09 Feb

Acrobat Fix: Preflight audit trail could not be embedded

If you use Adobe Acrobat on Mac OS X to embed preflight audit trails into PDF files then you may have noticed a strange error saying “Preflight audit trail could not be embedded” appear as of yesterday afternoon (8th February 2016). This is an issue with an expired Adobe certificate and will prevent you embedding your audit trail and will give you an error that looks like this:

Preflight audit trail could not be embedded

Preflight audit trail could not be embedded

How to fix it…
The error is down to an expired certificate, and the certificate is just a file that lives inside the Adobe Acrobat app. The first thing to do is to get a new copy.

To do this, download a new trial version of Acrobat whilst making sure you don’t delete your old copy. So, download a copy of Acrobat DC from here. When you get a dialogue box like the one below, make sure that you untick the box that says “Remove old versions”.

Be sure to untick "Remove old versions"

Be sure to untick “Remove old versions”

Once you have Acrobat DC installed, the next job is to find a copy of the new certificate. Find the app in your Applications folder, control click it. Select “Show Package Contents”. This will show you the contents of the app as a folder structure. Look in this folder:


…and find a file called Preflight.p12. This is the new certificate file.

Now, find your old copy of Adobe Acrobat, do the “Show Package Contents” trick again and find the Preflight.p12 file. Delete it and replace it with the new certificate file. Note that the Preflight.p12 file is in different locations depending on which version of Acrobat you have. You may have to hunt around for it.

If you’re on Acrobat XI (as we are) then the location is:


Restart your Adobe Acrobat and you should be able to embed audit trails again.