Outlook won’t open PDF attachments [COMPLETE FIX]

by Ivan Jenic
Ivan Jenic
Ivan Jenic
Troubleshooting Expert
Passionate about all elements related to Windows and combined with his innate curiosity, Ivan has delved deep into understanding this operating system, with a specialization in drivers and... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • There are various reasons why Outlook won’t open a PDF file, and in this guide, we’re going to show you how to fix that.
  • The simplest solution would be to download and use a reliable third-party PDF viewer.
  • Among other solutions, you can try restarting Outlook or scanning the PDF file for malware.
  • In case Outlook won't open PDF attachments, you can always try disabling your antivirus software and check if that helps.
Outlook won’t open PDF attachments

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Microsoft Outlook is one of the top relevant desktop email clients which can be synced even with custom webmail.

However, some Windows users reported that Microsoft Outlook won’t open PDF attachments in their emails; this seems to be a general problem.

Meanwhile, Windows Report has compiled the applicable solutions to this menacing problem.

Table of contents:

  1. Use a PDF reader
  2. Scan the PDF
  3. Restart Microsoft Outlook
  4. Run Windows Update
  5. Request for a resend
  6. Use the right password
  7. Temporarily disable the antivirus protection

How can I fix PDF attachment issues in Outlook?

1. Use a PDF reader

You may be unable to open a PDF file in Microsoft Outlook directly if you do not have PDF reader software installed on your machine.

Let’s make sure you use the best PDF reader software available on the market. Check if Adobe Reader isn’t missing.

Having the latest version is also a good idea, so go ahead and download it now, install it and then try opening the PDF attachments again.

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2. Scan the PDF

  1. Go to Start and type Windows Defender and then hit Enter
  2. Select custom scan option and select the folder where the PDF file is located.
  3. Now, click on scan to proceed.

If Outlook won’t open a PDF file, you need to scan the PDF file so as to ascertain whether it is safe for your Windows PC.

Some PDF files sent to email contains viruses, malware, or even spyware that poise unwanted threats on your system, so be sure to scan it.

Alternatively, you can right-click on the PDF file and select scan with ….(third-party antivirus) to scan the PDF file.

3. Restart Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft Outlook may be overwhelmed at the time you wanted to open the file; hence, you may consider restarting Outlook and trying again.

In addition, you should ensure you check your Internet status so as to fully download the PDF attachments and view them in the previewer menu.

This is a little workaround, but it can come in handy if Outlook won’t open PDF attachments.

4. Run Windows Update

  1. Go to Start, type Windows Update and hit the Enter key.
  2. In the Windows Update windows, click on the Check for updates button.

Microsoft constantly releases frequent patches containing fixes and drivers for your Windows PC. Hence, make sure that you’re running the latest OS version on your computer.

This would keep your PC bug-free and it might help you if Outlook won’t open a PDF file.

5. Request for a resend

Sometimes, the PDF file may have been corrupted if it was transferred using a USB. In addition, the program used to create the PDF file did not create the PDF file perfectly.

However, you may have to ask the sender to resend the PDF file to you or request it in another format.

7. Use the right password

Some PDF files are encrypted using a password which secures the PDF from unwanted access. For example, bank statements, payment receipts, sensitive files, etc.

In order to open this set of files, you need to use the right password which is confidential and can only be known by the appropriate individual.

If your PDF file is password-encrypted, you may need to ask for the password so as to open the PDF file.

Solution 7: Temporarily disable the antivirus protection

  1. Launch your antivirus program and disable the antivirus protection for a few minutes.
  2. Now, launch Microsoft Outlook and access the PDF attachments.

Sometimes, antivirus programs can delete or quarantine certain files, patches, or DLLs associated with programs.

However, the antivirus scanning engines might misinterpret files that can be trusted with potentially harmful packages.

If Outlook won’t open PDF attachments, disabling your antivirus might be a helpful workaround.

Note: after, you open the PDF attachments; ensure you enable the antivirus protection afterward.

Do share with us your experience in solving the Outlook won’t open PDF attachments problem. Feel free to comment below in the comment section and we would get back to you.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • If you can’t open a PDF from Microsoft Outlook, you can download it on your hard drive and open it from there. That’s only a workaround. To fix the problem, follow our expert guide.

  • Open Outlook > Tools > Options, click the Mail Delivery tab and under mail Delivery, make sure that the checkbox Don’t download message larger than X KB is not checked.

  • One of the reasons why you can’t open PDF files could be because Acrobat Reader software might not be functioning properly.  Try repairing Adobe Acrobat.

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