PDF (Portable Document Format) files are a type of document file created by Adobe that are used by many companies to distribute their documents and manuals on the internet as well as for use via email and other methods of distribution. Most people use the free Adobe Reader to open PDF files and most web browsers have plug-ins that allow you to view PDF files within a web page rather than having to download the file itself first but there may be times when it doesn't work the way it is supposed to.

When you try to open an Adobe PDF file in an e-mail or website link you get one of the following errors:


  • File does not begin with '%PDF-
  • The document '[filename]' could not be opened, because the application program that created it could not be found
  • Error in zip use PKZipFix
  • Cannot open file; it does not appear to be a valid archive
  • System Error -36

To resolve the problem try one of the following:

  • Make sure you are using the right application to open the file. For help with file associations, click here.
  • Remove and then reinstall the application you're using to open the file.
  • Have the sender to send the file again using an encoding format your e-mail application can use like UUEncode, BinHex, or MIME.
  • Make sure your e-mail system has a high enough storage limit to accept the attachment.
  • Have the sender resend the file in case it has been damaged.
  • Make sure the file has a .pdf file extension and not .mme
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