How To Recover PDF File In Different Cases With Free Tool

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, we decide the theme of this 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?

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We'll introduce a free but reliable PDF recovery tool to you in the following content. Then, we'll mainly focus on telling you how to recover accidentally deleted PDF files, how to repair corrupted PDF file with free software and how to recover unsaved Adobe files one by one. Afterwards, we'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 Free PDF 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.

We suggest you to download free edition of MiniTool Power Data Recovery immediately when you're looking at this article. Why? The reasons are really simple: it will not charge you any fees until the total size of files you recovered exceeds 1GB; it supports the recovery of files in almost all common formats and can be used in all Windows operating systems.




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 using the "Undelete Recovery" module of recommended PDF recovery tool.

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Recovery steps:

Step 1: run the tool and click on "Undelete Recovery" from its main window.

Step 2: select the drive which was used to store deleted PDF file, and then click on "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 "Save" button.

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


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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.


How to use "Find": if you can remember the exact/probable name of deleted PDF file, please click on "Find" in toolbar and type the file name into textbox. Then, click on "Find" button on the right side.

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How to use "Filter": if you totally forget about the name, you can turn click on "Filter" in toolbar 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.

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

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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. 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 using the "Damaged Partition Recovery" module.

Recovery steps:

Step 1: run the tool and click on "Damaged Partition Recovery" from the main window.

Step 2: select the inaccessible drive that you used to store the important PDF files. After that, click on "Full Scan" button to detect files in inaccessible drive.

Step 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 "Save" button to set a safe storage path.

Step 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.


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If you also find many other files that you want to recover and the total size of them is larger than 1GB, you may need to buy a license to continue.



recommend Top Recommendation

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.


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.

However, this AutoSave feature is not going to help when you close files manually and tell Acrobat not to save the changes; on the contrary, it's designed to help people carry out recovery when the Adobe program crashes unexpectedly. If you're in the first situation, we're sorry to tell you that you have lost your changes.

Today, our focus will be put on where the Acrobat AutoSave location is and how to recover PDF file not saved yet when program crashes.

How to Recover Adobe File after Crash


"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


This user said his program shuts down accidentally when he plans to sign it. Now, he needs to figure out a way to recover unsaved PDF file just like in Word document.

Certainly, there's chance he can achieve this goal with the help of AutoSave function.

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note You can click "Edit" from menu bar, choose "Preferences…" from submenu and navigate to "Documents" to change the time interval of AutoSave under "Save Settings".

Please follow this path to see whether you can find the unsaved PDF file that is important to you (Adobe Acrobat XI Pro is used in test):

Open computer -> double click "Local Disk (C:)" -> open "Users" folder -> choose the current login account -> click on "AppData" -> choose to open "Local" -> double click "Adobe" -> choose "Acrobat" folder -> open "11.0" -> open "Cache" folder to check whether your needed PDF file is here.


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note You may also choose to open "Roaming" after clicking on "AppData". After that, click on "Adobe", "Acrobat", "Distiller 11" and "Cache" in order.

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note 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 "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 "OK" to confirm.

"Tools" may be missing from menu bar sometimes, so please click here to know how to show it in menu bar when it disappears.

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How to Recover PDF File Not Saved Yet


According to search, we 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.

Here, we'd like to tell you that you can try the following 2 ways to recover lost word document by yourself.

solution 1 The first one is using MiniTool Power Data Recovery to recover deleted/lost document quickly.

Launch the software -> choose a module from main window according to actual needs (for example, if you've deleted the document by mistake, please choose "Undelete Recovery") -> select the drive which contains lost word document -> click on "Scan" or "Full Scan" button to search for needed files -> browse the scan result and pick out the word document you'd like to recover -> click on "Save" button -> set a storage path for the files waiting to be recovered (don't choose the drive you selected to scan) -> end the recovery work when you see the successful prompt.


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recommend Top Recommendation

If you're interested in knowing more details on how to recover a Word document, please read Ultimate Guide On How To Recover A Word Document.


solution 2 The second one is using the AutoSave function of Microsoft Word to recover unsaved changes in document.

Create a new word document and click "File" -> "Options" -> "Save" successively in it. 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". So now, you can go to the location to check whether your unsaved file is here or not. If it's here, you can click to open it and then save it to another place.


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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 MiniTool Mac Data Recovery.

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Extension of Content

PDF, short for Portable Document Format, is a kind of electronic file format; it is independent from operating systems, applications and hardware. In other words, PDF file is universal in Windows, Unix and Apple's Mac OS. This makes PDF an ideal file format for electronic document distribution and digital information dissemination over the Internet. With PDF, we can package text, font, format, color, and graphic image (which is independent from device and resolution) in a file.

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There're 3 elements for PDF format:
  • PostScript language: a PDF file is created on the basis of PostScript language image model.
  • Font embedded system: this makes it possible to transmit fonts with the file.
  • Structured storage system: this is used to bind these elements and any related content to a single file; it has appropriate data compression system.

With the help of PDF, accurate color and printing effect can be guaranteed on any printer. In other words, PDF is able to reproduce every character, color and image of original document thoroughly. And as a new electronic file form, PDF can be sent via emails and be stored on the enterprise intranet, file system or CD-ROM.

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 we mainly want to express here is we 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.

Common problems related to partition recovery and our solutions: