Author: Geek Computer
Thursday, January 6, 2022

Why can't I open pdf attachments in my email?

Category: Windows Software

Do you experience issues when you are about to open your PDF attachment? It's been a significant problem among us, I included. So I decided to research why this problem occurs. In my research, I am writing this article to aid you in handling PDF attachment opening issues.

There are several reasons why you are unable to open your PDF attachments, such as;

  • An outdated Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • PDF files with virus
  • Damaged PDF files
  • Unsupported file type
  • PDF files created using non-Adobe programs.

These are a few significant reasons why it gets impossible to open your PDF files. In this article, you'll find out more about the same.

After finding out why you cannot open a PDF file, do you know how to fix the issues? Do you also experience problems with your outlook account in opening PDF files? Worry no more; this article will guide you. Read on to get to know how to solve your PDF issues.

Why can't I open pdf attachments in my email?

You open a PDF file in an email by double-clicking on its icon: it is supposed to open in a web browser or viewer like Adobe Acrobat Reader; if it doesn't open, there must be an issue.

Why can't I open pdf attachments in my email?

Reasons you cannot open a PDF file.

There are various reasons which make it possible for you not to be able to open a PDF attachment, such as; 

1. Outdated Adobe Acrobat Reader

An outdated Adobe will make it possible not to open a PDF attachment. In addition, Adobe updates are released continuously; make sure to check if your Adobe reader needs an update.

2. Damaged PDF files

You may receive a damaged file-this occurs during the transmission of the email where it is not decoded correctly or during the creation of the document.

3. PDF files with a virus

The computer virus software or inbuilt Windows Defender can stop you from accessing a file if a virus is detected.

4. Unsupported file type

It is one of the most common reasons you can't open a PDF file. At times you may have erroneously put some files to have a default application set to Adobe Reader.

5. Damaged Adobe Reader

The damage can be caused by updating the wrong update for your Windows, interrupted installation process, or the PC's file system corruption-it occurs because of improper power shutdown, hardware malfunction, or software failure.

6. PDF files created using non-Adobe programs

Various programs make PDFs; unfortunately, some don't follow the proper standards, making it impossible for you to open a PDF file.

Techniques to fix the PDF error

Below are different methods you can use to fix the PDF not opening error;

1. Check and install Adobe Acrobat Reader

You first need to check whether you have an Adobe Acrobat Reader installed: you do this by attempting to open a PDF file that already exists on your PC. For example, in Windows Explorer, find the .pdf file, right-click on it, and tap Open.

Why can't I open pdf attachments in my email?

If the file is still not opening, then search for Adobe file in windows explorer; if it doesn't appear in the search, you'll have to download it. Ensure you have downloaded the latest compatible version with your operating system.

Download Adobe Acrobat Reader in the following steps; click help and go down to view updates, tap check for updates and hold on for the application to link to the Acrobat server. The update will be downloaded and installed updated after a few minutes. Then, restart Acrobat and see if you are now able to open your PDF.

2. Set Adobe as the default PDF reader

The problem could be you haven't linked Adobe with .pdf files: it should be your default program for opening PDF files. Right-click the file in your email, choose "Save as," and save to your hard drive. s
Search for the file in windows explorer, right-click and select Open.

Why can't I open pdf attachments in my email?

Search for Adobe in the pop files and double tap on it.

Why can't I open pdf attachments in my email?

There's an option to remember the selection; check it-this will automatically link the .pdf files with Adobe.

Why can't I open pdf attachments in my email?

3. Disable the protected Adobe mode

Some Adobe Acrobat Reader like Version XI have a protected mode hence running files in a sandbox. The feature makes sure that malicious code that can be part of the PDF doesn't infect the windows registry or the system directories.

You can tell whether the file is protected by checking for a yellow ribbon on top of the file. In protected mode, it will be impossible to open the file. To check if your file is protected, go to file, select properties, then advanced, and lastly, protected mode.

To disable the protected mode, follow these steps. First, choose Edit and then preferences, select Security (Enhanced) plus the sandbox protections section at the category list, and disable the Protected Mode.

Why can't I open pdf attachments in my email?

A pop window will appear, click yes, OK, and restart Acrobat.

Why can't I open pdf attachments in my email?

4. Install a newer version of Adobe Acrobat Reader

Reinstall Adobe Acrobat Reader despite having installed it, and the issue could be because you are using an old version of it. An example, version 5 of Adobe can't open a file saved in version 9. So make sure the next version you will download will be corresponding to the operating system.

5. Check if the PDF attachment is damaged

It is not possible to open damaged files. The best solution is to get the sender to resend the file again: it may have gotten damaged during the email send-over. You can also use a legit PDF file recovery tool like Wondershare Repairit. Fix your damaged files in the following steps.

Download Wondershare Repairit from the website, install and launch it using the desktop icon. After this, click File Repair on the dashboard. You can find and add files you'd love to repair by clicking on the Add. Then, restore the files by clicking repair. Once the process is done, click OK. 

Check if the files have been repaired, click to save them, and click OK. A pop-up dialogue box will let you know the files have been saved up.

How do I get Outlook to open PDF attachments?

Why can't I open pdf attachments in my email?

Outlook is one of the most used desktop emails, and it can also be synced with custom webmail. In addition, it has a feature that allows a preview of a file before opening. This excellent feature may allow you to preview a file but still fail to open it.

Reasons you cannot open PDF attachments in Outlook.

There are several reasons why you are not able to open PDF attachments in Outlook, and the below are major ones;

  1. A disabled previewer of a PDF attachment in Outlook.
  2. Lack of Adobe Acrobat Reader in your system or using an outdated one.
  3. Corrupted files
  4. Password-protected files.

Fixes to open PDF attachments in Outlook

There are a few techniques you can use to open your PDF file in Outlook; some are;

  • Enable previewer option

To view a PDF attachment-the previewer should be enabled. At times, it can be disabled by default, so check whether the previewer is enabled or not before attempting any other technique before attempting any different method.

Here is how you check; First, open Microsoft Outlook and tap on the File option. Next, click on the option, select the trust centre, and open its settings. And lastly, go to the Attachment Handling to check if the PDF file is blocked or not; if blocked, uncheck it.

Why can't I open pdf attachments in my email?

  • Update Adobe Acrobat Reader

If an update is available and you haven't updated yours yet, you might come along with an error in Outlook. If you have not come across the issue in your Outlook before, check the version of Adobe you are using.

  • Password protection

Sometimes you may get a sensitive attachment, such as medical reports, bills, legal histories, bank statements, invoices, etc. A password usually protects the file from getting into the wrong hands to keep the file safe.
This protection makes it hard for Outlook to preview a PDF file, let alone open it. You have to download the file, put in the password, and open it. There are also chances that you can remove a password from a PDF file.

  • Ask for a resend

The file could sometimes be corrupted if it was transferred via a USB or the PDF file was not created correctly. In such a case, you'll need to request the sender to resend it again or ask for it in another format.

  • Update your Windows

Microsoft releases updates frequently for your windows computer. Therefore, you need to keep your laptop in check by checking if updates are available and updating them; this will keep your computer bug-free and help solve your outlook PDF issue.

Click Start, type windows update, and click enter to update your windows. Tap on check for updates at the windows updates windows. 

Why can't I open pdf attachments in my email?

  • Restart Outlook

Outlook could have been overworked when you wanted to open the attachment; therefore, restarting it and trying again would be a good idea.

  • Firewall or Antivirus settings

Antivirus and firewall may be another reason for the error to occur. T rd-party software may tamper with the attachments in the email. Check the settings to ascertain that there is no blockage of a particular file format for all attachments. If there is no antivirus installed on the PC, look at the Windows default defender settings.

  • Save the attachment

After trying the above techniques and still being unable to fix the issue, you can opt to download the file on your PC and open it via Adobe or any other app of your choice. Downloading the file will be a good idea, although you can only save up one attachment at a time as Outlook does not download multiple files simultaneously.

Why can't I open pdf attachments in my email?


PDF attachments not opening in an email is a common problem. Now you know what causes the issue and possible fixtures, same as how to handle outlook PDF issues. Ensure you are using the correct Adobe Acrobat Reader update, update your system, and majorly your PDF issues will be solved. As discussed in the article, if those techniques don't solve the issue, you can try others.

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