Photoshop CC Hangs When Opening PDFs

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  • Updated 1 month ago

For years, every time I try to open a PDF in Photoshop it makes Photoshop hang, the only way to stop it is to Force Quit PS. This has happened with multiple OS versions, multiple machines and with multiple PS versions.

It used to be that Force Quitting and re-opening PS would mean I could open the offending PDF fine the second time, but recently it's got to the point where Force Quitting means I cannot open PS again. Frequently this results in PS refusing to either open or close, it doesn't show in Activity Monitor and it stops my MBP from restarting or shutting down, requiring a forced shut down. (In fact, I'm having to do that right now after this post as PS is refusing to open or quit.)

I'm worried this is affecting my hardware and it's seriously affecting my ability to do my job. Given the number of people with the same issue over so many years, I don't understand how Adobe has ignored this.

My spec:

MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2012)

2.6 GHz Intel Core i7

16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3

NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M 1024 MB

Intel HD Graphics 4000 1536 MB


Currently using latest PS CC 2017 version.

Any help would great, thanks!

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Emma Price

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  • anxious, frustrated, cross

Posted 1 year ago

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David, Official Rep

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Howdy Emma,

Sorry you're running into such a problem.  The reason it hasn't been fixed is because this isn't something we've been hearing from customers.  That leads me to believe there is something specific about your setup (and that of the other people encountering this problem).  I actually was monkeying with PDFs in PS just last week...

So, let's see if we can work together to narrow this down a little, ok?

Do you have this problem with all PDFs or just a few specific ones?  Would you be willing to send me one of the offending PDFs?  Do the PDFs contain some specific (particularly uncommon) fonts?  How large are the PDFs?

How about your system?  What other apps are you running at the same time?  How are you opening the PDFs -- File > Open or click-and-drag or CMD+click+context_menu or via Bridge or ... ?

Let me know and let's see if we can figure this out for you.

Thanks,
David
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Emma Price

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Hi David,

Thanks so much for getting in touch. Sorry to contradict you, but there are  indeed a number of people who have had and have been having this issue for years. In fact I left a similar comment on this thread which has existed without a fix since 2013, with people regularly adding to it, it might be useful to have a look through it: https://forums.adobe.com/thread/1161665

To address your questions - it's always the first PDF I attempt to open in a session. So if I've not opened a PDF since opening PS then any and all PDFs hang on the PDF settings dialogue box. I say this honestly - it is every type PDF, from text-heavy to no text, single page or multi-page. It's been happening for years since using CS4, on multiple different machines. It can be a 250KB PDF or 50MB, it's always the same problem.

Due to the fact that I know it will always happen,  I make sure to save any previous work and shut all files, including any other CS software that might have been running. So other than Chrome, Safari and Mail there won't be any other programmes running.

This happens when dragging the PDF to the PS icon in my toolbar, when using PS's File > Open mechanism and also when CMD+clicking on the file itself.

In short, it's always the first PDF regardless of size and content.

In order to fix the issue I have to Force Quit and restart PS (clicking escape/cancel does nothing) and it usually allows me to open the same file without an issue once I've reopened PS and let it run a little. Recently however I've found that in addition to Force Quitting I've had to force power down my entire laptop as PS hangs completely, to the point that Force Quit and Activity Monitor do not behave as if PS is open, but the toolbar shows it as such and I'm unable to do anything else with it.

I hope that all makes sense, I'd love to work out what the issue is and fix it as I work with a lot of graphics due to the nature of my job.

Many thanks,
Emma
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Emma Price

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Hey guys,

OP here, I am still having trouble despite having manually updated Acrobat. It appeared to work for a short time but has since deteriorated again and continues to result in hanging Photoshop. I know it will happen and therefore make sure everything else is saved and turned off on my machine before attempting to open PDFs in PS.

I then have to either force quit or wait (sometimes 30 mins or more) for the problem to resolve itself before trying again, which is when the PDF usually opens fine. I have just come to accept that this will always be an issue and have found a way to work around it as best as possible.

As mentioned previously there are in fact other people posting about this issue, and still adding to the thread which is five years old: https://forums.adobe.com/thread/1161665?start=40&tstart=0

I realise that I did not respond to Todd's last question about Font Book, which I have indeed used since CS3/4, although have also used Suitcase (though not recently).

As usual, any thoughts would be gratefully received.

Cheers,
Emma
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David, Official Rep

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Howdy Emma,

Thanks for the info!  I sit corrected...!

Let's focus on getting this problem resolved for you.  I'm pretty certain that this error you're encountering has a specific software or hardware trigger since a) if it were a general problem with PDFs not opening in PS then the forums would be on FIRE with complaints rather than a single thread here on GetSat and another single (and kinda old) thread on the Adobe Forums and b) I happen to personally open and edit PDFs using PS on a regular basis on both Win and Mac *all*the*time* without any problems.  So, there's some non-normative trigger here.

Could you email me one or more of the PDFs?  My email address is <my first name> (dot) mohr <at> adobe (dot) com.  Do you know the sources of the PDFs that are giving you trouble?  Do they contain text?  Are the fonts common?  If not, are they embedded?  Are you running the latest versions of Acrobat and Photoshop (in case there was some fix I'm unaware of)?  Are you running any other apps at the same time as PS when you open PDFs?

Thanks,
David
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Cindy A. Avelino

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I'm having an issue of not being able to open any kind of PDF files in Photoshop CC 2018. And the message Photoshop gives when I try to open a PDF file is this: "Could not complete your request because of a disk error". I don't know what's happening, every other single files open ok, even huge PSD files. Adobe Acrobat Reader DC opens the PDF files normally, but Photoshop doens't.
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Do you have the 19.1.1 update installed? https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/kb/uptodate.html
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David, Official Rep

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Howdy Cindy,

Would you be willing to share one of the PDFs with me?  My email address is <my first name> (dot) mohr (at) adobe (dot) com.

Thanks,
David
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joscha van Deijk

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I have been having similar problems for years. I work with Photoshop CC on a Mac Mini (currently working in PS2018 version 19.0 /OS 10.12.6) and these problems keep occurring no matter which OS or CC version I use. These problems only occur when I'm saving or trying to open a pdf.

Just now I saved a pdf with Bridge and tried to open it in Photoshop, this time PS completely froze and I had to force quit, often it will eventually save or open the document but this will take more than 5 minutes. After having trouble with the first pdf, PS will normally not have trouble with pdf's after this. 

When saving a pdf the process will usually freeze at 10%. I have discovered that I have slightly less trouble saving pdf's if I avoid underscores in the file name. 
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David, Official Rep

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Hi Joscha,

What size PDFs are these?  Could you send me one?  How are they created?  Have you tried creating a simple image in PS and saving it as a PDF?

Thanks,
David
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joscha van Deijk

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It can be any kind of pdf, smallest file size / press quality, whatever. It happens when I try to save a single page as a pdf but also when I'm trying to make a multiple pdf file via automate.

With saving, it seems to work if I avoid underscores in the file name. Although the first save will usually take minutes to complete. The first save gets stuck at 10% for a long time. Once the first one went through ok, it usually will save pdf's just fine, at least for a while.   

Opening pdf's is a total horror. Yesterday I created a number of pdf's via bridge that I then needed to open in Photoshop. Photoshop would freeze every time I tried to open one. Then I'd need to force quit PS.

After force quitting PS would not start up anymore: the icon in the dock starts bouncing but nothing happens. Photoshop doesn't seem to be running. It will show up in force quit but doesn't react when you try to shut it down. Because of this I cannot restart my mac, since it will tell me that photoshop is unable to quit, leaving me no other option than to shut down my mac by holding the power button. I had to do this five times yesterday.

I will send you one of those pdf's I made with bridge and then tried to open but I doubt it has anything to do with the file. Today I tried to finish that job I was working on at home, using my MacBook Air and it worked just fine. So I'm pretty sure it has something to do with Photoshop in combination with my MacMini. Also, at the office I use a Wacom Cintiq 24HD, at home I use a Cintiq Pro 16".

As I mentioned yesterday I have been encountering these problems on my MacMini for years, so it does not seem to be related to either a specific version of Photoshop or my OS.     
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Andrea Karin Morrison

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I have always had this problem with Photoshop CC. I still keep Photoshop CS6 on my computer because I can open PDFs in it with no problem. If I open in CC it always freezes and I have to force quit. This is annoying if I have other files and haven't saved them. Doesn't matter file size, any PDF freezes Photoshop CC. For me I'm usually opening a pdf saved from Illustrator or InDesign that I quickly want to make a jpg for a visual.

I've never complained because I assumed it would eventually be resolved in a update but it never has. 

Andrea
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Can you post a PDF that you can't you can't open? I open PDFs regularly without problem here, so it would be good to find out if it's something specific about your files, or your system.
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Jeff MacNeil

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I have had this same problem for years—probably as far back as CS5 or so. No matter what size/type of PDF or how I open it in Photoshop, once I see that PDF import options screen, it freezes for at least 5 minutes. It has happened on my 2007 and 2013 iMacs from OSX Snow Leopard to current OS. Like everyone else, if I force quit Photoshop, re-open, and try the same PDF again, it’ll work. Lately, it has gotten worse. Again, like everyone else, I force quit Photoshop. The dock shows it’s closed and it’s no longer in Activity Monitor. I try to reopen and it hangs—nothing starts up. It shows up in the Force Quit window, but WILL NOT DIE! Nothing in Activity Monitor as well, so I had to force a shut down with my iMac.

It IS a problem and it’s not tied to one specific PDF or system. Most people just don’t have the time to spare to contact Adobe. No offence to you personally, but Adobe has left customers high and dry when it comes to tech support. That has happened to me too many times.
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Can you post a PDF that you can't you can't open? I open PDFs regularly without problem here, so it would be good to find out if it's something specific about your files, or your system.
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Micah Touchet

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SO right, Jeff. It's a problem, it's not a specific PDF or system, and I've had it for years and I'm too busy to contact Adobe.
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Jess Stalenberg

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Hi, 
I have the latest version of Photoshop CC and i cannot open a PDF (of 2 or more pages) without a major crash - 
I even have trouble force quitting the application and have to re boot my mac.
I'm just posting here because it's affecting my work flow and it seems to be a lo priority romblem for adobe.
Thanks, 
Jess
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joscha van Deijk

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Hi Jeffery, I'm sure you are all working very hard to solve our problems -but it sometimes feels as if this problem isn't taken entirely seriously.

We all very much seem to have the same very specific problems. Yet when someone joins in, with these same issues it is always suggested that the problem is maybe caused by something else and can we please send one of our pdfs. (I did send one of mine to David, never heard anything after that) as pointed out in a reaction on the first post there is another extensive thread of people having the same issues here: https://forums.adobe.com/thread/1161665 

Thank you for your reactions and assistance. I sure hope you will be able to help us with these issues. 
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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OK. David is out right now. I need to be able to reproduce the problem in order to have engineering fix it. So if you have a file and steps to consistently reproduce I'm happy to work with engineering on it.
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joscha van Deijk

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As I mentioned above I doubt that the pdf's are causing it. I'll be away from my work set-up this coming week, but if you want maybe we can plan a session after that to see if I can recreate the problem? 
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Jerzy Nicman

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Hi guys. I just found this post trying to solve additional problem with module responsible for importing pdf files to photoshop. All above complains are 100% right. The problem is very old. I'm quite sure the problem is in photoshop not pdf, probably assisted by OS X version. I currently have 3 different versions of photoshop (CC, CC2015.5 and CC2018) installed on os x sierra (MacBook pro 2014 16GB RAM).
Case is:
same pdf file created using indesign CC 2015 export for screen (it really doesn't matter if its in CMYK/RGB/screen/print or any other form – the result is always the same). PDF has 2 pages inside – 1st 1920x1080px, 2nd: 1080x1920px.
Drag and drop on photoshop icon in dock, import window appears, I select both pages.
Effect:
1. Photoshop CC – I press open and it takes more time but it's flawless. multiple imports and no hang 
2. Photoshop CC 2015.5 – I press open and it is faster than CC. Both pages rastered and everything is fine until I want to do it again (open pdf in photoshop). When I try to import muliple pages file (doesn't matter if its the same file I opened first or another one) the import window opens and every thing is fine until I shift click in the second page preview to open both pages – than photoshop freezes the cursor changes to rainbow ball. Photoshop has to be force quit. after restarting photoshop same file imports fine with first import the second one freezes PS again. In OS X Sierra it happens each time, earlier I had Maverics and it happened in 60%-70% cases. 
3. This is new. I've got tired of restarting PS each time I want to open PDF for the second time and I gave a chance the new PS CC2018. same file (2 pages: 1080x1920 and 1920x1080). When you add the second page to selection it does not freeze – success I thought but I couldn't be more wrong :))). As usual when you add the next page of different size to selection during import the page size changes to the biggest dimension (vertical and horizontal) of the selected pages so in my case to 1920x1920. Every version of photoshop does it but the final render is OK so the first page after rendering is 1080x1920 and the second is 1920x1080. I wrote "is OK" but it's NOT anymore because in PS CC2018 both pages are actually rendered to 1920x1920 with content stretched!!!!!
So the conclusion: the newer the photoshop the worse it is. I'm using PS for 22 years now.  I remember PS 5.5 without all those useless function like 3D etc. working great. Now photoshop is trying to be the app for everything and you know the saying: "If something is for everything then it's for nothing" (like Corel). Each new version has a bunch of new thing which are used for 1% of the users but some functions that are obvious and have errors or could work as they should are not updated. Adobe was my favourite software company. Now it's on the same shelf as Corel.
Now the only app I can recommend to other is Indesign. 
Please Adobe just get it done right. And if you somehow manage to implement ONE really important functionality like scaling effects applied to smart object I thing people will love you.
Best regards.
Jurek
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David, Official Rep

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Howdy Jerzy,

Can you send me this PDF file?  My email is < david > (dot) < mohr > (at) ADOBE <dot> com.

Thanks,
David
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Micah Touchet

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Same problem, have had for a LONG time. First PDF opened in Photoshop always freezes. It takes a few minutes, and it'll unfreeze. Same with saving a PDF the first time. Freezes at 10%, then after a few minutes works normally. I've noticed this in other Adobe products. I think there is something with the PDF parser or plugin — or whatever that's called — the first time it's loaded.
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Cristen Gillespie

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Odd. I avoid Acrobat now whenever I'm not actively creating a PDF because it hangs constantly on both my computers, but I have never had any problems with opening PDFs in Photoshop. I just again tried several completely randomly chosen from all sorts of sources—and thought perhaps they weren't long enough, so tried one of the longest I have— the AE PDF manual (almost 800 pages). Again, immediate response. I'm on El Cap and High Sierra.

There must be something more than platform, OS version, and Adobe Photoshop causing this problem among so many.

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Brad Kayal

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Just want to raise my hand and say I've had this problem for years as well. Happens on my home iMac, my work Macbook Pro, and my work iMac. 

What's crazy is this has been reported on since at least 2013 : https://forums.adobe.com/thread/1161665