PDF cannot be printed – what to do?

Do you have a PDF file that cannot be printed out? We’ll show you how you can still put the content of the file on paper.

If the PDF won’t print – general solutions

If a PDF file cannot be printed, it is usually due to simple problems. We show you here:

  • Check that other PDF files print without problems to avoid a problem with your printer. You can also read our tips on installing printers.
  • Password-protected documents usually have restrictions and may not be editable or printable, even if you know the file’s password. Remove password protection from PDF file online with AnyPDF.
  • If you are lucky, you can still copy the text. Select it, copy it to the clipboard and paste it into any word processing program (e.g. Word or OpenOffice).
  • If you know the author of the document, you can ask them for an unprotected version of the PDF file.
  • Some users have problems printing PDF files with Adobe Reader. You can install an alternative program such as the PDF X-Change Viewer or the Foxit Reader and see if the document can be printed out with it.
  • If there are only a few pages that you want to print out, you can also easily take screenshots of the pages and then print them out as images.

Turn off protected mode (quick guide)

By default, Acrobat Reader displays documents in the so-called protected mode. Although this increases the security when handling PDF files, it can also prevent printing. To turn it off, do the following:

  1. Click Edit, then click Preferences.
  2. Click Security (Advanced).
  3. Remove the checkmark next to Enable Protected Mode on startup.
  4. Confirm the security question.
  5. Restart Acrobat Reader and Protected Mode is disabled.
  6. Now try to print the document again.
  7. Don’t forget to reactivate Protected Mode afterwards.

Convert PDF to Printable XPS Document (Quick Guide)

If you can open the print dialog in Adobe Reader, you can first save a locked document as an XPS document and then print it out. The XPS viewer is part of the .NET Framework 3.0 and is preinstalled from Windows Vista. For older Windows versions you must first download and install the .NET Framework 3.5.

  1. Click File, then click Print.
  2. Select Microsoft XPS Document Writer as your printer and save the document.
  3. Open the new document with the XPS viewer.
  4. Then print out the document.