Ways to fix “Format Error: not a PDF or corrupted”

Manisha Rawat
Manisha Rawat | Updated On - 16 Mar 2021 |

Read time 8 min

“While trying to open a PDF file in Acrobat Reader, it is showing me with the error stating ‘Format Error: not a PDF or corrupted.’ I am not certain why it is happening all of a sudden, but I am quite afraid of losing my precious file. Someone please help me with this and suggest me a way to get my file back healthy and without error.”

In the above mentioned query, the user is facing a PDF file error. As we know that PDF is the main source of document transfer in organisations these days, it holds a certain importance. Hence, it becomes very important to fix any type of error showing up and also to save the file from any type of loss.

Reasons of facing “Format Error: not a PDF or corrupted

There can be many reasons why you are facing the “Format Error: not a PDF or corrupted.” By reading the message, it can be understood that either the PDF file is not genuine or is corrupted or damaged by any means.

  • Damaged or broken PDF file due to incomplete download or transfer.
  • Damaged Adobe Reader.
  • Outdated version of Adobe PDF Reader.
  • Virus attack.
  • Network or browser issues
  • Abrupt application/system shutdown
  • Improper system, file, or program handling practices by user.
  • Corruption in the PDF file.

All of the above-mentioned reasons can lead to this error, and most of them are quite avoidable. But, corruption is the worst and the most dangerous of all and can be a serious threat to your file.

As primary solutions, you can check the internet connection, browser compatibility, perform system reboot and antivirus scan as trials to fix the issue.

Fixes for “Format Error: not a PDF or corrupted”

As we promised, we are going to list the most reliable and secure ways to fix this error. There are not many trusted ways with which you can fix this error, hence we are going to mention some tricks and solutions.

  • Get the file again
  • If you received the PDF file which is showing the error, in an email, then there are chances that something went wrong while decoding it. So, it is suggested that you delete that file permanently from your system and download it again. Similarly, if you have downloaded or transferred that PDF file from any other source, then there are chances that the process was incomplete that left the file broken. So, in that case too, it is suggested that you delete the file permanently and download it again.

  • Repair Adobe Reader
  • This error may also indicate that the program you are using to open the PDF file, i.e., Adobe Reader is damaged. So, in this case, it is recommended to fix the Adobe reader first and then try to open the file again. To repair the program, follow the steps mentioned below:

  1. In Windows, click on the Start button and look for the Control Panel and open it.
    click on the Start button
  2. There, click on the Programs and Features.
    click on the Programs and Features
  3. In the Uninstall or change a program section, go to the Adobe Acrobat Reader and make a right click. Now select Change as the option to move forward.
    Change as the option
  4. Finally, click on the Repair Program Installation option to fix it.
    click on the repair
  5. Once the repair process is done, restart the system and try to open the file again.

This may surely fix the issue if it was arising due to the damaged Adobe Reader.

  • Reinstall Adobe Acrobat Reader Again
  • It may also happen that the version of the Adobe Reader is outdated. In this case, it is suggested to uninstall the program and install the latest version of it. To do this, follow the below-mentioned steps:

  1. Start with opening the Control Panel on your system.
    opening the Control Panel
  2. Now, click on the Programs and Features option.
    click on the Programs and Features
  3. In the Uninstall or change a program section look for the Adobe Acrobat Reader, make a right click and select Uninstall.
  4. Once the uninstalling process is done, restart the system.
  5. Once the system is started again, install the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader. You can download it from the Adobe website.

Once you have performed all of the steps properly, try opening the file again and see if you still encounter the error.

  • Fix the error with Kernel for PDF Repair
  • Your Answer to How to Restore Entire Corrupt PDF File is PDF File Repair Software, the final way to fix this error is by repairing the PDF file with Kernel for PDF Repair. Doing so will fix the error. This tool is so powerful that it has no limitation of file number and size and also fixes the severe types of corruption in the file. In just a few simple steps, your corrupt PDF file(s) will be fixed and you will end up with a healthy and working piece of PDF file. This tool does not interfere with the quality of the PDF file and also recovers it with all its objects. If you still have your doubts, you can repair and open the PDF file for free with the trial version of the tool. To save the repaired file, you need to purchase the tool from the website.

    Download Now

Let us go through the tool’s process once to get a fair idea of the tool. Before proceeding with the tool’s demonstration, we would like to suggest you download the tool from the website. Make sure you install it properly and then run it on your system to proceed with the below-mentioned steps.

  1. Start with clicking on the Select File(s) option and add a single or multiple PDF files.
    Select File(s) option and add a single or multiple PDF files
  2. Once the files are added, click on the Repair button to proceed with the repairing process. You can remove unwanted files by selecting files and clicking on the Remove File(s) option.
    click on the Repair button
  3. Now, the tool will start repairing files and you get the live updates of it on your screen. Once the process is over, you will have your healthy PDF file(s).
    start repairing files and you get the live updates of it on your screen

To access the repaired PDF files folder, just click on the blue highlighted link and it will redirect you to the folder containing the repaired files.

The three step process mentioned above is no shortcut, it is all you need to follow to fix PDF file errors.

Conclusion:
In this blog, we discussed “Format Error: not a PDF or corrupted” faced by users while opening a PDF file. We first tried to know the reasons behind this error and got to know that corruption is the major reason that leads to this error. So, after trying a few hacks and tricks, we used Kernel for PDF Repair to fix the corruption in the PDF file. We decided to use this automated tool, as it is the most reliable and the quickest way to do so. After using this tool the corruption was fixed and we were finally able to open the file without any error. Hope this blog helped you to fix the error.

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