Printables can be useful tools offered by a variety of websites, but when you have trouble accessing the printables, frustration trumps their potential usefulness. Fortunately, it is usually quite simple to fix the issue and have your printables downloaded and opened quickly.
If Adobe Reader is not yet installed on your computer, you will not be able to open or view printables designed to open in Reader. Installing Adobe Reader is simple and free.
- Visit the Adobe Reader website.
- View the Terms & Conditions for the program.
- Click "Install Now" and follow the prompts.
Find Instructions for Your Browser or Device
- Browser Settings
- Mobile Devices
- Adobe Reader Settings for Desktop
There could be a number of reasons why you encounter issues when trying to view a website's PDF after Reader is installed. Even if you were once able to view PDF files in your browser, changes you may not even be aware of can affect how your computer reacts to trying to open a printable.
There are a few reasons why your browser might stop being Adobe Reader enabled.
- Browser update: In a few browser updates from Chrome and Firefox, PDF reader settings were silently changed to default to the native built-in reader even if you had already specifically set your browser to view PDFs with Adobe Reader.
- New browser installed: You installed Adobe Reader and then installed a new browser which has settings that are not pre-set to use Adobe Reader.
Interactive PDF files (fill-in types) are more likely to encounter difficulties than non-interactive PDF files (static types).
Adjust Browser Settings
If you know you already have Adobe Reader installed on your computer, the first step is to adjust your browser settings.
Firefox (Windows and Mac)
- Open Firefox
- Go to Tools -> Options -> Applications tab
- Type "PDF" without quotes in the search box at the top of the dialog.
- Click the drop down to open the available options.
- Choose "Use Acrobat (in Firefox)" (see Figure 1 below).
- Remove "PDF" from the search box and look through the list for "Adobe Acrobat Forms Document" see (Figure 2 below).
- For the two items shown in Figure 2, select "Use Adobe Acrobat (in Firefox)."
- Click ok to close the dialog.
- Attempt to load a PDF in Firefox again.
Chrome (Windows and Mac)
- Open Chrome and type "chrome://plugins" without the quotes.
- Look for Chrome PDF Viewer and click "Disable."
- Look for Adobe Reader and click "Enable."
- If you don't see Adobe Reader in the list, download the Adobe Reader plugin.
- Close the browser, reopen it and attempt to load a PDF.
- The PDF will load in Adobe Reader outside of the browser window.
Make sure that the Adobe PDF browser add-on, AdobePDF.dll, is enabled. To do this:
- Select Tools > Internet Options.
- Click the Programs tab.
- Click the Manage Add-ons button.
Set the Show menu to "Currently loaded add-ons." If you don't see it in the list, choose "All Add-ons" from the "Show" menu dropdown.
Find and select Adobe PDF Reader. If you don't find this item in the list, reinstall Reader or Acrobat. Make sure that Enable is selected.
Mobile devices may require the Adobe Reader app to be installed in order to view PDFs. If you are having trouble viewing PDF files on your mobile device, install the Adobe Reader mobile app.
Some PDFs are not compatible with mobile devices. In these cases you will need to email the PDF to your desktop computer or laptop to be able to view and edit them.
Instructions for iOS Devices
1. Tap the PDF link to start the download. A new tab will open that shows a message that starts with "Please wait..."
2. Look for the share icon highlighted below and tap on that.
3. Tap on the Email icon.
4. The PDF will automatically be attached to the new email. Enter the email address to send the PDF to and tap Send.
Instructions for Android Devices with Adobe Reader
1. Tap the PDF link to start the download. Adobe Reader will open that shows a message that starts with "Please wait..."
2. Tap the Menu icon at the lower left of the Android device, then tap Share.
3. Choose whichever mail app you have set up on your Android device for email.
4. The PDF will automatically be attached to the new email. Enter the email address to send the PDf to and tap Send.
Instructions for Android Devices without Adobe Reader
1. Tap the PDF link to download the PDF. Then look in your recent downloads to find the PDF.
2. Tap on the file name, then tap of Drive PDF Viewer.
3. A message will show that starts with "Please wait...". Tap on the bullet menu to open the share options.
4. Tap Send File on the share menu.
5. Tap on the email app you use to open a new email.
6. The PDF is automatically attached to the new email. Enter the email address to send the PDF to and tap Send.
Adobe Reader Internet Settings
If adjustments to your browser settings do not fix the problem, you should also check the Adobe Reader settings to be sure Adobe Reader is set up for loading PDFs from the Internet.
- Save this sample PDF file to your hard drive making a note of where you saved it to.
- Right click on the PDF you just downloaded and choose to "Open with Adobe Reader".
- Go to Edit -> Preferences -> Internet (in the left panel)
- If you don't have the settings checked above, check "Display in Read Mode by default," "Allow fast web view," and "Allow speculative downloading in the background."
- Click OK.
- Close your browser and reopen it. To see if it worked, attempt to view the sample PDF.
Special Note for Chrome Users
Note that in Chrome, you will be prompted to download the PDF. Once downloaded, click on the filename button at the bottom of your browser window to view the PDF. The PDF will load in Adobe Reader outside of the browser window.
If problems persist after adjusting all your settings, consult the Adobe Reader Help Page for additional troubleshooting options.