For a few days I’ve been trying to figure out why an Adobe Acrobat document I created on one computer wouldn’t open on another computer. When I tried to open it, I’d receive an error message that said simply “bad encrypt dictionary”. That’s it.
I created the document in Acrobat 7.0, and encrypted it with 7.0 encryption (the program offers options for different levels or versions of encryption). I tried searching with Google for the error message, but there were so many posts about DRM (digital rights management) that I couldn’t see the fix quickly or easily. (With so many students applying to the UCs and Stanford, it’s been a very busy week, so I couldn’t spend more than a few minutes searching.) It turned out to be a really simple thing–the 6.0 Reader I was using couldn’t read 7.0 encryption, so updating this version of Adobe Acrobat Reader solved the problem.
When will software companies realize that creating user-friendly error messages will certainly result in greater usage, sales, and satisfaction for their products? For example, why couldn’t this error message read something like this:
The version of Adobe Acrobat Reader (“the Reader”) that you are using cannot open your document because the Reader does not understand the encryption method used in your document. It is possible that your document uses a more current method of encryption than your Reader can understand, so you should try updating your Reader by opening the Reader, clicking Help, and then clicking Check for updates now… If that doesn’t work, you could try visiting the Adobe User-to-User Forums for free, non-guaranteed support.
Yeah, I know why–too much work and too difficult.