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13 Common PDF Problems and Quick Fixes for Each

Oct 31 2023

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PDF documents have become an integral part of our lives, from business reports to e-books, legal contracts, and more. However, they're not always trouble-free.

You’ll often encounter tough challenges when working with PDFs and the problems can be as varied as the documents themselves.

But don't worry! Our actionable guide delves into the 13 most common PDF problems you may face, offering useful tips, tools, and techniques to overcome them.

In this post we’ll cover solutions for:

  1. Sharing oversized PDFs
  2. Converting scanned PDFs
  3. Sharing PDFs that contain sensitive information 
  4. Filling in static PDF forms
  5. Extracting a logo from a PDF
  6. Failed Batch Conversions 
  7. Attaching files to PDF forms
  8. Fixing Wrong Page orientation
  9. Ensuring your PDF is secure
  10. Long-term compliance of PDF files
  11. Maintaining image quality in PDFs
  12. Managing multiple versions of the same PDF
  13. Processing PDF on multiple devices and platforms

Let’s get started!

Problem #1: Sharing oversized PDF files

Can’t attach large PDFs to emails? We’ve all been there. With large PDFs, it can be difficult to even simply attach the file to an email or upload and send via the internet.

Solution: There are a few Xodo solutions you can use depending on your content – and we have a tool linked to help you with each one:

  • Compress PDF: If you need to share all the content in your PDF, compressing PDFs with Xodo can help downsize your PDF drastically! The tool offers different compression levels to choose from, so you can test out which one works best for your content.
  • Split PDFs: For large PDFs, you’ll more than likely have the content broken down into chapters or sections. In such cases, you can then split your PDF content easily using Xodo. This can make it easier to cut down on one huge file and still get your content shared.
  • Delete pages: If you can afford to take out some pages, you can simply delete PDF pages online with Xodo’s Delete Pages tool. Doing this can reduce the file size, making it easier to share. 

Problem #2: Converting scanned PDFs

Scanned PDFs can create issues for you all on their own. And to make matters worse, not all scanned files are created equally.

Some may produce issues during conversion or fail to convert. How do you get the text and content converted?

Solution: Our Xodo platform has a high-quality online OCR converter that can turn scanned PDFs into PDFs you can extract images and text from. Just upload and select to export as PDF. You can then convert your PDF online for free.

Problem #3: Sharing PDFs that contain sensitive information

Oftentimes, a major issue with PDFs is that they contain sensitive information. Because of this, you get restricted from sharing the file as needed.

Solution: Redact your confidential data with Xodo. By redacting PDF content, you can rest assured that any personal or account information is permanently deleted. Here’s a detailed guide on how to redact PDF text permanently.

Problem #4: Filling in static PDF forms

If you’re sent a PDF form without any fields, it can be difficult to get any information into it without printing it up first.

But filling it out digitally is the fastest, ideal way to handle it. How do you accomplish that? 

Solution: The quickest way is to add form fields to the form and make it fillable. For this, you can use our PDF Forms tool to select and add text fields, check marks, cross marks and even add a signature if needed. You can drop in the fields on the form where needed and fill them out.

Adding form fields to a static PDF

Problem #5: Extracting a logo from a PDF

When creating any branded material, it’s always good to include an official logo or header to ensure your material is professional-looking and credible.

However, if you have a logo from an official PDF document you want to use, you may be at a loss on how to pull those out and repurpose them.

Solution: First use the Crop option in our free PDF Editor. It will let you crop PDF content out as needed – including images. Once you have the logo as a cropped PDF, use Xodo to convert PDF to PNG. You’ll end up with a transparent image of a logo you can use anywhere.

Problem #6: Failed Batch Conversions

Batch converting PDFs is a great way to speed up your work. However, if you find that converting multiple files won’t convert completely or properly, it may be because one of these PDFs is damaged and not able to convert. Hence, the whole conversion process fails.

Solution: Try converting each file one by one. By doing so, you can zero in on which files were damaged if they fail to convert. Alternatively, try converting your files in smaller batches.

Problem #7: Attaching files to PDF forms

With any official PDF form, you may need to provide supplementary information. Tax forms, job applications, bank loan documents, government requests – these are just some everyday examples of tedious forms you may need extra documents to submit properly.

Solution: The simplest way is to use the Insert functionality in our free online PDF Editor. In addition to stamps, images, and callouts, you can easily add file attachments. Simply click on the paper clip icon and then on the page where you want your file inserted, and you’ll be able to choose the document from your device.

Attaching files to a PDF form

Problem #8: Fixing wrong page orientation

We’ve all come across PDFs where one or more pages will be included sideways or upside down. If you’re viewing a PDF like that, it can disrupt your viewing experience and even cause issues when trying to convert that PDF. 

Solution: Rotate your PDF pages. We have a step-by-step guide on how to rotate pages in your PDF. The best part is that you can rotate the pages as you go, whether you want to edit or view your PDF.

Problem #9: Ensuring your PDF is secure while sharing it

PDFs are highly shareable, which has both advantages and disadvantages. One of the most common ways to protect your PDFs is to set up a password, so only users who get the password can view and, yes, edit the content of your PDF files. Regardless of whether you decide to password protect your PDFs or not, security of your PDFs is still not foolproof..

Solution: The simplest solution here is to flatten your PDF to remove hidden metadata and literally merge all interactive elements into one layer. That way you prevent someone from editing the content of your flattened PDF. Additionally, you can use free Xodo apps for Android and iOS to password protect your PDF files on the go.

EXPERT ADVICE: On top of boosting security, flattening a PDF can help with issues storing PDFs safely online at the same time. You can even secure and save your PDFs with Xodo Drive so you can easily access those files from anywhere.

Problem #10: Long-term compliance of PDF files 

One of the hallmarks of a PDF is to preserve data. But how can you ensure that over the long term, your PDF is compliant and can withstand time?

PDF technology is constantly evolving, and your PDFs may not be compatible with newer tools and viewers when opened 10 years down the road.

Solution: Use our PDF to PDF/A converter to ensure your PDFs are accessible and secure for the long term. Alternatively, you can validate your PDF/A to quickly check if your content conforms to PDF/A standards instantly.

Problem #11: Maintaining image quality in PDFs

Images within PDFs can sometimes lose their quality, especially if the document is compressed. Not ideal if you need a sharp, professional-looking PDF. So how do you keep your images crisp?

Solution: Compress your PDF file. Xodo offers you the ability to choose the right compression level for your PDF. If you need to compress a large PDF with lots of images, you may consider using this option or testing it to see how your images look.

Problem #12: Managing multiple versions of the same PDF

Are you dealing with multiple PDFs, but aren’t sure which content has been changed, added, or deleted? Staying on top of your PDF content is a priority. And you don’t have hours to manually go through each individual PDF to check each page.

Solution: Use Xodo to compare PDFs side by side to save both your time and effort. You’ll be able to instantly see the differences highlighted in your PDFs so you can verify the content between two PDFs at a glance.

Comparing two PDFs with highlighted differences

Problem #13: Processing PDF on multiple devices and platforms 

One of the advantages of the PDF is that it can be opened and viewed on any platform and operating system. However, most tools that allow you to convert, edit, organize, or create PDFs don't allow you to work with your PDFs on every platform or OS.

Solution: Xodo. When you have internet access, you can use Xodo tools on every device: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. With one account, you can continue to work with your PDFs from wherever you are.

Easily fix all your PDF problems with Xodo 

PDF problem-solving doesn’t have to be hard. With Xodo, you get access to all the tools you need to work around any of your PDF issues. So, the next time you find yourself wrestling with a tricky PDF issue, remember that simple yet creative solutions are at your fingertips.

Try some of the tools and techniques we covered above with a Xodo Pro account to make your day-to-day digital document routine more efficient and effective. Happy problem-solving!

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Reena Cruz

PDF Productivity Expert

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