Why can’t I save a PDF?

A woman sitting at a desk saves a PDF on her computer.

Don’t let all your hard work go to waste. Learn about some of the most common issues with saving a PDF and how to fix them.

You might find yourself asking, “Why can’t I save a PDF?” because no matter how many times you click the Save button, it never seems to work. You may need to update software, change storage settings, or make other adjustments in order to properly save your file. Here are some of the most common save-related issues and how to fix them. Changes can be made in seconds with the following guidelines.

A PDF save isn’t working? These are common reasons why.

When you are finished with a project, being able to save it quickly is important so that you can move on to your next one. You may need to update your editing software, change your storage settings, or use an online PDF converter.

Is there a difference between “Save” and “Save as”?

When you “Save” a file, you are updating the content to be current and replacing the last saved file. When you “Save as,” a new folder is created or the existing file is saved to a new location with the same name or a different title.

Options to try if you can’t save PDF files.

Saving your projects is important so that you can either share them or reference them later. When a PDF doesn’t save, it can be frustrating, but don’t get too discouraged. If you can’t save a PDF, try the following options.

1. If your PDF won’t save, update the PDF editing software.

Like any type of software, your PDF reader or editor needs updates occasionally. Make sure your PDF editing software is up to date by visiting the Adobe Acrobat website and downloading the latest version.

2. Change storage settings if your PDF won’t save.

Your PDF editor or reader might not know where to send your saved files, meaning they won’t save anywhere. To fix the problem, follow these steps:

  1. Open the file in Acrobat.
  2. Click Acrobat and choose Preferences at the bottom of the dropdown menu.
  3. In the Preferences panel, select General and check the box beside “Show online storage when saving files.”
  4. Press OK.

This correction to your storage settings may allow you to finally save your PDF.

3. Use an online PDF converter if your PDF won’t save.

If your PDF still won’t save after testing these fixes, try a workaround using an online PDF converter like Adobe Acrobat online services. Just follow these steps:

  1. Open the unsavable PDF.
  2. Copy the content into a Word document or other file type and save it to your device.
  3. Visit the Acrobat online services website.
  4. Upload the new file.
  5. Convert the file to PDF.
  6. Download the new PDF.

Whatever the problem was with your original PDF, you should be able to edit and save the new PDF as usual.

Why is “Save as” not working in Adobe Acrobat?

If the Adobe Acrobat “Save as” button is not working, try the following:

  1. Go to Preferences in Acrobat.
  2. Look under General.
  3. Turn off “Show online storage when saving files.”

For Acrobat Reader, you can also try modifying the display settings if the Adobe “Save as” is not working:

  1. Open Acrobat Reader and go to the Edit menu. Choose Preferences.
  2. In the left panel window, choose Internet and uncheck the “Allow fast web view.”
  3. Click OK, then restart Adobe Reader.

Why can’t I save a PDF after editing?

While not being able to save a file after editing could be due to missing updates, there are other settings that may need to be adjusted. The file might be “Read-only” or being used by someone else. Use the following steps to verify if it is a “Read-only” file:

  1. Right-click your PDF and choose Properties.
  2. Make sure the Read-only box is not checked.

If the file was opened in a network storage place used by multiple users, ensure that it was not opened by someone else.

Why can’t I save a PDF file someone else sent me?

If someone puts a passcode on a PDF, you may not be able to save it. In this case, you will need to contact the document owner. When they remove the password, you can save the document.

What if my PDF won’t save because it’s locked?

There may be a passcode on the document. In order to unlock it, try the following steps if you know the password:

  1. Go to the folder where the locked PDF is located.
  2. Open the locked document using Adobe Acrobat.
  3. Type in the correct password, and you will gain access to the file.

If you want to remove the password from the document, follow these steps:

  1. After you have unlocked the file, click File.
  2. Click Info > Protect Document > Encrypt with Password.
  3. The password box will then be displayed. Clear the password until it is empty.
  4. Click OK.

Other troubleshooting resources for PDFs.

Adobe Acrobat has all the tools you need to make your important documents presentation-ready. Now that you’ve hopefully fixed the frustrating issue of the PDF “Save as” feature not working, here are other issues you may run into that we’ve created guides for:

  1. Learn what to do if your PDF won’t open.
  2. Browser opening your PDFs? Check out this guide: Why do my PDFs open in Chrome or other browsers?
  3. Learn how to black out text in PDF files.
  4. Change the default PDF viewer.

Discover what more you can do with Acrobat to edit, save, and organize your PDF files.