Answered By: E-library Team
Last Updated: 04 May, 2016     Views: 41701

When trying to view e-journal articles or files on Blackboard Learn, or from other sources, some files may open inside a browser window but display as a blank, or grey space, or the file may not finish downloading. There are several remedies to try listed below...

1. Open Adobe Reader, go to Edit > Preferences > Internet and either tick, or untick, “Display PDF in browser”. Then close down Adobe Reader so that the setting change takes effect.

Try to open the file again. Depending on your new setting the PDF should open, either inside the browser or, if you selected Open PDF outside the browser, a new Adobe Reader window should open, this time outside the browser with all the content displayed.

2. Alternatively, use a different browser. Firefox is available from the Start menu > All Programs > Central Software folder > Browsers folder > Firefox 24.0 (or later versions). Firefox may report that the Adobe Reader plug-in needs updating - just click on the grey icon to open the PDF. If you still encounter a problem you can also fix it by choosing Tools > Options > Applications tab > look for a drop down for Adobe Reader (or Adobe Acrobat) which should be switched to "Use Adobe Acrobat in Firefox". Refreshing the page will change the behaviour to read the PDF inside the browser frame. 

3. If you still have a problem opening a PDF please also try changing your connection speed setting: open Adobe Reader, go to Edit > Preferences > Internet and under "Internet Options" change the connection speed from 56 Kbps to 112 Kbps.

4. Another thing to try, in Internet Explorer, is to add the host site to the Trusted sites policy, go to Tools > Internet Options > Security tab > Trusted sites (green tick) > Trusted sites button > add the host to the zone, for example *.ingentaconnect.com > click on Add button and Close and OK (server verification is not required). This should permit the download to go ahead next time you download a file from the host.We have done so for Ingenta - see the link to a separate FAQ on this.

5. Look also for pop-up alerts near the top of the browser and enable the pop-up if you trust the site - the publishers' sites that we link to may be trusted as they are known to us. Once the pop-up is enabled, it may open automatically, or you may need to refresh the page you were on.

6. If you see an error message: "Acrobat failed to connect to a DDE server" open Adobe Reader and select Edit > Preference > General, and uncheck “Enable Protected Mode”.

If no solution works for you, please email e-library@brunel.ac.uk with a description of your problem, including the full citation of the article that you are trying to obtain and, if possible, send us a screenshot.

[This answer applies to Adobe Reader versions 9 and X. For Adobe Reader XI it is different: the settings must be changed in IE8 (or IE9). Please note: the default setting on campus is to open PDF files outside the IE8 browser. Note also, on campus, Adobe Reader X opens a PDFaloud alert in a separate pop up box - you should OK this or the PDF may not download successfully.]