Question of the day: Corrupt PDFs

Question of the day: Has anyone seen the following error when you try to open a pdf file:
There was an error opening this document. The file is damaged and could not be repaired.

My answer (I have lots of experience with bad PDF files… long story .. not my fault, though, I was just an innocent bystander… lol):

a few likely reasons:

If the PDF is on the web:

  • The upload process could have hung up, creating an empty or damaged file.
  • The upload could have been in ascii format, but the PDF contained images and should have been uploaded as binary.
  • The file could have been corrupted during the creation process and uploaded (or emailed or saved to a drive) as corrupted.
  • A problem with Adobe

If you can get to the server level where the PDF resides (if it is on the web), you might be able to see if the File size = 0 or see if there are other anomalities. If it was emailed to you or given to you on flashdrive or card, just ask for a new copy.

good luck. It is possible to retrieve and restore some corrupted data but it’s never easy. If you can get the original file and it’s not corrupted, that is the easier answer.

I just accidentally corrupted a 16G SD card (moving between too many cameras too quickly — which wiped out the exif for about 100 images making them unreadable) and was able to restore the CR2s and JPGs without manually rewriting the exif. I’ve also restored deleted images off a SD, but neither was exactly what I would call EASY. 😉

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