Methods to Troubleshoot Unable to Preview PDF in Outlook

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Summary: Sometimes you will be unable to preview PDF in Outlook due to many reasons. But fixing this issue is important to resume normality in your day-to-day work. This write-up will give you the reasons and solutions for the issue.

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What Causes Unable to Preview PDF in Outlook Error?

Outlook is a useful email client used by many people. But sometimes you will find a situation where you are trying to open a PDF file but are unable to preview the file. There are many reasons for the issue in PDF preview. You can find some of the common causes below,

  • There is no PDF preview handler installed in the system.
  • The PDF preview feature is disabled.
  • Outdated PDF preview handler.
  • Outlook-related registry issues.
  • Issues with the temporary or cache files.
  • Corrupted PST file.
  • An issue in the Outlook application.

How to Repair Cannot Preview PDF in Outlook Error?

If you are looking for solutions for being unable to preview PDF in Outlook, you will find many methods. But some of them may not work or give you the best results. That is why we have curated a list of methods that are evaluated for success.

Method 1: Check the File is Password Protected

The simplest method to resolve the PDF preview issue is to make sure that the file is not password protected. Because the password-protected file will stop you from previewing the file to keep the content secure. If you are dealing with a password-protected file, provide the password and open your file.

Method 2: Check the PDF Preview Handler is Enabled

Another easy way to solve the PDF preview handler is to make sure you have enabled the feature. You can follow the below steps to check if the feature is enabled,

  • Open the Outlook application.
  • Click on the File from the menu bar and click on the Option.
  • Click on the Trust Center tab in the window opens.
  • Now click on the Trust Center Settings
  • Click on the Attachment Handling tab and uncheck the Turn off Attachment Preview
  • Now click on the Attachment and Document Previewers
  • Make sure the PDF Preview Handler box is checked.
  • Now click on the OK buttons on all the windows and restart Outlook.

Method 3: Install the Latest Adobe Reader Version

If you are using an outdated Adobe Reader version, then it may cause cannot preview PDF in Outlook issue. You can update the Adobe Reader with the below instructions,

  • Open the Adobe Reader
  • Click on Help in the menu bar and click on Check for Updates.
  • If any update is found, follow the instructions to download and install them.
  • Once the update is complete, ensure Adobe Reader is the default PDF reader.

Method 4: Delete Temporary or Cache Files

If your temporary or cache file related to the PDF file is having issues, then you will face unable to preview PDF in Outlook. You can delete these files to solve the issue. Follow the steps below to do this,

  • Press Windows + R keys to open the Run dialogue box.
  • Type %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook\ and press Enter
  • Delete all the files and folders in the path.
  • Open the Run dialogue box again and type %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\ and press Enter
  • Open the RoamCache folder and remove the files from the folder.

Note: Make sure to back up the file before removing them.

Method 5: Modify Registry Files

A common reason for the PDF preview handler error is issued with registry files. The issues can be either an incorrect registry setting or a corrupted or missing registry file. You can follow the below steps to overcome these issues,

  • Press Windows + R keys to open the Run dialogue box.
  • Now type regedit and press Enter
  • Click on Yes to open the Registry Editor with administrator privilege.
  • In the window, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > ​SOFTWARE > ​Microsoft > ​Windows > ​CurrentVersion > ​PreviewHandlers.
  • Now check the following string value and data value,
String Value Data Value
{00020827-0000-0000-C000-000000000046} Microsoft Excel previewer
{21E17C2F-AD3A-4b89-841F-09CFE02D16B7} Microsoft Visio previewer
{65235197-874B-4A07-BDC5-E65EA825B718} Microsoft PowerPoint previewer
{84F66100-FF7C-4fb4-B0C0-02CD7FB668FE} Microsoft Word previewer
{DC6EFB56-9CFA-464D-8880-44885D7DC193} Adobe PDF Preview Handler for Vista
  • If any of them is missing, right-click on the window and go to New > String Value.
  • Double-click on the String Value and enter the Data Value of the missing string value and click on OK.
  • Right-click on the string value and select Rename and give the missing String Value.
  • Exit the editor and restart the system.

If you are Registry file is missing or corrupted then follow the below steps as well,

  • From the Registry Editor, go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Classes\CLSID\{DC6EFB56-9CFA-464D-8880-44885D7DC193.
  • In the location, double click on AppID and change the value to {534A1E02-D58F-44f0-B58B-36CBED287C7C} and click on OK.
  • Exit the editor and restart the system.

Method 6: Repair Outlook Application

There is a built-in tool to repair errors in the Microsoft suite application. You can use this tool to repair any issues in the Outlook applications. Follow the instructions below to use the tool,

  • Open Settings from the Start
  • Now click on the Apps tab in Settings.
  • Click on Installed Apps and search for Microsoft 365.
  • Now click on the three dots beside the Microsoft 365 – en-us and click on Modify.
  • Now select the repair option and click on Repair, and again click on Repair to start the process.
  • Once the repair is completed, please restart the Outlook application.

Method 7: Repair Corrupted PST File

A corrupt PST file is a reason that can cause most of the issues in Outlook. Hence it is crucial to repair corrupt PST files. You can find two repair options below.

Steps to Use ScanPST Tool

The easiest way to repair corrupt PST files is to use the ScanPST tool. This is a built-in repair tool by Microsoft to handle Outlook data file errors. Below are the steps to use the Inbox repair tool,

  • Go to the location of the ScanPST tool and double-click on the scanpst.exe file.
  • In the ScanPST tool, click on the Browse button to choose the corrupt PST file.
  • Now click on the Start button to begin the scan process.
  • Once the scan is complete, click on the Repair button to fix any errors found.
  • Click on OK once the repair is complete.

Steps to Use SFWare PST Repair Tool

We recommend you use the SFWare PST Repair tool, a user-friendly tool designed to handle issues in Outlook data files – both PST and OST files. You can follow the below instructions to use the tool,

Free Download for Windows

  • Download and install the SFWare PST Repair tool.
  • Open the software and click on Open PST File from the window.

  • Click on Browse on the next screen to open the corrupted PST file.

  • Click on Next and select a scanning method.
  • Now click on Browse to provide a location to save the repaired file.

  • Click on the Repair button to start the process.
  • Once the process is complete, you can preview the result in an Outlook-styled browser.
  • If you are satisfied with the repair, then save the file.


You may face unable to preview PDF in Outlook every now and then, which is a frustrating scenario. In this article, we have discussed the common reasons in the beginning. Afterward, we looked at some repair solutions to deal with different reasons. Ultimately, we gave you two options to repair corrupt PST files, which is a common reason for most Outlook issues.

If you find this article helpful let us know in the comment box.

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