What can you do with Adobe Reader?

Adobe® Reader® is the tool for opening and using Adobe PDFs that are created in Adobe Acrobat®. Although you can't create PDFs in Reader, you can use Reader to view, print, and manage PDFs. After opening a PDF in Reader, you have a variety of tools to help you find information quickly. If you receive a PDF form, you can complete it online and submit it electronically. If you receive an invitation to review a PDF, use the commenting and markup tools to annotate it. Use the Reader multimedia tools to play video and music in a PDF. And if a PDF contains sensitive information, you can sign or certify a document with a digital ID.

Learn how to use Reader for everyday PDF tasks:

Adobe Reader makes it easy to collaborate with others and streamline your work:

View and search a PDF

In the Reader toolbar, use the Zoom tools and the Magnification menu to enlarge or reduce the page. Use the options on the View menu to change the page display. More options on the Tools menu give you more ways to adjust the page for better viewing (Tools > Select & Zoom).

Reader toolbars

Adobe Reader toolbars open by default:  A. File toolbar B. Page Navigation toolbar  C. Select & Zoom toolbar D. Page Display toolbar E. Find toolbar 

For more information, see Viewing PDF pages in Acrobat Help.

Find information in a PDF

Use either the Search window (Edit > Search) or the Find toolbar to search page content, including layers, form fields, annotations, bookmarks, and digital signatures.

View and search a PDF Portfolio

A PDF Portfolio is a collection of files that often contains files that are not PDFs, such as Microsoft Office documents. You can use the Reader search tools to find text throughout the PDF Portfolio. Type the text you want to find in the Search box in the PDF Portfolio toolbar. The search results show all files where the text was found.

For more information, see Search a PDF Portfolio in Acrobat Help.

Fill in forms

Fill in, save, and electronically submit forms easily, even on mobile devices. Start by selecting either the Hand tool or the Select tool. When you place the pointer over an interactive form field, the pointer icon changes to one of the following:

Move from one form field to the next by pressing the Tab key. To delete an entry, press the Esc key. When you finish the form, click the Submit Form button. If the PDF author has enabled the local save capability on the form, you can also choose File > Save As to rename the file and save the form with your information without submitting it.

Tip: To fill in forms more efficiently, turn on Auto-Complete in the Forms Preferences (choose Forms on the Preferences dialog box).

For more information, see Completing and submitting PDF forms in Acrobat Help.

Sign a PDF

When you sign a PDF, you assure the sender that the PDF reached its intended recipient. In Reader, only PDFs with Reader Usage Rights enabled can be signed. (In Acrobat, Advanced > Extend Features In Adobe Reader.)

  1. Click the Sign button Signature button in the Signature Panel, or choose Document > Sign > Sign Document.
  2. Follow the instructions to create a place for the signature, and then complete the Sign Document dialog box.

Use the Preview Document feature to view and sign the document in a static and secure state. Dynamic content such as multimedia and JavaScript are blocked. For more information, see Sign in Preview Document mode in Acrobat Help.

Create a PDF on Acrobat.com

Acrobat.com offers easy online tools to create and share PDFs. To get started, click the Create PDF Using Acrobat.com icon Create PDF on Acrobat.com icon in the toolbar. Or, choose File > Create Adobe PDF Using Acrobat.com. For more information, go to wwww.adobe.com/go/acrobat_com_en.

Participate in a review

When you receive a PDF to review, you can annotate it by using the commenting and markup tools. These features are available only when the PDF author has enabled commenting. Also use the commenting and markup tools to return your comments to the author.

Commenting and Markup toolbar

Comment & Markup toolbar: A. Sticky Note tool, B. Text Edits tool C. Stamp tool and menu D. Highlight Text tool E. Callout tool F. Text Box tool G. Cloud tool H. Arrow tool I. Line tool J. Rectangle tool K. Oval tool L. Pencil tool M. Show menu

For more information, see Participating in a PDF review in Acrobat Help.

Reply to comments

You can reply to comments in two ways:

To delete a reply, right-click your reply, and click Delete This Reply. Or select the reply in the Comments list, and then click the Trash icon in the Comments List toolbar.

For more information, see Reply to comments in Acrobat Help.

Approve or reject a PDF

When you’re asked to approve a PDF, you receive an email message that provides step-by-step instructions for reviewing the PDF. Also, both the Stamps palette and the document message bar are displayed at the top of the PDF. Use the instructions and the tools to approve or reject the document.

For more information, see Participate in an approval workflow in Acrobat Help.

Track a review

To track a document review or view the status of a review, choose View > Tracker. The Tracker shows who has joined a review and how many comments each person has published.

Collaborate on a PDF by using Adobe ConnectNow

Use Adobe ConnectNow to conduct real-time meetings from your desktop. Attendees join the meeting by logging in to a web-based meeting space from their own computers. In a ConnectNow online meeting, you can share your desktop, use live chat, share online whiteboards, and use many other collaboration features.

For more information, see Collaborate in online meetings in Acrobat Help.

Adobe Reader tips

Opening and savings PDFs

I can't open a PDF

If you receive a password-protected PDF, use the designated password to open the document. Some secured documents have restrictions that prevent you from printing, editing, or copying content in the document. If a document has restricted features, any tools and menu items related to those features are dimmed in Reader.

If you have trouble opening a PDF, or if you are restricted from using certain features, contact the author of the PDF.

I get an error message when I open a PDF

If you get a message that "one or more Adobe PDF Extensions are disabled," use the following steps to fix the problem.

  1. Open Internet Options in Control Panel and click the Advanced tab.
  2. Select the check box, Enable Third-Party Browser Extensions.
  3. Click OK, and then restart your computer.

I can't save a PDF

You can save a copy of a PDF or PDF Portfolio only if the PDF author allows it. PDF authors can allow recipients to save a document by enabling the local save capability. Often, PDF form authors do not enable the local save capability.

Viewing images and 3D models

How can I copy pictures from a PDF?

Use the Snapshot tool to copy pictures from a PDF.

  1. Choose Tools > Select & Zoom > Snapshot Tool Snapshot tool.
  2. Drag a rectangle around the image you want to save, and then release the mouse button.

The selection is automatically copied to the clipboard, and you can choose Edit > Paste in another application to paste the copied image into another document.

I can't see the images in a PDF

In the Preferences dialog box, choose Page Display, and then select Show Large Images.

How can I move or rotate 3D models?

The 3D toolbar is displayed when you click a 3D model. Click the arrow next to the Rotate tool Rotate toolto view all of the 3D navigation tools that are available in Reader.


Why can't I print my document?

If you receive a password-protected PDF, enter the designated password to print the document. Some protected documents have restrictions that prevent you from printing, editing, or copying content in the document. If a document has restrictions on printing, contact the author.

How can I print a large-format PDF?

For documents that are larger than the standard page size, go to File > Page Setup. Create a custom page size before you print your document.


Can I recover lost changes from an unexpected shutdown?

The Autosave feature prevents changes from being lost after an unexpected interruption.

  1. Open the file you were working on before the unexpected shutdown.
  2. When prompted, click Yes to open the file or files that were automatically saved. If you had multiple files open, Reader opens all of the files.
  3. Save the file or files with the same names as the files you were originally working on.

If automatic saving was disabled, you can restart it from the Preferences dialog box. Select Documents on the left, and then select Automatically Save Document Changes To Temporary File Every XX Minutes. In the Minutes box, specify how often you want to save files.

How can I delete review comments?

If you delete a comment that has been replied to, only the comment is deleted. Any replies remain in the PDF, but they are no longer part of a thread. These replies can be difficult to view. Delete replies by using one of these methods:

Filling in forms

Why can't I save a filled in form?

Completed forms cannot be saved unless the author of the form allows it. When you open a form in Adobe Reader, you can view the usage rights in the notification area above the form itself. Contact the author of the form to change your usage rights.

How do I remove entries from Auto-Complete?

In the Preferences dialog box, select Forms on the left. In the Auto-Complete section, select Edit Entry List, and then remove or change the unwanted words.


What are the keyboard alternatives to mouse actions?

Reader and Acrobat have the same keyboard shortcuts. To view the full list, see Keyboard shortcuts in Acrobat Help.

Can I read a PDF with a screen reader or magnifier?

Use the Accessibility Setup Assistant to set up Reader for either a screen magnifier or a screen reader.

How do I reflow text in a PDF?

Reflow a PDF to temporarily present it as a single column that is the width of the document pane. This reflow view makes the document easier to read.

In most cases, only readable text appears in the reflow view. Text that does not reflow includes forms, comments, digital signature fields, and page artifacts, such as page numbers, headers, and footers. Pages that contain both readable text and form or digital signature fields do not reflow. Vertical text reflows horizontally.

For more information, see Reading PDFs with reflow and accessibility features in Acrobat Help.

Note: You cannot save, edit, or print a document while it is in Reflow view.

Updating Reader software

Reader application files and components can be updated in a variety of ways. Some updates are available both automatically and manually. Depending on your preferences settings, you can install updates automatically, download updates and install later, or choose not to install updates automatically.

For more information, see Updating the software in Acrobat Help.

Support on UNIX platforms

Reader is available for Linux and Solaris, with some differences. Some functionality is not available, including real-time collaboration and file sharing, collaboration in online meetings, comment notification in the system tray, and the Geospatial tool. However, Reader for UNIX provides some additional functionality, including the following:

Additional resources

Adobe Reader shares many features of Adobe Acrobat. Learn more about these features in Using Adobe Acrobat 9 Standard.