Can't open or preview .PDF attachment in Outlook

Last reviewed on July 16, 2014   —  17 comments

When you attempt to view a PDF file in the reading pane and receive the following error message

This file cannot be previewed because of an error with the following previewer
PDF Preview Handler

It means a value in your registry is missing or corrupt. You can fix it by editing the registry.

  1. Press Windows key + R to open the Run command
  2. Type regedit and press Enter to open the Registry Editor
  3. Browse to the following registry key and add the AppID value {534A1E02-D58F-44f0-B58B-36CBED287C7C}

Note: if AppID string value does not exist, you need to create it.

Alternately, you can copy and paste the registry values below into Notepad, save the file with a .reg extension then double click to run it.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

Do It For Me

Don't want to edit the registry yourself? Download the following registry file and double click to run it. It works with all 64-bit versions of Windows.


About Diane Poremsky

Diane Poremsky
A Microsoft Outlook Most Valuable Professional (MVP) since 1999, Diane is the author of several books, including Outlook 2013 Absolute Beginners Book. She also created video training CDs and online training classes for Microsoft Outlook. You can find her helping people online in Outlook Forums as well as in the Microsoft Answers and TechNet forums.

Please post long or more complicated questions at Outlook forums by

17 responses to “Can't open or preview .PDF attachment in Outlook”

  1. Simon

    Nice one Diane - this worked perfectly on my system

  2. TJ Liston

    the "do-it for me" file is not an executable file, it opens and has the cut and paste option.
    Is it meant to be an automatic download and install or just the cut and paste version of the info.thanks

    1. Diane Poremsky

      It depends on which browser you are using. If it won't download as a reg file on click, right click and choose Save Target as or Save link as. Internet Explorer & Chrome will save it as a reg file but if using Firefox, you'll need to change the extension to reg after downloading then double click to run it.

  3. TJ Liston

    Ok, that file extension is already there. I used to be able to open PDF files in outlook, I can save them and then open them but for some reason now I can't open them directly from outlook. Nothing happens when I click on it, no other program pops up to try either. If I go to start menu and go to default programs Adobe is not listed there. Any other help options?

    1. Diane Poremsky

      What version of Windows and Outlook?
      Right click on a PDF file in Windows and choose Open with > Choose Default application and select something else, then repeat and choose Acrobat or Adobe Reader.

  4. Isaac Savion

    Hi Diane, I have the same issue; the file extension is already there ("AppID"="{534A1E02-D58F-44f0-B58B-36CBED287C7C}"). any other trick that might help?

    Thank you,

    1. Diane Poremsky

      Which PDf reader or application do you have installed? You need a current version of Adobe Reader.

  5. Isaac Savion

    I'm using Adobe Reader XI \Reader 11.0. running on Win8/64bit.

    Thank you,

    1. Diane Poremsky

      That *should* work. I'll see what i can find out.

    2. José Ayres

      More than 1 year later... and havung the same issue. Everywhere I go the same solution, but... it doesn't work :( Any other ideas? Office 2013 and Adobe Reader XI/Win7/64Bit
      Thanks in advance...

    3. Diane Poremsky

      No, no ideas. It *should* work - you have the latest Reader. Is preview enabled in File, Options, Trust center, attachment handling?

  6. minos8

    Hi, here my .reg file who solved my same problem.
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

    "DisplayName"="@C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Reader 11.0\Reader\pdfprevhndlr.dll,-101"
    @="Adobe PDF Preview Handler for Vista"

    @="C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Reader 11.0\Reader\pdfprevhndlr.dll"




    "DisplayName"="@C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Reader 11.0\Reader\pdfprevhndlr.dll,-101"
    @="Adobe PDF Preview Handler for Vista"

    @="C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Reader 11.0\Reader\pdfprevhndlr.dll"




  7. Gianluca

    I upgraded to Acrobat reader 11 and started having this issue. I uninstalled 11 and installed 9 (all available here but also on other sites if you search on google). Then I installed this and all works fine
    Hope this helps. I had this issue in the past, always tempted to upgrade AR but in the end all version works fine to read a pdf

  8. TechNotch

    I have a PDF Complete on outlook 2010, this registry edit fixed it! thanks!

  9. M

    Outlook gives the following message when I single click on a pdf file: this file cannot be previewed because of an error with the following preview - PDF. I had previously upgraded to Adobe Reader XI and that is when it started. I was previously using Adobe Acrobat (full version). Solved this problem by doing the following:
    1. Open Adoboe Reader XI.
    2. Select Edit, Preferences.
    3. Select General in the Categories list.
    4. Click on Select Default PDF Handler.
    5. Adobe Reader XI (11.0.10) should already be selected, but if not select it.
    6. Click Apply
    7. Follow the prompts.
    8. Click OK.

    Then go back to MS Outlook and single click a pdf. It should now be visible in the preview pane.

  10. choccysar

    Tried all of the above and still doesn't work. It's only some pdf's (2 suppliers out of about 50 I guess) won't open. Very frustrating as can't view or print invoices from some suppliers but can from most. Any other ideas - have also tried uninstalling/reinstalling and nothing works for these two suppliers - is there a way of checking block list in case it's something like that? Doesn't let me save them either. Thanks in advance.

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