FIX: PDF files not printing correctly in Windows 10

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
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  • The PDF format is one of the most popular document formats in use today.
  • Sometimes, printing PDFs fails, so here we're guiding you on how to overcome such an error.
  • If you need other helpful articles, don't hesitate to visit our Windows 10 Fix page.
  • It's possible that we've got a fix for everything software-related. See our Troubleshooting Hub.
fix pdf files can't print

PDF is one of the most popular file formats for documents due to its features. Unfortunately, some users reported that PDF files aren’t printing properly on Windows 10, so let’s see how to fix this problem.


What do I do if PDF files are not printing properly?

  1. Check if PDF file is corrupted
  2. Reload the fonts
  3. Keep your printer drivers up to date
  4. Print PDF as an image
  5. Try to print another document
  6. Create a copy of the PDF file
  7. Restart your PC
  8. Make sure that your PDF tool is up to date
  9. Force printer to use TrueType fonts
  10. Install the missing fonts
  11. Embed the fonts in PDF files
  12. Use PDF/X standard
  13. Make sure that No Color option isn’t selected
  14. Make sure that visibility isn’t set to Screen
  15. Turn on Display PDF in browser option
  16. Downgrade your PDF tool
  17. Use Export or Save as PDF feature
  18. Disable Rely on system font only, don’t use document fonts option

QUICK TIP: Adobe Acrobat Reader is the most popular PDF viewer software in the world. If this issue occurs when you’re trying to print PDF files using Adobe Reader, make sure you’re using the latest version of the tool.

Sometimes, running outdated software may cause all kinds of issues and errors. Simply installing the latest Adobe Reader version will save you the headaches of going through complicated troubleshooting steps.

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1. Check if PDF file is corrupted

Check if PDF file is corrupted

  1. Open the problematic PDF file in the PDF editor.
  2. Choose File > Print and choose the option to save the file as PDF.
  3. Open the new PDF file and try to print it again.

One of the most common causes of printing problems with PDF files is the corruption of the PDF file. PDF files can become corrupted during the file transfer process, and if that’s the case, you need to download the file again.

If the PDF file is stored on your PC, it can be corrupted due to a bad disk sector on your hard drive. To fix this problem, be sure to recreate the PDF file from the original source and save it to a different location.


2. Reload the fonts

Sometimes PDF files aren’t printed properly if there’s a problem with fonts. If you are the creator of the PDF document, try reloading fonts and check if that fixes the problem with printing.


3. Keep your printer drivers up to date

  1. Press Windows Key + X to open Win + X menu and choose Device Manager from the list.
    pdf-files-not-printing-properly-device-1
  2. When Device Manager opens, look for your printer.
    • If you don’t see it in Device Manager, go to View tab and check Show hidden devices option.
      pdf-files-not-printing-properly-device-2
  3. Locate your printer, right-click it and choose Uninstall.
    pdf-files-not-printing-properly-device-3
  4. In the next window, check Delete the driver software for this device and click OK.
    pdf-files-not-printing-properly-device-4

Your printer relies heavily on drivers in order to work properly, but sometimes driver issues can occur. If that’s the case, you should install the latest drivers for your printer. To do that, simply visit your printer manufacturer’s website and download the latest drivers for your model.

It is very important to choose the right driver versions from the manufacturer’s website. In case you choose and install the wrong one, this will not only be an issue for the GPU but may harm all your system.

This is why recommend a dedicated third-party tool to automatically download all the outdated drivers on your PC. DriverFix would be the best choice in this case.

update outdated drivers

With this tool, you make sure that your PC is up-to-date. The software will safely scan your PC and inform you of any outdated, damaged, or missing device drivers.

Some users are also suggesting to remove your old printer drivers from your PC altogether before installing new ones.

    1. Click on the button below to download the tool.
    2. Install and launch the tool.
    3. Scan for outdated and missing device drivers.
    4. Click the Update Your Drivers Now button when the scan is completed.
    5. Follow on-screen prompts to install each driver.
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4. Print PDF as an image

Print PDF as an image

If your PDF files aren’t printed properly, there might be an issue with rendering PDF files. To fix this problem, you need to check the Print As Image option. This option is available from the Print window so be sure to check it.

If you can’t find this option, be sure to look for it in the Advanced menu. By using this option your PDF file will be converted into an image before printing and all problems with rendering will be avoided.


5. Try to print another document

Try to print another document

Sometimes these problems can be caused by your printer, and if that’s the case, you should check if your printer is working properly. To do that, try to print any other PDF document.

If the issue persists, try printing another type of file. This will help you determine if the problem is caused only by PDF files. If you can, you can also try using a different printer and check if that solves the problem.


6. Create a copy of the PDF file

According to users, you might be able to fix this problem simply by creating a copy of the PDF file. To do that, open your PDF editor and choose File, then Save as.

Enter the new name for the PDF file but be sure not to use any special characters or symbols. After creating a copy of the PDF file, try to print the new file and check if the same problem appears.


7. Restart your PC

how to fix pdf printing error

Few users suggested that you might be able to fix this problem simply by restarting your computer. This problem can be caused by your cache, but it should be removed when you restart your PC. After restarting your PC, check if the issue is resolved.


8. Make sure that your PDF editor is up to date

make sure your PDF tool is up to date

Issues with printing can occur if your PDF tool is outdated, so be sure to download and install the latest version. Older versions might have some issues regarding printing, and in order to ensure that everything is working, be sure to update your PDF tool to the latest version.

After updating the tool, try to print the PDF file again.


9. Force printer to use TrueType fonts

Force printer to use TrueType fonts

Users reported that text isn’t being printer while printing a PDF file, and instead of letters users are getting empty boxes.

According to users, this issue is caused by TrueType fonts. Sometimes printers can use their own fonts instead of TrueType fonts and that can cause this error to appear.

To fix this issue you need to force the printer to download TrueType fonts for printing. To do that, make sure to change TrueType font option to Download as Softfont. Save changes and try to print again.


10. Install the missing fonts

Install the missing fonts

If text is missing when printing a PDF file, that can be caused by missing fonts on your PC. When creating a PDF file users can embed custom fonts in the PDF which ensures that the PDF file will look the same on any PC.

By embedding fonts into the PDF file the file will be larger in size, and that’s not what many users want. In order to reduce the size of a PDF file, users often don’t embed custom fonts into PDF documents which can create these types of problems.

To fix this problem, you’ll need to find the fonts that are used by the PDF file and install them on your PC in order to print the PDF file properly.


11. Embed the fonts in PDF files

  1. When you’re printing the document as a PDF, click the Printer Properties button.Embed the fonts in PDF files
  2. Now click on Adobe PDF Settings tab.
  3. Click the Edit button next to the Default Settings dropdown menu.
  4. Click on Fonts and check the Embed all fonts option.

If you created the problematic PDF file, you should be able to fix the problem with missing text simply by recreating the file and embedding the missing fonts.

After doing that, custom fonts will be embedded in a PDF file and the issue should be resolved. Keep in mind that embedding fonts will make the PDF file larger in size.


12. Use PDF/X standard

use pdf/x standard to fix pdf printing error

You can avoid most of the printing problems with PDF files simply by using the PDF/X standard. Any document can easily be converted to PDF/X standard by using Adobe Acrobat or a third-party application.

The PDF/X standard requires that all fonts are embedded in the PDF documents. In addition, bounding boxes have to be specified. You also need to define the color and disable all transparency for this standard.

By using this standard you’ll ensure that your PDF file looks the same on your device and on paper. Keep in mind that the PDF file will be larger in size since you’re embedding fonts to it.


13. Make sure that No Color option isn’t selected

Make sure that No Color option isn’t selected

  1. Select field Properties.
  2. Navigate to Appearance.
  3. Now set Border Color to any color that you want.
  4. Set Fill Color to white.

Users reported that certain fields are visible on their PC when viewing the document, but the same fields are missing after the document is printed. This is a strange problem, but it seems that this issue is caused by the No Color option.

After setting Fill and Border colors to anything other than No color, the issue should be completely resolved.


14. Make sure that visibility isn’t set to Screen

If certain elements aren’t displayed when you print a PDF document, you need to check the visibility settings for that document. Few users reported that certain elements aren’t visible because their visibility was set to Screen.

By using the Screen option your elements will be visible only on your screen but not when you print the document. After changing the visibility to something other than Screen, the issue should be resolved.


15. Turn on Display PDF in browser option

  1. Open the file in Acrobat Reader and go to Edit > Preferences.
  2. Select the Internet category.Turn on Display PDF in browser option
  3. Locate Display PDF in browser option and check it.
  4. Save changes and try to print the document from the browser again.

According to users, sometimes PDF documents aren’t printed properly from the browser, and in order to fix that issue, you need to change few settings in Acrobat Reader.


16. Downgrade your PDF tool

downgrade the pdf tool

If your PDF documents aren’t printed properly, you might want to consider downgrading your PDF tool. Newer versions often introduce new features, but certain bugs can be present and cause printing problems.

One suggested workaround is to downgrade your PDF tool to the older version until and use the older version until the issue is resolved. This might not be the most efficient solution, but it should allow you to print your documents without any problems.


17. Use Export or Save as PDF feature

Many users reported that their PDF files aren’t printed properly while using Print as PDF option. To fix this problem, you are advised to use Export or Save as PDF feature. After using these features you should be able to print PDF documents without any problems.


18. Disable Rely on system font only, don’t use document fonts option

  1. Open Settings and go to Devices.
  2. Select Printers & Scanners.
  3. Select Adobe PDF, right-click and choose Printer preferences.adobe pdf printer properties
  4. Uncheck Rely on system font only, don’t use document fonts option.

As you know, you can embed fonts to PDF documents in order to avoid problems with viewing and printing, but some PCs don’t allow custom fonts to be displayed, and that can cause PDF documents to be improperly printed.


PDF documents are both portable and extremely useful, but sometimes issues with printing can occur. To fix problems with PDF files and printing, be sure to use some of our solutions.

FAQ: Learn more about printing PDF files

  • Why do PDF files not print correctly?

If your PDF file displays correctly but prints on a paper printer incorrectly, then you are most likely dealing with a driver issue or a problem with your PDF viewer. As such consider opting for an alternative PDF viewer or editor.

  • Can I use a browser as a PDF reader?

Yes, most popular browsers can also read and open PDF files. One good example is that of Microsoft Edge.

  • How do I enable the Print option on a PDF?

Open the PDF file, then, in the File menu select Print. Choose Adobe PDF as the printer in the Print dialog box. Then click Print and type a name for your file, and click Save.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2018 and was revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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