PDF exports with very large amount of labels or annotation fail to open in Adobe Reader 7 or Acrobat 7

Last Published: April 25, 2020


PDFs created by ArcGIS do not open properly in Adobe Reader 7.0, Adobe Acrobat 7.0, or in Adobe Illustrator CS2.

In Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader, the
following error message is displayed:

"There was a problem reading this document (18)."

The document page is then partially rendered, and Acrobat's pan and zoom tools appear frozen.

In Adobe Illustrator CS2, certain pieces of text are absent from the rendered page.

These PDF documents are able to open without problems in version 6 of Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader, and version CS of Adobe Illustrator.


This is a known issue.

The PDF interpretation engine used in Adobe Reader 7, Adobe Acrobat 7, and Adobe Illustrator CS2 fails when reading certain large documents that have both raster content and a large number of text objects. The problem occurs when a raster draws into the PDF in between two sections of text.


  • If the map has raster pictures on the layout and no raster layers in the data frame, alter the layout's draw order to force the raster to draw last.

    Use the following map as an example. It contains an inserted TIFF picture of a logo on the layout, the text in the data frame draws into the PDF, the logo raster image, and an additional layout text. To force a picture element, like the logo, to draw last, right-click on the element and select ' Order > Bring to front'.

    Repeat this for all inserted pictures on the layout, save the map, and export again.
  • Upgrade to the 8.0 or higher version of Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat or the CS3 or higher version of Adobe Illustrator. These versions of Adobe products contain a new PDF interpreter which resolves the problem.

Article ID:000009110

  • ArcMap

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