Reasons Behind Why You Can’t Print a PDF File on Mac

2017-06-19 21:26:56 / Posted by Rosa Reyes to PDF Follow @ Rosa

My macbook pro will not print PDF files - I had to change some settings previously and it worked for a while but just stopped again recently. ---KCfrom SC/Apple Discussion

You may run into similar problems when you send a PDF file to printer. Feel annoyed? It needn't to be so. The reason why you cannot print the PDF on your mac may be quite simple. Stay with us to check this "Can't print PDF on Mac" issue and fix it instantly.

Have You Done These Before Asking for Technical Support?

Before going for technical support from printer supplier or PDF tool developer, there are some fundamentally basic things to do.

Check the paper in the printer feed tray: Make sure you have enough paper in the printer’s feed tray, also check if there is a paper jam stopping the printing. If yes, get the paper out carefully.

Check if the printer can be seen on the Mac: Make sure you are printing with the default printer that displayed on your mac. If there is no printer appearing on your mac, you need to manually add your preferred printer into the list of your devices by go to Finder>Apple Menu>System Preference>Printers&Scanners> Add>Select your printer from the list. Also, the printer can't be seen on your mac may result from printer's power off or loose connection to your mac, check it.
If your preferred printer still appears on the queue, remove it from the list and re-add it to the list since the printer's queue may be corrupted.

Check if the printer can be seen on the Mac

Do Tests: 
Test 1: Choose another printer to print your PDF file, if it works, your printer is the one making trouble, go to the part “Possible Software-related Reasons” and find the solution; 

Test 2: Choose another mac/PDF reader to carry out the printing, if it works, your mac is the one making trouble, go to "Possible Hardware-related Reason" and find the solution.

Test 3: Choose another PDF file to print, if it works, your previously selected PDF is the one preventing from printing, it may be corrupt or restricted from printing, go to "Possible PDF File-related Reasons" to find the solution.  

Possible Hardware-related Reasons

possible hardware problems why can't print pdf on mac

The malfunction of your mac or printer may lead to the fact that you can't print a PDF file, but this is really a rare case. If there exists defects on the hardware of your mac or printer, problems won't be just confined to printing issues. However, you should try to exclude this reason by restarting your mac or printer and try as much as possible to remove your doubt.

Possible Software-related Reasons

possible software reasons why you can't print pdf on mac

You are not updating the Printer Driver / PDF Tool / Mac system?

Updating Printing Driver: 
This is the reason in most of the cases that you can't print a PDF. 

  1. In the case if you are using the printer that shared by another user, check if both of you are using the same software version(driver, the program control the printer) of the printer:

Go to Finder>Apple Menu>System Preference>Printers&Scanners> Select Printer in the Printer&Scanners preferences>Option&Supplies>General, to identify the printer software (Driver) version. If you are not using the same latest one, update it.

  1. In the case if you are using the printer that connected to network, check if you have updated the driver into its latest version, since printer manufacturers provide new version drivers to improve compatibility with newly developed software.

Identify your own driver version>go to printers' manufacturers' website to update to the latest version>restart your mac and re-perform the printing.






Xerox Panasonic Lexmark





Updating PDF Tool:
The PDF tool refers to those you use to open PDF and print PDF, maybe Adobe (in great number), Preview, PDF Manager Ultimate or any other PDF readers with a PDF printer installed. Many users prefer to uninstall and re-install the PDF tool, it is always surprising how often simple reinstalling a program to solve a program. Reinstalling a program clears its memory and cache. If this works for you, you are lucky. If not, go to check if  PDF tool has updated to its latest version, take Adobe as the example:
Open Adobe>Help>Check for Updates
If a new update is available, install and restart your mac to try printing again. 
Check the system requirement for Adobe versions, make sure your Adobe version(or other PDF tools) is supported by your OS.
System Requirements for Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, Acrobat Standard DC
System requirements for Adobe Reader—older versions (XI, X, 9)

Updating Mac System:
Most printers are compatible with Mac OS. Though no-updating your Mac system is the least possible reason for why you can’t print a PDF on mac, updating your mac system is still a workable solution for PDF printing. Check your OS version, also make sure the version of your PDF tool and Printer is within the compatibility of the OS version, if not, update the mac version and restart the programs to try printing PDFs.

You are setting the PDF Tool or Printer improperly?

Receiving error message: Filter Failed
To solve this, you need to reset the print system. Go to Finder>Apple Menu>System Preference>Printers&Scanners> Control + Click in the left side printer list> Reset Print System, then re-add your preferred printer as mentioned above(Finder>Apple Menu>System Preference>Printers&Scanners> Add>Select your printer from the list).

Receiving error message: There are no documents selected
Your PDF tool (Adobe) may be under protected mode, try disabling the protected mode by going to Adobe Acrobat>Preferences>Security(Enhanced)>Unmark “Enable Enhanced Security”.
Also, there is an alternative to solve this by printing as image in Adobe, go to File>Print>Advanced (The location of the Advanced button depends on the version of Reader or Acrobat)> Select Print as Image (The location of the Print as Image options depends on the version of Reader or Acrobat).

Assuring you choose the PDF file from correct destination.
Sometimes, we just choose the PDF file from wrong destination, so no PDF file is available for printing.

Possible PDF File-related Reasons

broken pdf why can't print pdf on mac

Your PDF is corrupt? 
A PDF may looks fine but contain damaged content such as images or fonts that your PDF tool cannot process during printing.

  1. In the case if you got Adobe. Just print PDF as image, you can bypass the process by sending printer an image. 

Go to File>Print>Advanced (The location of the Advanced button depends on the version of Reader or Acrobat)> Select Print as Image (The location of the Print as Image options depends on the version of Reader or Acrobat).

  1. In the case if you don't have Adobe,use following online free PDF Repair tools to shoot this problem:

Your PDF is secured?
Have you checked if your PDF is password protected? If you can still open your Adobe, go to File>Properties>Securities>Security Method. If it shows password security, your PDF is restricted from printing, editing or copying, and you need to unlock the file for printing.

Use the PDFPasswordRemover to remove password protection, then continue to print the PDF with your printer.

print pdf on mac with cisdem 03

So, have you finally figured out why you can't print the PDF on Mac? Share your real experience to kill the problem.

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2 Comments Leave a Reply

  • Garfield

    I did the test as you instructed and found the reason, really helpful, keep up with this.

    2 years ago REPLY
  • Emmi

    Actually! But most of the time, the problem comes out from the printer driver. You can definitely find out the reason if you look into it deeper and longer as the article listed.

    3 years ago REPLY