How to Stop Adobe Reader From Opening PDFs in the Browser

Disable Auto Open in Adobe Acrobat Reader

What To Know

  • In Acrobat, got to Edit > Preferences > Internet > Internet Settings > Programs > Manage Add-Ons > Adobe PDF Reader > Disable.
  • It's a good idea to disable auto-open on Adobe Reader because attackers have been known to use it to run malware.

This article explains how to stop Adobe Acrobat Reader from automatically opening PDF files in your web browser by default. Instructions in this article apply to Adobe Acrobat Reader DC and Internet Explorer 8 and later.

Microsoft no longer supports Internet Explorer and recommends that you update to the newer Edge browser. Head to their site to download the newest version.

How to Keep PDFs From Opening in a Browser

Follow these steps to prevent Adobe Acrobat Reader from opening PDFs within your web browser:

  1. Open Adobe Acrobat Reader and select Edit > Preferences in the menu bar.

    Preferences in Acrobat Reader

    You can also bring up the preferences menu with the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+K (or Command+K for Mac).

  2. Select Internet in the left pane of the preferences window, and then select Internet Settings.

    The Internet heading in Preferences
  3. Select the Programs tab.

    The Programs tab
  4. Select Manage Add-Ons.

    The Manage Add-ons button
  5. Select Adobe PDF Reader in the list of add-ons.

    Select Adobe PDF Reader

    If you don't see Adobe PDF Reader listed, try selecting Run Without Permission from the Show drop-down menu.

  6. Select Disable so that the PDF Reader won't open PDFs in the browser.

    The Disable button

Why You Should Disable Auto Open in Adobe Acrobat Reader

Attackers have exploited Adobe Reader's confirmation-free rendering to spread malware. Turning off the Adobe Reader add-on for Internet Explorer helps you avoid accidentally downloading a computer virus via the internet.

FAQ
  • How do I merge PDF files with Adobe Acrobat Reader?

    Merging PDF files will require the use of Adobe Acrobat DC rather than the standard Acrobat Reader software. Open Acrobat DC and select Tools > Combine Files > Add Files > choose files to add > Combine.

  • How do I sign a PDF in Adobe Acrobat Reader?

    Adding a signature to a PDF is fairly simple, but will require using Acrobat DC rather than Acrobat Reader. In Acrobat DC, select File > Open > choose the PDF > Sign > Add signature.

  • How do I set Adobe Acrobat Reader as my default PDF reader?

    Find any PDF file on your computer and right-click it, then select Properties (Get Info on Mac). Next, open the Open With drop-down menu and choose Acrobat Reader as the new default.

  • How do I password protect a PDF in Adobe Acrobat Reader?

    A password can be set to a PDF in Adobe Acrobat Reader, but it requires paying for the full version ($19.99 per month). Open the PDF and select File > Properties > Security > Password Security from the Security Method drop-down. Select Require a password to open the document > enter password > OK > OK > save the PDF.

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