How to change default PDF software to Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat

These steps will show how to change which program will open a PDF when you double-click to open.

This is useful if you have two different PDF programs – for example Acrobat Reader DC and Adobe Acrobat X Pro.

You will need administrator access on the computer to make this change.

How to change PDF Handler in Windows 10

  1. Click on the Windows start button and search for ‘Default app settings’
  2. Click on it when it appears in the list
  3. At the bottom of the window – click on the ‘Choose default apps by file type’ link
  4. Scroll down until you see .pdf
  5. Next to .pdf click on the application 
  6. Choose the new application for opening PDF files
  7. You can now close the Settings window
  8. PDFs will now open in the new application by default

What if I’m not using Windows 10?

For previous versions of Windows (e.g. Windows 7):

  1. Open Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat
  2. Click on the ‘Edit’ menu then ‘Preferences’
  3. Click on ‘General’ on the side bar
  4. Click on the button ‘Select Default PDF Handler’.
  5. IE-AdobeEPM3
  6. Click on the drop down box and select ‘Adobe Reader …’
  7. IE-AdobeEPM4
  8. Click on ‘Apply’ and then ‘OK’ 
  9. PDF files will now open in Internet Explorer, using Adobe Reader.