the Acrobat reader
  • Outdated version of Adobe Reader or PDF file.

The dominant reason is the damaged PDF file. If PDF file is damaged due to some reason, it will not open and the error will be displayed as PDF file damaged cannot open.
Adobe Acrobat software open PDF file if the %PDF-Header starts anywhere between initial 1024 bytes of PDF file. It did not perform any checks on the data stored in bytes before %PDF Header. With the launch of 10.1.5 and 11.0.01 update versions of Adobe Acrobat the security of PDF files have increased. It does not allow opening of PDF files, which do not start with correct %PDF Header. In addition, if PDF files have any issue in the PDF header then errors like Damaged PDF File Cannot Open or PDF file cannot open error will be shown.

Other Reasons Leading To PDF File Damaged Cannot Open Error

  • Password protection (user and owner level protection) may block PDF file from opening.
  • Improper decoding of PDF Files if sent as an attachment in a mail.
  • The file was created in a program other than Adobe Acrobat.
  • Virus infected systems may also cause damage to PDF files.

Solution to Resolve PDF error

One of the easiest solutions for error- Cannot open PDF file Damaged or Corrupted is by permanently deleting PDF file and then downloading it again. Permanent deletion can be done by pressing Shift + Delete. This can prove to be helpful in case the damage in PDF file is due to the error in decoding of PDF file when it was sent with an email. If the PDF file opens without any issue, then “PDF file damaged cannot open” error was due to improper downloading of PDF file.

In case deleting and downloading PDF file does not prove to be helpful, then uninstall Adobe Reader from your system and then install it again. You can do so by performing the following procedure:
i. Click on Start and select Control panel.
ii. Search for Adobe Acrobat Reader and right click on it.
iii. Select Uninstall option. Allow it to uninstall completely.
iv. Reboot your system by restarting it.
v. Once the system is started, reinstall Adobe Acrobat Reader from the official website of Adobe.
vi. Download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.
vii. Select PDF file that you downloaded again and open it with the reinstalled Adobe Reader.
The PDF file should now open without any issue.

Note: This method is quite time- consuming.

Open Damaged PDF File Via Expert Solution

In case, the PDF file does not open even after performing the above mentioned procedure, then it is wise to employ a third part application for doing the same. PDF Recovery software is one of the best-suited tools, which can serve as reliable solution For Error: Damaged PDF File Cannot Open to repair damaged PDF. The tool affix the corrupted PDF files and creates a new PDF file to access the recovered data. The major features, which the software serves, are:

  • No changes in original formatting of PDF file.
  • Supports error based recovery.
  • Both Text and Image supported.
  • Compatibility with all versions of PDF files.


As they say prevention is better than cure, one of the best solutions is to avoid the damage itself. If your PDF files usually get damaged you should consider revising the anti-virus software installed in your system to keep your system virus free. In addition, downloading PDF files from trusted resources ensure that they will not create any issues while opening, there will be less chances of damage of these PDF files, and getting an error of Cannot Open PDF File Damaged or Corrupted.

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