If you are having trouble viewing PDFs in Blackboard (either the whole PDF doesn’t load, or only the first page loads), try the following options:

Option 1

If PDF documents don't load completely and only the first page is displayed, see if there is a link at the top of the window to open the document in a new tab or as a new file (the link may not be there depending on how the file was made available).

Link to open PDF as a file

Option 2

Switch to using the Firefox browser. If you don’t already have Firefox installed, go to the Firefox website to download it:

Get the latest Firefox browser

It's recommended that you have at least two browsers available on your system to use in case you have problems with apps in one of them.

If you need assistance with moving your bookmarks and other browser data from Chrome to Firefox, please contact Student IT:

Tel +64 3 479 5170
Email studentit@otago.ac.nz
Web message on Facebook

If you are a staff member, contact AskOtago:

Tel +64 3 479 7000 or 0800 80 80 98
Email askotago.it@otago.ac.nz

Option 3

Save the link to the document to your computer, and open from there. 

  1. Right click on the document link and select "Save Link As".
  2. Select a location on your computer to save the link to the document.

You should now be able to open the PDF from the saved link, either in your browser or by using your computer's PDF reader.

Option 4

Download the PDF files using Chrome and open them in a PDF reader app on your computer such as Adobe Acrobat Reader DC:

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC

PDFs opened in Chrome can normally be downloaded using the down-arrow icon in the top-right corner of the toolbar, but if the document only partially loads then the toolbar may not display. In this case you will need to temporarily set Chrome to download PDFs automatically:

  1. Click the triple dots in the top-right corner of Chrome, then choose Settings from the menu.

    Settings option in Chrome
  2. Go to the bottom of the page of options and click Advanced.
  3. In the Privacy and security section click Site Settings.
  4. Find and click PDF Documents in the list.
  5. Toggle the setting for Download PDF files instead of automatically opening them in Chrome to On - the toggle will turn blue when On.

    Setting to download PDF files in Chrome set to Off

In general, it is safer not to automatically download PDF files for security reasons so after you’ve downloaded the PDF you want to read, you should go back and change the Download PDF files instead of automatically opening them in Chrome setting to Off again (the toggle will be gray when Off).

Option 5

Windows users can install the Acrobat Reader Chrome Extension which will save you from having to change Chrome’s security settings as above. You will be given the option to add this extension when installing Adobe Acrobat Reader DC itself but if you already have Acrobat Reader installed, you can download the extension by itself from Chrome Web Store:

Chrome Web Store - Adobe Acrobat

Once the extension is installed, if a PDF fails load properly in Chrome:

  1. Click the Adobe Acrobat icon in the top-right of your browser window.
  2. Select Open in Acrobat.

    Option to open PDF with Acrobat in Chrome
  3. The PDF will download and display in a strip along the bottom of Chrome’s window.
  4. Click on this strip - the PDF will open in a new tab in Chrome and should now display fully.
  5. In the unlikely event that the PDF still doesn’t load completely in Chrome, go to your Downloads folder and double-click the file to open it in Adobe Reader (or your default app for viewing PDFs).
Last updated 02/10/2020 10.28 AM

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