What To Do When A PDF Document Will Not Print Correctly

You have probably experienced a problem with printing a PDF file.  If not, keep the following hints in mind for when you do have a problem.

One possible source of the problem could be that the PDF file is corrupt.  Corruption can occur through a variety of methods including errors introduced by some ISPs when emailing several files at the same time.  They combine the files internally in their system and then separate them back out when the email leaves their forwarding system.  Fortunately, few ISPs or email services still do this.

Another source of corruption can be a corrupted disk sector or bad memory.  Intermittent failures such as these can sometimes cause a corrupted PDF file when it is created.  Try recreating the PDF from the original source and see if the problem remains.  If someone else sent you the file, have him or her forward the file again and see if it prints OK.

Corrupted fonts can also cause a problem printing PDF files.  Reloading the fonts used may correct the problem.

Your printer driver or firmware could also be a source of misprints or failure to print.  If you get an out of memory error, the PDF could be too large for the printer to process.  Try printing to a different printer.

There is a work around if the above methods fail to resolve your PDF printing problems.  With the document open, go to Print as usual.

When the print options page opens up, click on the Advanced button.  You will find a checkbox labeled as Print As Image.  Click that box.  You can also select a print resolution.  300 dpi is the default.

Click OK to close the Advanced window.  Click OK in the Print window to print the PDF file.
This should work on all but the most stubborn files.

Finally, you can try to repair the damaged PDF file.  There are several free tools available to repair some PDF files and there are PDF repair programs you can buy.  Use your favorite search engine and enter “PDF repair software” and try a few free programs before purchasing one.

8 thoughts on “What To Do When A PDF Document Will Not Print Correctly”

  1. robert

    It’s just a tease: it brings you right up to ‘print’ and immediately switches to a small panel which says there’s a file of the same name do you want to keep it or change. Which ever is chosen the panel disappears. press PRINT again and the whole thing repeats again. Not friendly.


  2. Wilbur

    Just followed this for a pdf that looks fine on screen but misses half the text on printing. Checked the box (under Advanced) to print as an image and it worked perfectly. Thanks


  3. James

    I had PDFs that I’d exported via VBA from a spreadsheet, which printed fine from the spreadsheet (when tested) and looked perfect on a print preview from Adobe, but various PDfs were printing with differing scaling issues (seemingly). Having spent a while searching and having no luck ‘printing as image’, based on AW’s comment above I tried unhecking the “CHOOSE PAPER SOURCE BY PDF PAGE SIZE” and now have everything printing as it should be – Thanks AW!


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