The Portable Document Format is independent from any application software, hardware, and operating systems. It is mainly used to present documents (text files and images). It is undeniable that the frequent use of PDF file increases the possibility of its loss. Thus, I’d like to show you how to recover PDF file here.

Developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated, Adobe Acrobat is used widely throughout the world to create and save documents in PDF format. Well, accidents are always around us:

  • When editing PDF file in Adobe Acrobat, you may come across sudden power outage or unexpected shutdown of program, resulting in information loss.
  • Even if you finished modifying a PDF file completely and saved it into computer local drive, you may delete it by mistake.
  • Sometimes, everything seems to be ok and you have done nothing wrong, but PDF file still disappear due to other reasons like virus attack.

Noticing this, I decide the theme of today’s article – help people recover PDF file in different cases. You don’t want to be stuck in PDF file loss situations and desperately aware that how to recover a PDF file is a tough issue for you, right?

recover PDF file

  1. I will introduce a reliable PDF recovery tool to you in the following content.
  2. Then, I’ll mainly focus on telling you how to recover accidentally deleted PDF files, how to repair corrupted PDF file with third-party software and how to recover unsaved Adobe files one by one.
  3. Afterwards, I’ll show you a special case: recover not saved PDF file after you edited the content in Microsoft Word but failed in saving the file as PDF in the last step.

Recover PDF File with Third-party Recovery Software

No matter your PDF file is lost due to accidental deletion, virus invasion to computer or unexpected damage, you’ve got chance to complete PDF file recovery all by yourself.

I suggest you download installation program of MiniTool Power Data Recovery Trial Edition immediately when you’re looking at this article. Why? The reasons are really simple:

  • It will not charge you any fees.
  • It supports files in almost all common formats.
  • It can be used in various Windows operating systems.

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MiniTool Power Data Recovery

Now, let’s learn how to recover a PDF file lost due to different reasons.

How to Recover a Deleted PDF Document

I have made the astonishingly painful discovery that the PDF files i deleted do not appear in the recycle bin. Where are they? What can i do for the future as far as having deleted PDF files going where I would expect them to go? Thanks– from dzemel on Acrobat Users’ Forum

This user has deleted some PDF files, but now he can’t find them in recycle bin when he needs to use them. At this time, our suggestion is selecting the Logical Drives tab of recommended PDF recovery tool.

Click here if you are interested in Recycle Bin recovery.

Recovery steps:

Step 1: run the tool and select Logical Drives from its main window (actually, it will be selected by default; you only need to keep it unchanged).

This PC in main window

Step 2: select the drive which was used to store deleted PDF file, and then click on the Scan button at the lower right corner.

Step 3: look through the scan results and choose the PDF file you’re searching for to recover by pressing the Save button.

choose the PDF file

Step 4: set a storage path for those files and click on the OK to confirm (please don’t save the recovered files to its original drive).

Please note:

If too many files are found by Power Data Recovery, it would be difficult to browse the scan result one by one. At this time, you can turn to Find or Filter function to narrow the search range.

narrow the search range

  • How to use Find: if you can remember the exact/probable name of deleted PDF file, please click on the Find option and type the file name into textbox. Then, click on the Find button on the right side.
  • How to use Filter: if you totally forget about the name, you can click on the Filter option and then choose to find file by file extension, file size, file creation date or file modification date. At last, press OK button to confirm.

By the way, MiniTool Power Data Recovery could also be a good choice when you need to recover other files deleted permanently in Windows.

Besides, if your hard drive or removable disk has been attacked by virus and it has deleted some vital files from your device, you are suggested to read To Recover Files Deleted By Virus Attack – It’s All Too Easy to know more detailed tutorial on how to recover data after virus attack.

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How to Repair Corrupted PDF File

Imagine this: you have saved all of your important PDF files into a folder. You used them frequently, but when you tried to open the drive containing that folder as usual, you failed, getting an error said that the drive is not accessible (for instance, the volume does not contain a recognized file system). You will certainly be heartbroken, right? No matter this is caused by virus attacks or improper operations, you can regain files.

How to recover Adobe Acrobat file at this time? Our suggestion is selecting the Devices.

Recovery steps:

  1. Run the tool and click on Devices at the top.
  2. Select the inaccessible drive that you used to store the important PDF files. After that, click on the Scan button to detect files in the drive which you can’t access.
  3. When the scan is over, you’ll see the software interface full of scan results. Now, you’re supposed to pick out all the files you want to recover from inaccessible drive and then click on the Save button to set a safe storage path.
  4. When all the files you selected have been recovered by software successfully, a prompt will appear, informing you that the recovery is finished and you can now close the software and go to corresponding place to check.

drive is not accessible

How To Recover Corrupted Files Efficiently To Minimize Losses?

How to Recover Unsaved PDF File

Recover lost document quickly by using MiniTool Power Data Recovery.

  1. Launch the software.
  2. Choose an option from the left side of main window according to actual needs.
  3. Select the drive which contains lost PDF document.
  4. Click on the Scan button to search for unsaved PDF files.
  5. Browse the scan result and pick out the PDF files you’d like to recover.
  6. Click on the Save button.
  7. Set a storage path for the files waiting to be recovered (don’t choose the drive you selected to scan).
  8. Put an end to the recovery work when you see the successful prompt.

Please note:

This data recovery software is also helpful when you need to recover a lost Word document or restore a deleted or lost PowerPoint file.

Recover PDF File without Software

Some people would ask – does Adobe Acrobat have a similar AutoSave function like Microsoft Word. Certainly, the answer is “yes”. It does have an AutoSave feature.

How do I retrieve a PDF when it shuts down without my saving it? I was right in the middle of a document that I had been working on all afternoon and when I went to sign it, the program shut down! I can't figure out how to retrieve an unsaved document like I could with WORD.– from tlstarkey on Adobe Forums

The program shuts down accidentally sometimes when users plan to sign it. And they need to figure out a way to recover unsaved PDF file just like in Word document. The AutoSave function may help a lot. But where the Acrobat AutoSave location is? How to recover PDF file not saved yet when program crashes? Please keep reading.

Step 1: Check the File

If you want to recover Adobe file after crash, the first step is checking whether you can find the unsaved PDF file that's important to you (Adobe Acrobat XI Pro is used in test ):

  1. Open computer.
  2. Double click on Local Disk (C:).
  3. Open Users folder.
  4. Choose the current login account.
  5. Click on the AppData.
  6. Choose to open Local.
  7. Double click on Adobe.
  8. Choose Acrobat folder.
  9. Open 0.
  10. Open Cache folder to check whether your needed PDF file is here.

open Cache

Please note:

  • You may also choose to open Roaming after clicking on AppData. After that, click on Adobe, Acrobat, Distiller 11 and Cache in order.
  • If you can’t find AppData folder after choosing the current account, you may go to check the view settings to see whether it is hidden: click on the Tools in menu bar -> choose Folder options… -> navigate to View interface -> check Show hidden files, folders, and drives, instead of Don’t show hidden files, folders, or drives -> click on the OK to confirm.

open Roaming

Show hidden files, folders, and drives

By the way, I advise you to change the time interval of AutoSave under Save Settings before accidents occur.

  1. Click Edit from menu bar
  2. Choose Preferences… from submenu
  3. Navigate to Documents and change the time interval.

change the time interval

According to search, I have found many people prefer to edit information in Microsoft Word and then save the document as a PDF file at the end; this is mainly because they’re more familiar with Word. So, when Microsoft Word crashes, how to recover unsaved PDF file becomes an annoying problem to them.

  • The AutoSave feature in Adobe Acrobat is not going to help when you close files manually and tell it not to save the changes.
  • On the contrary, it’s designed to help people carry out recovery when the Adobe program crashes unexpectedly.

Secondly, if above method failed or you’re using Microsoft Word to edit the PDF files, you can also try the AutoSave function in Microsoft Word to recover unsaved PDF files. Here’s how to use the AutoSave function of Microsoft Word to recover unsaved changes in document.

  1. Create a new word document and click on File, Options, and Save successively in it.
  2. In the pop-up Word Options window, you’re able to see Save AutoRecover information every * minutes and Keep the last autosaved version if I close without saving option. More importantly, you're able to know the specific AutoSave file location.
  3. So now, you can go to the location to check whether your unsaved file is here or not.
  4. If it’s here, you can click to open it and then save it to another place.

check AutoSave file

Click here to know more details on recovering unsaved Word document with auto-save.

Note: As for how to recover unsaved PDF file on Mac without software, the method is similar. If you want to recover unsaved adobe acrobat file on Mac with third-party tool, you’ll need to resort to Stellar Data Recovery for Mac.

Thirdly, provided that you have saved the files before they get lost because of improper actions, virus attack, or other reasons, you can also try to recover PDF files from Recycle Bin.

How to recover files from Recycle Bin:

  1. Open the Recycle Bin.
  2. Browse and select the PDF files.
  3. Right click on the highlighted area.
  4. Choose Restore.

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Bottom Line

Certainly, you may lose important PDF files sometimes due to various reasons, like accidental deletion, virus attack and unexpected shut down of Adobe program. But the viewpoint I mainly want to express here is you can recover PDF file in different cases with different methods.

You can recover the accidentally deleted PDF file and recover PDF file from missing partition/virus attacked computer easily with MiniTool Power Data Recovery; you can recover Adobe file after crash happens with the help of its AutoSave feature; you can also turn to the AutoSave function of Microsoft Word or MiniTool Power Data Recovery if you finished editing a Word document and failed in saving it as a PDF.

All in all, as long as you choose the most suitable PDF recovery tool, you can regain lost PDF file quickly without obstacle.

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