How to Open an ACSM File

Adobe DRM-protected content files can be opened with Adobe Digital Editions

What to Know

  • These files are opened with Adobe Digital Editions software and are used for content like eBooks.
  • Adobe Digital Editions software uses the format to work with DRM-protected content.

This article explains how to open ACSM files, what they're used for, and any troubleshooting tips should you run into problems.

How to Open ACSM Files

Download Adobe Digital Editions to open ACSM files on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices. When the book is downloaded on one device, the same book can be downloaded to any other device using Adobe Digital Editions under that same user ID.

Use the Help > Authorize Computer menu option in Adobe Digital Editions to connect your eBook vendor account to Adobe Digital Editions. This procedure lets you transfer content between multiple computers and mobile devices. You won't have to repurchase the books if you reinstall or update your computer's operating system.

You can also authorize the computer without an ID by checking the appropriate box through the Authorize Your Computer screen.

How to Convert an ACSM File

Since an ACSM file is not an eBook, it can't be converted to another eBook format like PDF, EPUB, etc. The ACSM file is just a simple text file that describes how to download the real eBook. The eBook itself might come as a PDF or other format.

To find the book that ADE downloaded using the ACSM file, right-click the book in Adobe Digital Editions and choose Show File in Explorer. In Windows, this is most likely in the C:\Users\[username]\Documents\My Digital Editions\ folder.

What Is an ACSM File?

A file with the .ACSM file extension is an Adobe Content Server Message file. Adobe Digital Editions use it to activate and download Adobe DRM-protected content.

ACSM files are not eBook files in the regular sense; they can't be opened and read like other eBook formats, like an EPUB or PDF. The ACSM file is nothing but information that communicates with Adobe's servers. There isn't an eBook "locked inside" the ACSM file, nor is there a way to extract the book from the ACSM file.

Instead, ACSM files contain data from the Adobe Content Server that ensures the book has been legally purchased. The real eBook file can be downloaded to your computer through the Adobe Digital Editions program and then read back through the same software on any device using the correct ID.

In other words, once your device is properly set up, you can open an ACSM file to register the book to the ID you've configured Adobe Digital Editions with and then read the book on any device that's running ADE with the same user ID, without having to repurchase it. There's more information on that process below.

Still Can't Open Your File?

Since it's a bit different than other file formats, if you can't open your ACSM file, dive into the errors you see. If an authentication error arises when you open the eBook, you're likely not logged in under the same ID that purchased the book, or you don't have ADE installed.

However, if you've done everything correctly and your file still isn't opening with the suggestions from above, double-check the file extension to ensure it reads "ACSM." Some file formats use a file extension spelled similarly to ACSM but are different and require different programs.

  • How do you open an ACSM file on a Kindle?

    You cannot directly open an ACSM file on a Kindle e-reader device. However, you can download an ACSM file, such as a digital library book, to your computer and then transfer the downloaded ebook to your Kindle (or other compatible devices) using Adobe Digital Editions software. After installing and activating the free software, connect your Kindle to your computer with a USB cable and authorize the transfer.

  • How do you print an ACSM file?

    Download Adobe Digital Editions and add the ACSM file to it. Next, authorize your computer to download the ACSM file, right-click the book, and select Read > File > Print.

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