Troubleshooting Guide Resolving PDF Article Access Issues

Menu: Click the links below to view content about common issues and questions. 




What is the FileOpen Systems PDF Plug-in?

Your subscription to Drobny Research provides access to exclusive financial content. This content has been encrypted and is only viewable if you download the latest FileOpen plugin and have a recent version of Adobe's PDF Reader.    



The FileOpen systems plug-in is required to open PDF files encrypted by FileOpen rights management software, and is authorized by Adobe Systems to load in Adobe Acrobat and the free Adobe Reader. The plug-in manages the open and print commands in the Adobe Reader according to the access controls set by the publisher. Any access controls on the encrypted files have been placed there at the discretion of the document publisher. The plug-in alone will not grant access to encrypted files; you must follow the publishers' instructions for obtaining access.


Back to Top 



Downloading, Viewing and Printing Articles (Common Problems and Solutions)

Problems Solutions
Plugin Download  
Plugin stalls at the File
Open Plugin Installer page
Follow the Click here for more installation options link and
choose FileOpenInstaller.exe orFileOpenInstaller.msi
Document Download  
The email link does not work. At the foot of the email is a URL. Try copying and pasting this into the Address line of your web browser. This will bypass the email client.

Error message below displayed in browser window:
Diagnose Connection Problems

Please click the refresh button in the browser window.

Text below displayed in browser

Error: Unfortunately there has been a problem with the delivery of your document.

The document has expired and will need to be resent. Please contact Drobny for more information at 202-210-4456 or email us at

Error message

“Cannot unlock file…”

Affects: Windows & Mac, Single-User Downloadable

Adobe Acrobat/Reader and FileOpen Plug-In were not installed prior to activation.
The publication is being opened on a different computer than that on which it was activated, or the computer hardware/software has changed significantly since activation.

The software must be reactivated

  1. Ensure all required software is installed on the computer (see Software installation).
  2. Log in to the Drobny Research.
  3. Contact Drobny Research for assitance at 202-210-4456 or email us at


**Please note that after upgrading to a new version of Adobe Reader the FileOpen plugin will need to be downloaded again.

Error message

“This document is not a well-formed PDF document…”


Affects: Windows & Mac, online subscriptions



The FileOpen plug-in times out while loading the PDF file.



Solution 1 (Internet Explorer on Windows, Single-User Online) 
Change a setting to open all online PDF files in a separate Adobe window instead of within the browser.


  1. Open Adobe Reader (or Adobe Acrobat).
  2. Under the Edit menu, click Preferences.
  3. Go to the Internet category on the left.
  4. Un-check the “Display PDF” in browser option.


Solution 2 (Mac, Single-User Online)
Download a copy of the Single-User Online publication to your computer.

The following steps assume that you have installed Adobe Reader/Acrobat and the FileOpen plug-in (see Software installation).


  1. Log in to the Drobny Research.
  2. Download the article by right-clicking and saving the file (the right-click menu option may read “Download”) to an easy-to-find location, such as your Desktop.
  3. Locate the file using the Finder app (or on your Desktop), and double-click it to open.
  4. If you receive any failures along the way, please take a screenshot (Mac OS X) and email to


Blank Adobe Acrobat/Reader window, or error message about missing components

Affects: All online & downloadable subscriptions


Adobe Acrobat/Reader and FileOpen Plug-In are not installed.


Before you activate or view your publications, all required software must be installed on the computer with which you will be viewing the Drobny Research publications (see Software installation

**Please note that after upgrading to a new version of Adobe Reader the FileOpen plugin will need to be downloaded again.

Adobe Reader window opens but the document does not open

Plugin not installed:

Install the plugin if possible. Otherwise do one of the following:


  • Check if it works on a different machine
  • Check your installation settings, the following software must be installed on each machine in order to access and print articles:
  1. Install Adobe Acrobat or Reader (if not installed yet).
  2. Install the FileOpen plug-in (if not installed yet).
  3. Verify FileOpen plug-in is properly installed:
    1. Windows: Open Acrobat/Reader > Help menu > About Third Party Plug-Ins
    2. Mac: Open Adobe Acrobat/Reader menu > About Third Party Plug-Ins
    3. FileOpen WebPublisher or FileOpen Client should be listed there.


Contact Drobny Research for assistance 202-210-4456 or email us at


**Please note that after upgrading to a new version of Adobe Reader the FileOpen plugin will need to be downloaded again.

Document appears to open but a blank screen is displayed. Adobe Reader is required. Unlike many PDF format documents FileOpen SEDs cannot be opened with Apple MACs Preview software.

Text below displayed in browser

There was an error opening this document. The file cannot be found.

This can most likely be solved by allowing access to the required sites and ports

Error message indicating:

FO Server Error

Discarding this message and using the manual download link on the FileOpen delivery service page should result in the document opening.

Other PDF viewer errors


Affects: all online & downloadable subscriptions



Non-Adobe PDF software, such as Mac Preview, Mac PDF Viewer, BlueBeam, FoxIt, Nitro, etc. are often set as the default PDF viewers on certain computers, despite installation of Adobe Reader/Acrobat.

Manually open in Adobe Reader/Acrobat.

  1. Ensure that all required software is installed (see Software installation).
  2. Open Adobe Reader or Acrobat, go the File menu and select Open.
  3. Select the publication PDF and Open


Alternative to above: Locate the PDF publication in Windows Explorer or the Finder app, right-click on it, and choose Open With, then Adobe Reader or Acrobat. 

Document Printing  
Message box with text below: 
Print Permission Denied.

In Adobe, uncheck the box at Edit> Preferences>General> Enable protected mode at startup.


All authenticated Drobny Research partner has access to print any article in Drobny archives. Please contact Drobny Research for assistance 202-210-4456 or email us at

Printing slow Printing large documents can be relatively slow and large images (greater than 50MB) can cause sluggish behavior in the application. Also publications from the BL electronic publications store with images originally in color can be slow to download and print.


Back to Top 



Troubleshooting Guide for Software Installation

Important: FileOpen have released an updated FileOpen plug-in for Adobe Acrobat and Reader on Windows. The Client, Build 0925, implements support for the latest Adobe Acrobat/Reader and Microsoft Windows releases. Specific improvements include:

  • Support for Acrobat/Reader XI 
  • Support for Windows 8 
  • Assorted bug fixes and minor improvements.


This update replaces the 0920 release from June 2012. Previous versions of the FileOpen plug-in are not supported by Adobe Reader/Acrobat XI. FileOpen Client 0925 is backward-compatible to Adobe Reader/Acrobat 7.


Back to Top



Software Settings for Macintosh Users

To ensure that PDF files open in Adobe Acrobat or Reader and NOT in “Preview” or “PDF Viewer”:


  1. Open Acrobat or Reader. 
  2. Go to Preferences > Internet. 
  3. Check off “Display PDF in browser using” and select “Adobe Reader XXX” from the drop-down menu.


Important: Adobe Reader 11 is not compatible with the current release of FileOpen plugin for the Mac (876).


MacOS 10.6
Please see instructions from Adobe:
Acrobat PDF Plug-in Does Not Load in Safari 64-bit Web Browser on Mac OS X Snow Leopard (v10.6)


MAC OS 10.7.x and Safari 5.1.x
Compatibility Advisory Regarding Adobe Reader plug-in and Acrobat plug-in with Safari 5.1.


Back to Top



Testing FileOpen Installation

To test whether the FileOpen is installed correctly, please open the HYPERLINK "" FileOpen test file. You should see the screen depicted in Figure 1. 




Back to Top



FAQ – FileOpen Systems 


Where does the FileOpen software get installed?


Adobe Acrobat loads plug-ins at application startup from a pre-defined directory, so the FileOpen.api plug-in has to be copied to that directory. By default, on Windows, the directory is:




On Macintosh the plug-in is difficult to find, as it becomes part of the "packaged" Acrobat/Reader application, but you can find a link to it by selecting the launch icon for the Adobe viewer and clicking Apple+I then finding the drop down for Plug-ins. From here you should FileOpen<ver>.acroplugin. You can also add/delete the plug-in from this menu.


Locations on Linux may be obtained by searching for "FileOpen".


How does the FileOpen software get installed?


FileOpen Systems provides installer programs that detect the location of the installed copy of Acrobat and copy the plug-in(s) to that location. We provide these installers to our customers, who are free to distribute them to end users. We also maintain - an installer on our website to which publishers may refer their users.


What does the Web-based installer do?


The installer on FileOpen's website attempts to provide a simple and seamless install via the browser. However, it works differently for different operating systems and browsers. The default automatic installer uses a Java "conveyor" to download and execute the installer. Users of IE without Java but with security settings that allow signed ActiveX controls to be loaded - the default setting - may see an ActiveX installer. The Java and ActiveX programs are only for convenience and the end result is the same regardless of whether the plug-in is installed via the web, by a downloaded copy of the installer, or manually.


Which privileges are required for the install?


Typically, Windows users must have PowerUser (or Administrator) privileges to run the installer, though all that is really required is write-permission to the Acrobat plug-ins folder.


What if I don't want to run the installer?


The operation of the plug-in is identical whether it is placed into the Acrobat plug-ins folder location by the installer or via a manual operation. If you don't want to run the .exe or Java or ActiveX installer, you can get the plug-in from and copy it to the location given above.


Does Fileopen provide an installer for MSI?


An .msi installer is available from, along with instructions for signing that install for SMS delivery.


Once installed, when does the plug-in load?


FileOpen.api is loaded by Acrobat or Adobe Reader at application startup, i.e. when you load Acrobat/Reader, it loads the plug-in. However, the plug-in is invoked only when a document calls for it (i.e. if you do not attempt to open any encrypted content, the FileOpen.api is inactive). In short, the plug-in does nothing unless a document encrypted by a publisher using the system is open.


Once installed, what does the plug-in actually do?


When a user attempts to open a document encrypted by a publisher using FileOpen's software, the client reads information from the encrypted document and performs the following steps:

Obtains information about the document being opened and the publisher's authentication requirements, from the document. Depending on those publisher requirements, the plug-in then retrieves one or more of the following authentication tokens from the local machine context. a. A cookie from the user's login to the publisher's server. b. A username and password from a dialog presented to the user c. A MachineID from the local context makes a request over http/https to the publisher's server, passing the document identifier, authentication token, and some data about the context in which the document is being opened.


Which operating systems are supported?


The FileOpen Client will work on Windows 98 or later, Macintosh OSX and Linux.


How to remove the FileOpen plug-in? 


To manually remove FileOpen.api on Windows, please do the following:


  • Close Adobe Acrobat or Reader.
  • Search for and delete all copies of FileOpen.api You may have in the same location as FileOpen.api another file fowpkbd.api, if so delete this also.
  • In some cases you may have a folder C:\Documents and Settings\<your login>\Application Data\FileOpen (on Vista this will be C:\Users\<your login>\AppData\Roaming\FileOpen). If so, delete this folder.
  • If you installed via the web via IE and do not have Java installed, you may have the FileOpen ActiveX control. From IE invoke Tools > Internet Options > General > Temporary Internet Files > Settings > View Objects, then delete FileOpenInstaller. 


To remove FileOpen.api on Macintosh, please do the following:


  • From the Finder find Applications:Adobe Acrobat/Reader
  • Select the launch icon for the viewer, click Apple+I From the list of options select Plug-ins
  • Find FileOpen<version>.acroplugin and choose Remove ("-" on 10.5) You may have a folder in your Library:FileOpen, which can be deleted.


To remove FileOpen.api on Linux, please do the following:


  • Close Adobe Acrobat or Reader.
  • Remove FileOpen.AR<VERSION>.api from Reader\intellinux\plugin_is folder.


An older, and now discontinued, FileOpen plug-in was named fOpen32.api. To remove fOpen32.api on Windows please do the following:


  • Close Adobe Acrobat or Reader.
  • Search for and delete all copies of fOpen32.api
  • You may also have a registry entry that was created by the software. Please contact your administrator if you are unsure about how to remove registry entries. The entry is HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE>Software>FileOpen.


Back to Top



Submit a FileOpen, Adobe or software Issue to Drobny Research


If you have an issue that cannot be resolved by this Troubleshooting Guide, please provide the following information to us so we can better determine a solution.  Users may also submit issues and inquires to


Your inquiry has been submitted successfully, and a representative will get in touch with you
There was a problem with your submission. Please try again later


Back to Top