Why Doesn't My Printer Print PDF Files?

PDF (portable document format) files can be read and printed using Adobe Reader or Acrobat. You can create PDF files by selecting a document created using another program such as a Microsoft Word or a Corel Wordperfect and choosing "Print to PDF" under your printing options or by scanning a document and choosing PDF as the file format. Normally, you can view PDFs on your computer and print them as you would any other file, using any printer that is properly installed and connected to your computer.


If you are in a hurry, you may want to pursue a quick fix or workaround to the problem. Click the “File” option at the top of the PDF, then click “Print” and then click the “Advanced” button at the bottom of the window. Click on the box next to “Print as an Image” so a check mark appears, then click the “OK” button to close the advanced options window, then the “OK” button to begin printing the document. Alternately, make another copy of the PDF file by clicking “File” then “Save As” and type a different file name in the text box. Click “OK” to print the copy of the PDF.

File Problems

A problem with the PDF file itself may be the obstacle. Move the document from the USB drive or any other external device you may have connected to your computer, saving it to the hard drive then trying to print the PDF again. If you still have problems once the file is saved to the hard drive, open a different PDF and try to print it. If you can print the other file and have the original file or document used to make the PDF, make the PDF over again. If you cannot print the other PDF, try printing a different file type. Ultimately, you may be able to fix software problems by downloading the PDF file again or by going to Adobe’s website and downloading the current version of Adobe Reader.

Printer Problems

Turn off the printer then turn it back on, then try printing again. Examine the printer cable's connections to the printer and computer, making sure both are securely in place. If the printer is using a USB cable, plug the cable into another USB outlet on the computer that has worked recently with other USB devices. Try printing the PDF file with another printer, if you have another printer available to you.

Printer Drivers

If you are able to print the PDF with another printer, go to the manufacturer website for the original printer. Find a section or link labeled "Downloads" or "Drivers" and select the exact model printer you own and your computer's current operating system. Click on the link to download the latest drivers for the printer from the manufacturer’s website, since outdated drivers will prevent you from printing certain documents such as PDFs.