How to Stop Adobe Reader From Opening PDFs in the Browser

Disable Auto Open in Adobe Acrobat Reader

Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat integrate with Internet Explorer so that PDF files automatically open in the web browser by default. Fortunately, you can disable auto-open in Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader to prevent PDFs from opening in your browser.

Instructions in this article apply to Adobe Acrobat Reader DC and Internet Explorer 8 and later.

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, 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.