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When I open a certain PDF file I get the following error:

For the best experience, open this PDF portfolio in 
Acrobat  X or Adobe Reader  X, or later.

Get Adobe Reader Now!

I have Foxit Reader 5.1.4 and Adobe Reader 8.3.1. Neither will open it at all, except for this error message. Brief google-ing showed that a similar thing can happen with version 9.

For the best experience, open this PDF portfolio in
Acrobat 9 or Adobe Reader 9, or later.

Apparently Adobe, in their wisdom, has invented a new format that in not backwards compatible, and someone saved this document in the non-backwards compatible mode. Spiffy-do for them. Great for Adobe in theory, but

  1. I do not want to get the new version of Adobe.
  2. I did try to download it, against my better judgement. The installer downloaded. I ran it. It failed to finish, and deleted itself as well so I couldn't just try again.

So now I am thoroughly against getting the new version, or using Adobe Acrobat at all. Good move Adobe.

Is there another way to convert this to something I can read? My first thought is to find someone who has Adobe Acrobat X, have them open it, and save it in a backwards compatible format. But I'd rather not involve others, I want something I can do myself for the next time this happens.

I tried uploading to Google Docs, to see if they would magically parse the document so I could read it in the web format. That had the same results, the dumb message/advertisement.

Since this is not something that I have to have, if I can't read it without version X, I will just go without it.

share|improve this question
I'm also seeing this within Chrome at the following URL:… Most annoying! – Peter Jenkins Nov 11 '13 at 14:13
Have you tried some other viewers independent of Adobe? Can you try some (at least evince; that's open-source). – Jan Hudec Jan 23 '14 at 9:13
@PeterJenkins: When I open that (my system uses okular via kpart plugin) I see that message, but I also see a message "This document has embedded files. Click here to see them." and when I click that it shows me two .pdf files and can save them and when I do and they can be shown without problem. – Jan Hudec Jan 23 '14 at 9:23
@JanHudec thanks for the tip ... I'm mainly using Linux so I might give Okular a try next time. – Peter Jenkins Jan 29 '14 at 19:57
Just to confirm that Okular can open these embeded pdf's within pdfs. There is probably a command line tool for this somewhere ... at least I've extracted embedded images before to great success. – Peter Jenkins Mar 1 '14 at 9:58

I'm 99% sure PDF's like these are assembled as portfolios of multiple standalone pdfs in Adobe Acrobat.

  • SumatraPDF (windows only), bookmarks sidebar (F12) lists embedded documents.
  • evince (gnome), sidebar (F9) and choose attachments from the heading dropdown menu.
  • okular (kde), untested but others say it works.
  • pdftk extract all pdf embedded attachments: pdftk <filename> unpack_files output .
  • pdf-tools extract all pdf embedded attachments: pdfdetach -saveall <filename>
share|improve this answer
On Mac OS X Yosemite, I used homebrew to install pdf-tools. This allowed pdfdetach -saveall input.pdf, which gave me access to all of the contents, which could then be opened in Preview. – drootang Sep 25 '15 at 2:32

I'd say ditch Adobe Acrobat completely--it is just a waste of time, and they are trying to generate more sales with this new "feature" (read "bug").

You can bypass this with a conversion to ps and back:

pdf2ps file.pdf
share|improve this answer

The simple answer is get Adobe X or another app like PDF Creator Pro to handle the problem file. Most will have a cost associated where Acrobat reader X will not.

The event logs may indicate why the install failed and additional info on your Operating System might help get a better answer.

Consider that the version of Acrobat you have may have some significant security issues and that PDFs are a common malware vector. Upgrading to something is likely a good idea to close a security hole.

share|improve this answer
Can the downvote be explained. I would appreciate knowing where my answer fell short – Dave M Nov 11 '13 at 14:34
When the question explicitly states getting Adobe X is not accepted, don't bother suggesting it. Joining the downvote. – Jan Hudec Jan 23 '14 at 9:05

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