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Design

Illustrator Errors: Fixing PDF Errors

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Whether you're encountering issues opening, editing, or compiling a PDF in Adobe Illustrator, you'll want some quick solutions to overcome the frustration of error messages. In this article we'll explore a handful of quick tips to resolve or avoid errors and make your dealings with Illustrator-friendly PDFs a breeze.

Solution #1: Enable Preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities

If your issue is one of editing a PDF or the recipient of your document cannot edit it in Adobe Illustrator, and you have the original AI file, make sure that when you saved it you enabled the Preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities option. It's a simple solution that allows you or anyone else to further edit a PDF in Illustrator or if you're going to import it into Adobe InDesign.

enabled the Preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities option
Enable the Preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities option when saving.

Solution #2: Fixing Corrupted Display Fonts

Let's say you've opened a PDF in Adobe Illustrator in order to edit it further. But what's this? The text is showing up as a string of symbols and, really, a complete mess. While PDFs usually embed font data with them, Adobe Illustrator isn't really a program you'd usually edit a PDF with (hence the previous solution and its specific editing enabled option).

Remedy this by installing any font that should be included in the PDF to make sure everything is displaying properly. While this isn't always possible (perhaps you're unsure of what the font is or it's too expensive for you to purchase), it's a quick solution to make sure everything is displaying as it should be, and has definitely come into play after I've switched machines or reformatted a computer and forgot to load everything into my system.

Corrupted font example on the left with the correct placeholder text on the right in Liberation Sans
Corrupted font example on the left with the correct placeholder text on the right in Liberation Sans.

Solution #3: Opening a Corrupted PDF

Adobe Illustrator won't open your PDF, but you need to work on it for whatever reason and throwing your computer out the window won't solve anything. Save the world from flying computers by opening the PDF in Adobe Acrobat or some other PDF editing program. Save the PDF under a new name and open the new file in Adobe Illustrator to continue working on your project.

Alternatively, if you have the original file the PDF was created from, saving that file under a new name should also solve your corrupted file issue.

Solution #4: Unable to Save as a PDF

Aside from the other solutions we covered in the Adobe Illustrator saving issues article, you may run into issues with saving your PDF and want additional solutions. Sometimes the problem has to do with your printer preferences.

Often, when saving files elsewhere, you can Print As and select PDF as an option to save it to your machine. Make sure PDF comes up as an option for printing on your machine. If it doesn't, you'll have to sort out your printer settings.

Make sure you can access Adobe PDF as an option for printing as well as saving
Make sure you can access Adobe PDF as an option for printing as well as saving.

Alternatively, your Adobe Illustrator's preferences file may be corrupt. Check out Adobe's own help page for setting, resetting, and dealing with setting preferences if the above solutions didn't work for you.

Know More Solutions?

I hope you found the above solutions helpful in working with PDFs in Adobe Illustrator. What are some of your go-to solutions for dealing with PDF errors? Share them in the comment section below!

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