Usage Manual for PDF Recovery Toolbox

PDF Recovery Toolbox (download) is intended for recovering damaged *.pdf files. This document format is extremely popular for both online and offline use and is often utilized for storing valuable information. The current version of the program can recover the following:

  • PDF file parameters. PDF files contain information about their version and page sizes. If the recovery of page parameters is impossible, you can add these parameters manually.
  • The structure of PDF files. PDF documents contain tables of internal cross-links that are part of the main document structure. If these tables are damaged, the document may appear unreadable. The software is capable or recovering these data and links used in them.
  • Fonts and other metadata. Fonts and other metadata can be integrated into PDF documents for their correct rendering. The program is capable of restoring these data in the majority of cases.
  • Contents of PDF files. You can recover texts, graphics and forms used in the document.

Recovery of damaged PDF files is carried out in several steps:

  1. Selection of a damaged file
  2. Configuration of program settings (non-mandatory)
  3. Analysis of document parameters, structure and content
  4. Selection of an output file
  5. Selection of the format of the output file
  6. Document recovery and saving
  7. Revision of the recovery log

You can exit the program at any moment by selecting File | Exit in the menu, pressing the Exit button located in the lower right corner of the program window or by closing the window using the standard Close button in the title bar. If you quit the program at stages 1-4, the recovery process will be interrupted and the recovered document will not be saved. If you used the Exit button to close the program, you will see a confirmation window titled Do you want to finish recovery? Pressing Yes will close the program. If you press No, you will be able to continue working with the document. If you close the program in a different way (menu or title bar button), you will see no prompts.

Once you have finished recovering your pdf file at stage 7, you can exit the program by pressing the Finish button. You can also press the Back button located to the left of the exit button at any stage (except for stage 1) to go back and change any of the previously specified parameters. For instance, you can use this button to start recovering another pdf document.

To learn more about the program, you can download the trial version that has all the features of the full version, but only saves the first page of the source file. The rest of the pages will have a DEMO watermark.

Let's see how a PDF document can be recovered using PDF Recovery Toolbox.

1. - Selection of a damaged file

Figure 1.

The file opening dialog is shown immediately after PDF Recovery Toolbox starts and allows you to select the file to be recovered in one of the following ways:

  1. Enter the file name and path into the Source file name (.pdf): field with a dropdown list located in the main working area of the program. When the file name and path are entered, the field is automatically populated with information from the list of files you have already worked with. The autocomplete feature uses the name of the most recently opened file matching the information being entered.
  2. Selecting the file to be recovered using the standard file opening dialog. This dialog can be opened by pressing the Open button located to the right of the Source file name (.pdf) field with a dropdown list. When opened for the first time, the dialog uses the default PDF Recovery Toolbox installation folder. In all other cases, the dialog will start in the folder specified in the input field or the most recent folder opened using the dialog.
  3. Selecting a recently opened file from the dropdown list of the Source file name (.pdf) field. The software saves the names and paths of the files it worked with and enables you to re-open them quickly. If necessary, you can clear the list of files using the Tools | Clear lists | Source files command.

Once you have chosen the file to be recovered, it is recommended to check and modify the program's recovery settings, if necessary. The settings window can be opened by the Tools | Options. command. Program settings of PDF Recovery Toolbox are described in chapter 2.

There is a button labeled Send a file to developers in the lower part of the screen that allows you to send a pdf file to the authors of PDF Recovery Toolbox for detailed analysis. You can also send a file at any time using the Tools | Send source file command.

Once you have chosen the document and configured its recovery parameters, press the Analyze button at the bottom of the program window. The analysis process is described in chapter 3.

If the program is unable to find the document at the specified location, you will see the following message: Please select an existing file to recover. In this case, the program will not proceed to the next step.

Go Top

2. - Configuring the program settings

The settings dialog is used for configuring pdf recovery parameters and can be opened at any time.

This step of the recovery process in optional. However, we recommend checking the recovery parameters and modifying them, if needed, prior to starting the work with your document. The dialog can be opened at any time using the Tools | Options. menu item.

The recovery parameters dialog consists of the following parts:

  1. Corrupted streams. Some pdf documents may contain stream data. To save these data into the output file, you need to enable the Save corrupted streams in PDF file option. If the final result does not meet your expectations, you can repeat the process with this option enabled.
  2. Paper format. Due to some peculiarities of the pdf file structure, you need to explicitly specify the size of paper sheets used in the document for their correct rendering and printing. This section enables you to specify the paper format to be used in the recovered document by default if the software fails to read this information from the source file.
  3. You can use a dropdown field on the left to select one of the standard page sizes - A4 (8,3 x 11,7 inches), Letter (8,5 x 11 inches) or specify a custom format (). If you choose one of the standard page sizes, you can also set the necessary page orientation in the right field - Portrait or Landscape.
  4. When using non-standard page sizes, the ability to set sheet orientation will be disabled. However, you will be able to enter custom page dimensions (Width and Height) in units specified in the Units dropdown list - inches or centimeters.

The default settings are:

  • Save corrupted streams in PDF file - option enabled
  • Page size - Letter (8,5 x 11 inches)
  • Page orientation - Portrait
  • Width: - 8.5 (the field is inactive by default)
  • Height: - 11 (the field is inactive by default)
  • Units: - inch

If you need to go back to the default settings, you can use the Set defaults button. Once the settings have been set, you can go back to the original dialog by pressing OK or closing the dialog window using the standard Close button in the title bar.

Once these parameters have been set, the program saves them and uses in the future, even after the program is restarted.

Go Top

3. - Analysis of document parameters, structure and content

Figure 2.

After you have selected the file to be recovered and pressed the Analyze button (stage 1), the program proceeds to the document analysis stage.

This stage is completely automated. However, you can always go back to the file selection stage using the Back button at the bottom of the window or exit the program using the Exit button or the File | Exit command in the main menu.

PDF Recovery Toolbox performs the following actions during the document analysis process:

  • Reads the document structure, detects the offsets that mark the beginning of cross-link tables, identifies them and other document parameters.
  • Extracts the page format data from the document. If the program fails to read this information, it uses the page parameters specified in the program settings.
  • Reads the information about cross-links in the document. PDF documents use internal cross-links that form their structure.
  • Identifies metadata inside the document. Some PDF files contain document-specific fonts. The software is capable of extracting these data for saving to the output file.

    Reads text data from the file. A considerable part of PDF documents store large volumes of text information.

    Extracts graphics and other media data. Besides texts, documents can also contain vector and bitmap images, forms and multimedia clips.

The following information about the analysis process is displayed in the main part of the program window:

  • The Parsing file taskbar. Apart from the general analysis taskbar, the program also displays the percent value of the analysis process, the volume of processed data and the full size of the file in kilobytes.
  • Information about errors - how many errors it has encountered during the analysis process. If the file data are entirely correct, you will see a No errors found notification in green or a red X errors found warning, where X is the number of errors.

After the analysis process is over, the program automatically proceeds to the output file name and path selection stage.

Go Top

4. - Selection of an output file

Figure 3.

This stage enables you to choose the name and path of the file the recovered information will be saved to.

This file can be specified in one of the following ways:

  • By entering the file name and path into the Please select file name field with a dropdown list located in the main working area of the program. When the window is opened, the list is automatically populated with the following information: the path to the output file identical to the folder the original document was located in; the name of the output file consistsing of the name of the original document with the _repaired suffix added to it. For instance, if the name of the original file is example.pdf, the software will suggest saving the data into a file called example_repaired.pdf located in the same folder.
  • By selecting a file in the dialog. The Open button is located to the right of the dropdown list. You can use it to open the standard folder and file selection dialog. By default, the program suggests creating the output file in the same folder the original file was located in and with a name specified in the dropdown list field.
  • By selecting a file in the dropdown list of the Please select file name field. The program saves the information about previously used files in its settings and populates the dropdown list with file names and paths when the save file dialog is opened. If necessary, the list of previously used files can be cleared using the Tools | Clear lists | Output files command.

The main part of the program window also displays information about the maximum amount of hard drive space that the recovered file may require and the currently available space.

If necessary, you can use the Back button to go back to the file selection stage and choose another file for recovery.

To continue working with the program and proceed to specifying the output file parameters, press the Next in the lower part of the screen after you have selected the name and path of the file. If the program finds a file with this file name in the specified folder, you will see the following standard warning: Selected file already exists. Overwrite? If you press Yes in the warning window, the file will be saved under this name. If No is pressed, the program will go back to the output file selection stage.

Go Top

5. - Selection of the format of the output file

Figure 4.

PDF Recovery Toolbox can save any information read from the source file in any PDF format - from 1.0 (Acrobat Reader 1.0) to 1.7 (Acrobat Reader 8.0). However, don't forget that saving your documents in earlier formats may result in the loss or corruption of certain data that are incompatible with the selected file format.

You can choose the format of the output file using the Select output PDF file version: field with a dropdown list.

When the file format selection window is opened, the program automatically suggests saving the document in the same version of the PDF format the original file had. If the source file was damaged extensively and the program fails to detect its version, it will suggest saving the file in the latest available version of the format (the current version of the program supports PDF 1.7, Acrobat Reader 8.0).

You can also enable file compression for saving files. When compression is enabled, the output file will occupy less space on the hard drive, but the saving process itself may take longer. Check the Enable compression box to turn this feature on.

Once you have chosen the format of the output file, press the Save file button in the lower part of the program window to proceed to the recovery stage.

If necessary, you can go back to the file selection page using the Back button.

Go Top

6. - Document recovery and saving

The process of recovering data and saving them into the output file is fully automated and does not require any input from the user. The software performs the following actions during recovery:

  1. Check and recover. The program copies the previously analyzed structure of the document and its data into the memory and corrects any errors.
  2. Check for obsolete objects. The program checks the data for any obsolete or redundant objects and removes them.
  3. Compress and save objects. The software compresses objects and saved them to the output file specified by the user. During this process, the Abort button in the lower part of the program window becomes active, so you can abort the process at this stage. If the button is pressed, you will see the following prompt: Cancel file saving? If No is pressed, the saving process will continue. If you press Yes, the saving process will be stopped and the program will go to the next stage without saving the objects.
  4. Save XRef section. Saving of internal cross-links.
  5. Save trailer. Saving of the document trailer.

The progress of each of the above steps is shown by the progress bar in the main working area of the program. The line above the bar can display the following information (depending on the currently active action): Saving file., information about the current recovery stage - Processing X of 5, where X is the number of the recovery stage, per cent value of the recovery process and so on. Below the progress bar is a list of recovery stages. The software highlights the current stage and marks the completed stages with a green tick mark. Should the saving of the document objects be cancelled, the Compress and save objects step will be marked by a red cross.

After the recovery process has finished, the program will automatically go to the recovery log.

Go Top

7. - Revision of the recovery log

At this stage, the main working area of the program contains a text block with a report on the current recovery session. It consists of several sections corresponding to each file recovered by the program.

The section contains the following lines:

  • Date and time of the start of the recovery process.
  • The name of the source file and its path - File processed:
  • The number of object read - Read . objects
  • The name of the output file and its path - Destination file:
  • The number of saved objects - Saved . objects
  • A report on the result of file processing: Saving successful if the saving process was successful, Saving cancelled by user if the Abort button was pressed during saving or a recovery error description if one occurred.
  • The date and time of the end of the recovery process.

Once you have looked through the report, you can go back to the file selection page using the Back button or stop working with the program by pressing Finish. When the Finish button is pressed, you will see a window with the following question: Do you want to finish recovery? If you choose Yes, the program will close. If No is selected, you can continue working with the report.

Go Top

Addition: Program menu

The program menu contains the following items:

  • File This item has a sub-item:
    • Exit You can quit the program by choosing this item.
  • Tools This item contains three sub-items:
    • Send source file This feature enables you to send a pdf file to the program authors for analysis.
    • Clear lists Contains two sub-items:
      • Source files Clears the list of source files.
      • Output files Clears the list of output files.
    • Options. Allows you to configure the program parameters related to documents being recovered. For details, please see chapter 2.
  • Help contains the following items:
    • Recovery Toolbox for PDF help Opens the help file.
    • Recovery Toolbox for PDF on the Web Opens the web page of the program in your browser.
    • Buy now Opens the order page and allows you to purchase the program.
    • About Opens the About the program page.

Go Top