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Can a PDF be "fixed"?

Community Beginner ,
May 16, 2024 May 16, 2024

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I routinely receive PDF files produced by others which freeze my workstation when trying to read them.  This is *not* a file size issue but is likely to be a drawing complexity issue.  The files that most commonly freeze are generated by a Architect design company which uses various Adobe products as well as CAD/CAM applications to produce the artifacts and the resulting .pdf for distribution.

 

My question is - is it possible to troubleshoot or repair the .pdf file since my attempts to educate the Architect firm has been unsuccessful over many years. This has been happeneing for around 4 years now, so accross various iterations of the Adobe Acrobat product.

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Crash or freeze , General troubleshooting , PDF

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Community Expert ,
May 16, 2024 May 16, 2024

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Acrobat tries to fix broken files automatically when it opens them. If it fails, the chances of getting it fixed are slim. There are many many ways in which a PDF file can be broken. Someone will have to do a detailed analysis of your files to be able to come up with a solution, which is a long and difficult process.

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Community Expert ,
May 16, 2024 May 16, 2024

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Pdfs produced from CAD software can bog down Acrobat, CAD files can have many layers and curved lines can be constructed from a large number of points (nodes) which Acrobat considers lines and attempts to correctly render (I believe). You may see some improvement by running the Acrobat preflight fixup "Convert smooth lines to curves" this should reduce the number of nodes by applying bezier curves where possible. This fix is also available as an option when saving as an optimized pdf, although I don't know if the tools are identical, (try both ways). You could also flatten the pdf layers and discard invisible layers (also an option when saving as an optimized pdf), although layers may be important to you. One user has reported improvement when the accessibility preference "Enable assistive technology support" is turned off. 

Edit, these suggestions assumes Acrobat is very slow, but still working, if Acrobat is actually frozen, obviously you won't be able to run a preflight fixup or save as an optimized pdf.

convert smooth lines to curves.png

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Community Beginner ,
May 17, 2024 May 17, 2024

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Thank you for these suggestions. I agree that the root cause is likely CAD drawing complexity since I routinely see "freeze" behaviour when navigating from normal pages with graphics and text to detailed vector layout pages showing floor plans or building elevations.

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