What does it mean when a PDF file has “Unable to open” under the document name?

A file may show a red “Unable to open” in place of the page count when the document cannot be opened to obtain the page count. This could have any number of causes, but most likely one of these two issues.

(1 ) The PDF is unreadable, for example:

  • It is password-protected.
  • It is corrupt.
  • It is named with the PDF file extension but is not an actual PDF file.

If it is one of these issues the PDF file(s) may need to be scanned/created and imported again.

(2) The PDF is missing or inaccessible, for example:

  • The Case File was created or stored in a location that does not support Apple’s package file format (e.g. a cloud storage provider such as Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, etc.) it may get corrupted during the saving process. Issues will only manifest when you try to reopen the Case File and work with it again, since the cloud storage provider will corrupt the file during the process of saving and reloading.
  • The Case File was moved, deleted, or is no longer accessible.

If it is one of these issues the Case File may need to be recreated in the On My iPad or iCloud Drive location and then reimport the files. See https://support.litsoftware.com/where-should-i-save-my-case-files

You can press and hold on the Case File to verify that the Where section in Get Info is either On My iPad or iCloud Drive. If it is not one of those options you will need to create a new Case File in one of those supported locations.

We have also seen this issue reported when a firm uses proprietary software to create the PDF files and an MDM solution that restricts certain apps and functionalities.