Prevent Adobe Reader From Opening PDFs in the Browser

Disable one setting to stop this behavior

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Adobe Systems

By default, Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat integrate with Internet Explorer and cause PDF files to open automatically in the browser.

This confirmation-less rendering of PDF files has enabled attackers to deliver Adobe Reader and Acrobat exploits via the internet automatically. The result is surreptitious malware that downloads to your computer.

Fortunately, there is an easy way to prevent Adobe Reader and Acrobat from automatically rendering PDF files in your browser. Make this one small tweak, and henceforth you'll be notified if a website tries to open a PDF in your browser.

How to Prevent Reader From Opening PDFs in IE

  1. Open Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat.

  2. Open the Edit > Preferences... menu from the menu bar or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + K to get there even quicker.

  3. From the left pane, select Internet.

  4. In the Web Browser Options, uncheck the box next to Display PDF in browser.

  5. Choose the OK button to save and exit the settings window.

You may find that you are presented with a PDF download option, which you can decline.