Can’t Print a PDF? Here’s How to Fix It

By: Marco
December 7, 2022

Portable Document Format (PDF) is the industry standard for sharing and printing documents. You can convert documents, forms, graphics, and webpages to PDF while maintaining the native file’s quality and interactivity. Plus, anyone can open a PDF – all they have to do is download the free software that enables them to do so. 

However, now and then, you may experience issues printing a PDF. It’s easy to blame your printer, but the issue is often found in the document itself. So that’s what you’ll need to fix. 

Common Problems Printing PDFs 

There are eight different PDF standards, so it shouldn’t be surprising that there are a number of issues that can contribute to problems. Sometimes tracing down the root cause of your printing issue can be difficult, but here are the most common issues and how to fix them.

Your PDF File has Corrupt Data 

If your document appears just fine on your screen, but you can’t print it, it may have corrupt data. If these steps work, that’s the problem with your file: 

  1. Select Print PDF
  2. Choose Advanced Settings
  3. Select Print as Image

Files can get corrupted when they’re sent through the mail. You might also try these steps: 

  1. Reopen or download your PDF
  2. Save it to your hard drive
  3. Try printing the new file

If you have Adobe PDF creator, you might also try to recreate your PDF from its native application. Just be sure to leave any symbols out of your file name when re-saving it. 

Your Printer Driver Is Outdated

Printer drivers get updated periodically to fix bugs and malfunctions or to release new features and capabilities. There is a chance that your printer driver is outdated, and that can cause PDF printing problems. 

Most modern computers have an update center that will notify you when you need to update your printer driver. You might also try searching for updated printer drivers on your printer manufacturer’s website.

Is Your PDF Printing Blank?

If your printer is only producing blank pages, you might have Adobe Acrobat installed as a plug-in. There’s an easy fix for this one: instead of selecting print from your web browser, print directly from your PDF reader app. 

Problems Printing Excel to PDF

If you have multiple worksheets within one file, you may find that some sheets will print as a PDF while others don’t. This might happen if some sheets have a different DPI setting.

Try this fix: 
  1. Open the original workbook in Excel
  2. Right-click on the tab for any individual sheet
  3. Click Select all Sheets
  4. Go to Page Setup
  5. Select Print Quality
  6. Enter the DPI setting you’d like for the entire file, and select OK
  7. Click File, then Print 
  8. Preview your document carefully
  9. If you like what you see, choose Print Entire Workbook

Your PDF Printing Presets Are Incorrect

If your printer is printing your PDF, but the results aren’t what you see on your screen, your PDF may have been saved incorrectly. Acrobat has standards and presets available to serve a wide variety of uses. 

If you want to achieve high-quality, professional results, try this approach:

  1. Save your file as a PDF/X
  2. You’ll be prompted to select a default preset or create your own
  3. Read more about the default presets available, and either select the best one. If you are familiar with professional printing, you can also create a new custom preset 

Acrobat Is Frozen or Outdated

Acrobat is updated frequently. So if your software is frozen or not working correctly, try this fix: 

  1. Restart your computer 
  2. Delete excess temporary files
  3. Check for updates to Adobe — the latest version will always produce the best results

Images, Fonts, or Layers from Graphic Apps Are Malfunctioning

PDFs allow users without native applications, such as PhotoShop and Adobe Indesign, to view, share, and print. But sometimes when the original file is converted to a PDF, individual components may not print correctly. 

if possible, check with your document originator, or you might try some of Adobe’s advanced printing tips.

Need More Printing Help?

If you are still having PDF printing problems, it is time to contact your print provider. There may be an issue with your printing device, your network connectivity, or something entirely unpredictable; your print provider is best suited to handle printing issues. 

However, if you are running into frequent printing problems related to device malfunctions, poor quality or productivity, or interrupted workflows — or you don’t already have a print provider — contact Marco for a free print technology assessment. Our experts can uncover hidden costs and cybersecurity risks and address frustrating printer issues for good. 

Get a Print Technology Assessment

Topics: Copiers & Printers