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5 Fixes for Cannot Open PDF in Outlook to Preview Attachments

People facing difficulties opening PDFs in Outlook may encounter various common issues leading to inconvenience. Possible reasons include attachment corruption during email transmission and outdated software. Moreover, other reasons may consist of complications with the PDF reader, security settings, and file association problems. Most of these reasons will be discussed in detail throughout this article.

To tackle these issues, users can follow a few solutions for being unable to open PDFs in Outlook. In this article, we'll briefly explain the potential fixes and the most innovative software, UPDF. Furthermore, UPDF is the best PDF viewer and is in a continual process of evolution to fix issues. Therefore, we recommend you download UPDF and utilize it as a default app for document management.

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Part 1. Why Can't I Open PDF in Outlook

Outlook is a crucial tool for communication in both work and personal life. However, users often find it frustrating when attempting to open PDF files on the platform. To make our email experience smoother, it's essential to figure out why this happens and apply practical solutions. So, let's look into the question of why I can't open PDF in Outlook, explaining various reasons.

  • Incorrect Settings: When settings are not right, like having the preview option turned off, it can stop PDFs from opening in Outlook. Due to this reason, you can't see PDFs directly in your emails. You can easily preview and Open PDF attachments by enabling it in Outlook settings.
  • Security Settings: Users can't open PDFs in Outlook if the file has a password. The app does not have the ability to show password-protected PDFs. You need to open these files using the right password in a PDF reader outside the Outlook app to look at these files.
  • Outdated Program: If your program for either Outlook or the PDF reader is not up-to-date, it can cause problems opening PDFs. Bugs in these older versions might make them not work well together. To address this issue, update the software for a smooth experience by removing obstacles to open PDFs.
  • Software Conflicts: Antivirus or security programs can stop Outlook from opening PDFs. These programs are sometimes too protective and see PDFs as possible threats and block them. Additionally, you should change the setting of antivirus or security software to recognize PDFs as safe.
  • Unavailability of PDF Reader: The absence of a PDF reader is a common reason for being unable to open PDFs in Outlook. Without a program capable of displaying PDF files, the system lacks the necessary tools to interpret and present the content. To resolve this issue, install a compatible PDF reader to access PDF attachments.

Part 2. Top Fixes to PDF Attachments Not Opening in Outlook

When addressing the challenges related to PDF attachments in Outlook, it's essential to highlight practical solutions rather than solely listing the issues. Users can improve their email experience and ensure seamless access to essential PDF documents by applying potential fixes. In the upcoming section, we'll familiarize you with the fixes to tackle the common issue of PDF attachments not opening smoothly in Outlook.

Fix 1: Uncheck Turn Off Attachment Preview Settings

A particular solution for PDF attachments not opening in Outlook involves adjusting the attachment preview settings. This adjustment has the potential to improve how attachments are previewed in Outlook. Furthermore, this setting makes it easier for users to interact with and understand their email attachments. Let's explore the steps to uncheck the "Turn Off Attachment Preview" settings to enhance the overall Outlook experience.

Step 1. First and foremost, open your Outlook application on the respective devices to begin the process. Once it is opened, select the "File" tab at the top of the screen and scroll down to click the "Options" button that will direct you to a new window.

cannot open pdf in outlook tap the options option

Step 2. In the "Settings" window, head to the left side and choose the "Trust Center" tab. Then, proceed further by navigating to the right side of the screen and selecting the "Trust Center Settings" button to access new settings.

cannot open pdf in outlook press the trust center settings button

Step 3. After accessing the extended setting of the trust center on a new screen, choose the "Attachment Handling" option. This action will give you an extension of features from where you can uncheck the "Turn Off Attachment Preview" under the "Attachment and Document Preview" section. Afterward, click the "OK" button to apply the changes and resolve the issue of PDF being unable to open in Outlook.

cannot open pdf in outlook disable turn off attachment preview option

Fix 2: Update Microsoft Outlook Software

It is vital to regularly update the Microsoft Outlook application for a smooth and safe experience. These updates not only bring in new features but also fix possible compatibility problems and improve overall performance. Additionally, users can make the most of Outlook's capabilities and reduce the likelihood of issues. By following the below-mentioned steps, you can update Microsoft Outlook to guarantee that your email communications are secure:

Step 1. Launch Microsoft Outlook software on your system firsthand. Then, proceed further by clicking the "File" tab from the left side of the user's main interface. Now, head to the bottom of the screen and select the "Office Account" tab from the available options.

cannot open pdf in outlook access the office account option

Step 2. Once you have pressed this button, a new screen will appear parallel to the tab. From this menu, choose the "Update Options" drop-down menu and opt for the "Update Now" option. In this way, your application will be updated, and you can resolve the issue of PDF attachments not opening in Outlook.

cannot open pdf in outlook select the update now feature

Fix 3: Repair Microsoft Outlook to Resolve the Issue

PDF email attachments won't open with Outlook, which hinders effective communication. Another common way to solve this issue problems involves repairing Microsoft Outlook to ensure the application works. With this fix, users can take proactive steps to deal with challenges and keep Outlook working efficiently. In the following section, we'll explore the steps for repairing Microsoft Outlook to ensure that the issue of Outlook not opening PDF attachments is solved.

Step 1. The process of repairing the app is initiated by searching for the "Control Panel" on your devices. When it is opened, choose the "Programs" tab from various options to uninstall or change any application.

cannot open pdf in outlook tap the programs option

Step 2. Now, you will find a new window from where you need to select the "Program and Features." Then, a window will appear from where you can locate the "Microsoft 365 App" among different programs. Afterward, "Right-click" on the program and click the "Change" option from the extended menu.  

cannot open pdf in outlook choose the change option

Step 3. When you give a command to change the program, a mini window appears on the screen. Among the two available options, choose "Quick Repair" and then select the "Repair" button. By repairing Microsoft Outlook, you can effortlessly view PDF files on the application.

cannot open pdf in outlook proceed with quick repair feature

Fix 4: Turn Off Virus & Threat Protection Settings

Although having strong security features is essential, they can occasionally cause unexpected issues that impact how smoothly email applications work. It is crucial to find the right balance between security and functionality by knowing when and how to change these settings. Let's explore the steps of turning off virus and threat protection settings to enhance the performance of Microsoft Outlook.

Step 1. To initiate this step, type "Windows Security" in the search bar to locate and open the "Windows Security" window in the settings. After having all security features at a glance on a new window, select the "Virus and Threat Protection" feature.

cannot open pdf in outlook choose virus and threat protection

Step 2. Once you have accessed a new window, scroll down to "Virus and Threat Protection Settings." Under this section, select "Manage Settings" to alter the security protection for viewing PDFs on Outlook.

cannot open pdf in outlook tap on manage settings option

Step 3. Navigate to the "Real-time Protection" section within the "Virus and Threat Protection Settings" window to adjust relevant configurations. Finally, turn this option "Off" to tackle the issue of being unable to open PDF in Outlook.

cannot open pdf in outlook disable real time protection feature

Fix 5: Change Your Default PDF Application

Users can't open PDFs in Outlook due to their outdated or faulty existing default applications. It is crucial to choose the right default PDF application for the smooth and personalized experience that is provided by UPDF. In addition, it makes your PDF viewing experience more efficient based on your specific needs.

To access this exceptional tool, click the "Free Download" button given below this section. Now, let's discuss the easy-to-follow steps of making UPDF your default application on Windows.

Step 1. To set UPDF as the default PDF viewer, enter the "Settings" screen to make changes. Then, inside this Settings window, click on the "Apps" tabs and opt for the "Default Apps" option.

cannot open pdf in outlook access the default apps option

Step 2. On the new window, scroll down to locate "Choose default apps by file type" to access the new window. On this window, find ".pdf" in the file types list and click on the current application associated with it to view a list of available apps.

cannot open pdf in outlook choose default app for pdf format

Step 3. From the list of available apps, pick "UPDF" to set it as the default PDF viewer on your systems. From now on, whenever you open a PDF file, it will automatically use UPDF, which won't hinder the viewing of PDFs for Outlook.

cannot open pdf in outlook choose updf as default pdf tool

Part 3. The Best PDF Editor You Should Have

As we have mentioned before, setting UPDF as a default PDF viewer will solve Outlook cannot open PDF attachments issue. Furthermore, UPDF is equipped with advanced features that solve other PDF-related problems. It has an editor option that lets you embed images and change your document's text font, color, and size. In addition, users can annotate features to highlight essential points in your PDF with stamps, stickers, and notes.

Other than that, the advanced AI feature of UPDF can easily let you explain, translate, and summarize content with ease. You can get creative with your PDF document on various platforms like Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. This tool can maximize efficiency in your document workflow into high-quality PDF conversion.

If you want to learn more about the extraordinary features of UPDF, download it today to experience its magic.

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cannot open pdf in outlook UPDF

Now, let's look at the critical features of UPDF that can solve all your PDF-related problems while maintaining its quality:

  • Edit Your PDF Content: With the editing tool, users can edit their PDF files in many different ways, like adding text. Furthermore, you can change the font, size, alignment, and color of the text. Plus, the editing tool lets you insert images that you can crop and extract. You can also add any link to your PDF from a website or page and customize the link's line style and thickness.
  • Annotate Files for Personalization: The annotate feature lets you personalize your PDF file with tools like highlighting, strikethrough, and underlining essential lines. In addition to that, users can add a text box and text callout to make separate sections of their notes. Also, you can add stickers and shapes and draw on your PDF to enhance your reading experience.
  • UPDF AI: The UPDF AI is a powerful AI assistant that handles your PDF concerns with efficiency and creativity. You can easily condense 1000 pages and receive concise and accurate summaries within 30 seconds. Moreover, if you do not understand complex terminologies, the UPDF AI explain feature provides you with comprehensive terms. You can also translate your PDF content into any language that you desire.
  • Convert PDF: If you want to transform your PDF into an editable format, you can do so by using the convert feature. You can convert your PDF into Word, PowerPoint, Excel, image, and other formats. Furthermore, users can convert their PDF files into HTML and XML for better web interface creation. It offers you customization options like choosing the page range and exporting them.
  • Share PDF: UPDF also offers you sharing features where you can share your important files with your team or friends. Additionally, users can send documents via email, generate links, and download the QR code. You can send your documents through such means without needing to leave the software.
  • Secure PDF: Securing your PDF files is of utmost importance; that's why UPDF keeps your data locked by using Open Password. In addition to that, ensure PDF security by defining permissions that limit others from editing, copying, and printing your file. You can set the encryption level from 28-bit RC4 to 256-bit AES.
cannot open pdf in outlook UPDF

If you want to take your PDF handling games to the next level, press the "Free Download" button and get UPDF on your device. Moreover, upgrade to UPDF Pro at a huge discount to work on your documents efficiently.

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Part 4. FAQs about PDF Opening in Outlook

Q1. Does Outlook support PDF?

Yes, Outlook supports PDF attachments that are not protected by a password. Users can quickly receive and send emails by attaching PDFs to them. Moreover, you can open and view the email with a PDF attachment within Outlook. You can also choose to save the document on your desktop and review the PDF later.

Q2. How do I enable PDF viewer in Outlook?

If you want to enable PDF viewer in Outlook, go to the "File" option and click the "Options" button. After that, hit the "Trust Center" tab, and then click on the "Trust Center Settings" button. Now, disable the "Turn Off Attachment Preview" option present in the "Attachment Handling" section to preview PDFs.

Q3. Why can't I download PDF in Outlook?

There can be various reasons why you can't open PDF in Outlook. One of the reasons is the security issues, which might be blocking you from downloading. Moreover, you might not have enough storage to download PDFs from Outlook. If your PDF size is too large, your PDF email attachment won't open.

Q4. Can I preview the PDF in Outlook?

No, there is no option to view the PDF directly in Outlook. To open PDFs from the Outlook attachments, you need a reliable PDF reader. Download UPDF by pressing the "Free Download" button and view your documents without any limitations.

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Q5. What is the file size limit of PDF in Outlook?

The file size limit of PDF in Outlook is 20 MB, and you cannot upload and send your PDF if the file size is beyond this limit. So, while sending PDF attachments on Outlook, make sure that your PDF size is below this mentioned limit.


It's crucial to solve issues like PDF attachments not opening in Outlook to make your email experience smoother. In this regard, we've explored different helpful solutions to improve how you interact with attachments. However, for a complete PDF management solution, consider giving UPDF a try. In addition, it not only deals with PDF compatibility but also gives you a versatile and user-friendly experience.

UPDF, as the best PDF viewer, comes with a strong set of features and works well with various email platforms, including Outlook. We highly encourage you to take a practical step by downloading UPDF and giving it a try to enhance your digital document experience.

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