Provide Useful Information And Unzip Files Before Opening

March 5, 2015

The other day we received an e-mail from a customer who was just livid. The e-mail also contained very little information making it difficult for us to provide quality assistance. Time was wasted on anger instead of very simple facts that would allow us to provide a good answer.

In short, this person claimed a PDF file we provided was blank. What would have been helpful is knowing what software they were using to try and read the PDF file. Since that wasn’t provided and they also said something about a “Corel file,” we could only make the assumption they were attempting to open the PDF file in some version of CorelDRAW. Before I continue, I hope you all know how much I hate you calling something by a company name. There is no such thing as a “Corel file”. Please, please, please, please use the full name of the software that created the file.

Given the lack of information and the reference to a “Corel file,” our answer to the user was to use a PDF reader such as Adobe Reader or Foxit Reader since they are built to read PDF files. An even angrier e-mail with some threats came in response. What kind of threats? Something along the line of “If you don’t do this, I’m gonna do that.” No person or animals were to be harmed, but it was a threat.

Finally we heard from this person again that they were using the Reader application that came with Windows 8 and it was the tool that was showing the PDF pages as blank. We were also told that using Adobe Reader worked perfectly with the file.

I’d never heard of the Reader application and had to dig very, very deep in Windows 8 to even find it. Of course it is an “app” that works on the touch-oriented menu that I disabled as soon as I installed Windows 8. Using the Reader open, I opened the PDF in question and it worked perfectly.

So there are two tips I’d like to pass along. The first one should be obvious by now. Instead of wasting all of your energy on anger, use that same energy to provide useful information so that the issue can be resolved quicker. Secondly, the problem we finally discovered was that the user had not unzipped the ZIP file they had downloaded and then attempted to open a file inside of the ZIP using a somewhat obscure tool. Had the file been unzipped, it would have worked perfectly. Had most any other tool been used, it also would have worked perfectly. We test a lot of things to make sure the files we provide work, but we can’t test everything.

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1 Comment

  1. Mark

    I use an older version (ver 15.0) of WinZip Pro and can’t recommend strongly enough that others use a similarly full-featured version of this ubiquitous software…don’t know what comes preloaded in Win8….but have no intention to install that OS until absolutely necessary. My same reluctance applies to most of my applications…if they’re not broken and they work…they work for me, not me for them… cheers.


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Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

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