Elements 12: I can't open recent scanned PDF files

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I can't open recent PDF files - error message says they are not PDF image files but they open perfectly well in reader and are .pdf. Just managed to open one that preview image shows correctly but once opened it is completely blank. Using Mac OS High Sierra and Elements 12
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laura brodrick

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Posted 4 months ago

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Steve Lehman

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Laura,   

I'm not sure if I can fix this but I do have a question.   Was the PDF file a photo, and was it saved in a photo editor like Photoshop or another program?   Other PDF file formats could be different in other programs.  Such as, in Adobe when you save in PDF it asks if you want to save with a particular level of strength or performance, as it asks if you want the layers flattened or not, and then it asks if you want it to be compressed or not compress and to what degree of compression in a ratio, etc.   

I have my PDF files saved without layers flattened so I can go back to resume editing or creating.  That way I won't have a file compression (like TIFF) and I can keep the format (without compression) from tossing out its pixels.  I always want my pixels intact without compression.   

If all these settings for PDF happened in different ways in another program, there may be a blank file shown as Photoshop doesn't have a format to open it with.   Yet your PDF Reader DC may open it because it has all of the ways to open a PDF file regardless and has a powerful engine to do it.  Acrobat is a more powerful engine.    I keep an Acrobat program on my machine for that reason.   Also, I want to serve my customers with an order they can see, as I see it, and I use Acrobat to change the order to PDF as a Word document.  Acrobat will work with pictures and documents at the same time.   Do you have that Acrobat?   If not, it might be a good one to get - worth its money.   

Adobe might say that PSE 12 is kind of old, not supported, and upgrading may be the answer.  I have 14 which works well for me and I have 3, 4, 8, 10, and the regular Photoshop and Light Room too.   Some people are already having trouble with 15 and 16 so I won't stretch you that far yet.   

Steve Lehman   
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laura brodrick

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Hi Steve, thanks for your reply!  My PDFs come from a large format scanner at my printers - they scan my drawings and save the file, and then send them to me as PDFs.  I edit the images for my clients on PSE - I don't much like full Photoshop and this has worked really well for me since 2014. I have only had this problem since 19th -26th June and they haven't changed anything, and no other clients have had this problem so it must be something my end. I've kept my PSE updated so it's not that, and I have tried uninstalling and reinstalling it. I use a Mac and have compared file info for recent scans that open with those that don't and I can't spot a consistent difference that may be behind it.  Adobe don't offer chat for this product which is infuriating and although I'd be willing to upgrade to 14 I'm not sure whether I'd have the same problem!  Ideas?
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David Converse

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Do the files open in Preview?

That would be the next thing I would try. If so, as a workaround you can possibly export as a different format.

Really, PDF isn't the format to use. They should be sending you TIFF or possibly PNG files for editing.
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laura brodrick

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OK so I downloaded trial versions of PS CC and PSE 18 to see how they did.  I think it must be an Elements thing because the files still don't open in PSE 18 but they do in PS CC.  I will ask my printers to send me files in TIFF or PNG format and try those out but I think I am probably going to finally buy into Photoshop, despite its horrible small icons. Steve, thanks so much for your advice - I hope this thread helps others.
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Steve Lehman

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Laura,   

I haven't had a problem with PSE14.  You won't need the full Photoshop really.   

I will stay with my first feeling about this, the PDF you are opening could be saved with an entirely different process not known to PSE, such as from a camera file format.   I will support Converse.   Have the file sent to you in TIFF instead of PDF, you need an uncompressed file like TIFF. 

But, I am thinking the real problem is that you are getting camera files.   IF a PDF file is saved in a camera as 16 bit format (compressed) and cameras compress all photo files in 16 bit, the 16 bit can be misunderstood or not read by a printer driver and is opening files as blank files.   PSE will want a 16 bit file (very compressed) changed to 8 bit (uncompressed) for editing and printing. 

All print drivers want 8 bit format to be printed properly.   Print drivers will pop-up a reminder to change from 16 (compressed) to 8 bit (uncompressed) on its way to the printer, as you select print.  Print drivers won't print in 16 bit because it's compressed (like from a camera).   In fact, 16 bit is so compressed, all print drivers will either want a conversion from 16 to 8 bit, or will reject the file or will open it like your blank file (like a non-file).   And again, (according to Converse) you should have a TIFF file sent to you (uncompressed) or you need to convert from PDF to TIFF (IF the PDF was uncompressed before) or work with TIFF entirely.   

TIFF is our go-to uncompressed file format for converting RAW files also.    When we need to change from 16 bit RAW to 8 bit we save that in TIFF to retain its format.  All other formats will change a file drastically and wrongly.   

SL
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laura brodrick

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Thanks Steve. The weird thing is that for 4 years I’ve had no problem with opening these files, just recently. I will get PS not just because it will open these files but for it’s added features like brushes and fonts. But I’ll talk to the printers about TIFF.