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Do you have issues accessing PDFs on icaew.com?

Helpsheets and support

Published: 19 Jun 2014 Updated: 19 Jun 2014 Update History

We have investigated several issues reported by members trying to access PDFs and other files on the ICAEW website. You can find suggested fixes and an explanation of the problem here.

General fixes for problems accessing PDFs

If you are having problems first try the following:

  • Make sure your Adobe reader software is up to date.
  • If you are using Internet Explorer, in the ‘Tools’ menu, select the Internet Options, Security Settings tab. Click the ‘Custom Settings’ button and find the setting ‘Open files based on content, not file extension’ and set to Enable.
  • If you are using Chrome, Go to Settings, select Privacy and security, click on Site Settings. select PDF documents and turn the toggle switch off.
  • Ensure that ‘.ashx’ files are not blocked by your service provider, anti-virus software or your organisation’s security policies
  • Try an alternative browser (Firefox/Chrome or a more recent version of IE).

If none of these solves your problem, there is still a simple solution to most issues.

I have downloaded a file and it won't open

Simply replace the .ashx suffix with the appropriate file extension (eg .pdf, .xls, .docx).

  1. Locate the file on your computer
  2. Right click on the file and click 'Rename'
  3. Delete '.ashx' and replace with the appropriate file extension
  4. Open the file as normal

I have been sent a link to a file by email and it won't open

When you click on the link, you will be presented with a blank page.

  • Click on the URL bar so the address is selected (usually signified by the words being highlighted in blue) and press 'Enter' on your keyboard, or;
  • Press the refresh button on your browser (usually signified by a pair of curved arrows pointing in opposite directions)

If you are still experiencing problems, please get in touch with us on +44 (0)1908 248250.

For further information and suggested fixes please go to Adobe's support section or you can read more about .ASHX files on the Wikipedia ASP.NET article

Accessing PDFs for MAC and Firefox users

Firefox doesn't provide PDF support in a number of versions for MAC and possibly for PCs as well. IPADs would follow the same logic.

For further information, please go to Mozilla's support section.

Why are there problems with URLs which end .ashx?

The file type .ashx appears on the end of a file name in URLs in place of:

  • .xls (Excel file)
  • .docx (Word file)
  • .pdf (Portable Document Format)

This can lead to the user's computer being unable to open the file they have downloaded or, if they have been sent a link to a file on icaew.com, the page failing to open. 

These issues are usually related to the way the following systems interact with each other at the user's end:

  • Operating Systems (e.g. PC, Mac, iPhone)
  • Browsers (e.g. IE7, IE9, Firefox)
  • Email systems (Outlook)
  • PDF readers (Adobe)