How to Repair A Corrupted PDF File | 7 Ways

6 min readJan 19, 2024

Home / News / How to Repair A Corrupted PDF File | 7 Ways

By Lena | Follow


Can A Corrupted PDF File Be Fixed?

PDFs are commonly used for important documents like legal contracts, business reports, academic papers, and government forms. It can be crucial to repair them to retain the vital information they contain. So, can a corrupted PDF file be fixed? Well, a corrupted PDF file can often be fixed, depending on the extent and nature of the corruption.

In general, you can first try to repair the file by yourself: update/repair Adobe, try another reader to open the file, or restore the file to a previous version. If it doesn’t work, you can use an online or offline app to help you fix it. Just keep reading this guide to learn how to repair a corrupted PDF file.

How to Repair a Corrupted PDF File

Here are the detailed steps to repair a damaged PDF file. You can try these methods in turn until the problem is resolved.

Fix 1. Update Adobe Acrobat

First of all, you can try to update Adobe Acrobat Reader. The PDF cannot be opened probably because Adobe is not up-to-date. In Adobe Acrobat, click Help from the menu bar and choose Check for updates. If there is an update available, then follow the instructions to install it.

After the installation, restart Adobe and see if you can open the PDF.

Fix 2. Repair Adobe Acrobat

You can’t use Adobe to open a PDF when some of its files are corrupted. You can click Help and choose Repair Installation to repair Adobe. In this way, it automatically checks and repairs damaged files. Alternatively, you can uninstall and reinstall the software.

Fix 3. Try Another PDF Reader

Update and fix Adobe not working? You can try opening the file with another PDF reader before trying other methods to repair the corrupted PDF file. The notification that says your file is corrupted may simply be because the reader is not working correctly.

Sometimes, a file that doesn’t open in one reader might work in another. Click the button below for a popular alternative to Adobe — SwifDoo PDF. If it opens, the problem is with the reader, which saves you the trouble of repairing the file.

Fix 4. Restore the PDF to Previous Version

A worthwhile attempt to repair a corrupted PDF file is to restore it to a previous version. On Windows computers, there is a built-in feature that can help you keep track of different versions of files.

Right-click the PDF file or the folder where the file is located and choose Restore previous versions option. If you find the version of the PDF file you need, just select the file and click Restore.

Fix 5. Convert PDF File

Another way to repair a corrupted PDF is to convert it to another format such as Word, text or images. Converting to Word is recommended because Word supports almost all elements of PDF files. After that, you can extract the information and recreate a PDF file. Or you can directly convert the Word to a PDF file.

Adobe Acrobat Reader does not support PDF conversion. You can use the SwifDoo PDF mentioned above to help you complete the conversion. It allows you to convert PDF to Word and vice versa.

You can check this guide to learn the detailed steps and other methods:

Fix 6. Repair PDF via Online Tool

If you can’t repair a damaged PDF file yourself by the method above, then you can use the PDF repair tool. Some online services offer to repair PDF files. These online tools are generally free. You upload your file to their website, and they attempt to fix and return it to you.

Just search for “repair corrupt PDF online” in your browser and you will see a lot of tools that can help you repair PDFs. Choose the one that’s at the top.

Fix 7. Repair PDF with PDF Repair Tool

In order to help users repair a corrupted PDF file, many software companies have developed related tools, such as Recovery Toolbox for PDF, iMyFone UltraRepair, and Kernel for PDF Repair. These tools help you recover not only text but also headers, footers, tables, and more! Most of these programs require a subscription, but they offer a free trial version.

Why PDF Get Corrupted? How to Avoid This Problem

From the above, you know how to repair a corrupted PDF file. Although you have the opportunity to repair PDF documents, it doesn’t always work! Therefore, it is necessary to understand the reasons behind it and how to avoid damage.

Possible Causes for PDF Corruption

  • Incomplete Download. The PDF file may not be fully downloaded due to internet connectivity issues or interruptions during the download process.
  • Software Issues. The bugs in the software used to create or open the PDF file can lead to corruption.
  • Virus or Malware Infection. Viruses or malware can corrupt PDF files, either directly by infecting the file or indirectly by damaging the file system.
  • Hard Drive Corruption. The storage device where the PDF file is stored gets corrupted or damaged.
  • Power Failures or System Crashes. Sudden power failures or system crashes while a PDF file is being created, edited, or saved can lead to incomplete writing of data, resulting in a corrupted file.
  • Hardware Issues. Faulty hardware, such as a failing hard drive or defective memory, can corrupt PDFs stored or processed on the device.

How to Prevent PDF from Being Corrupted

  • Ensure Stable Internet Connection. When downloading or uploading PDF files, ensure a stable internet connection to prevent incomplete transfers.
  • Use Reliable Software. Create and open PDF files using reputable and up-to-date software.
  • Use Anti-virus Software. Protect your computer from viruses and malware with reliable anti-virus software, as these can corrupt PDF files.
  • Backup Important PDF Files. Regularly back up important PDF files to different locations, such as an external hard drive or cloud storage, to prevent loss due to corruption.
  • Properly Close Files. Ensure that PDF files are correctly closed and not in use before shutting down your computer or disconnecting storage devices.

Final Words

That’s all about how to repair a corrupted PDF file. While many damaged PDF files can be repaired, especially those with minor corruption, there are situations where repair is not possible. It’s always a good idea to keep backups of important files to prevent data loss. If you found this article helpful, then share it with others!

Originally published at on January 19, 2024.




I’m fascinated by the influence of evolving technologies, computer software/hardware as well as social behavioral norms.