Troubleshooting PDF issues

This document instructs you on how to install a PDF Viewer, as well as how to set a PDF viewer as the default program for opening PDF files.

Document 9023  ¦  Last updated:  03/04/2017 JH9

In rare circumstances, your PDF Viewer, such as Adobe Reader, may be corrupt or you don't have one installed.  The instructions will cover the installation of Adobe Reader, but there are many other free PDF Viewers available, such as Foxit Reader and Evince.

If you already have a PDF Viewer installed, click here to skip to the section on setting it as the default app for PDF documents.


  1. First, click here to visit Adobe Reader's Website.
  2. When the page loads, uncheck the Optional offer box and click Install Now.

    Uncheck the Optional offer box and click Install Now

  3. When prompted, choose Run.

    Choose Run when prompted

  4. When the Adobe installer appears, click Next.

    When the Adobe installer appears, click Next

  5. When the install is complete, click Finish.

    When the install is complete, click Finish

That's it!  Once the install finishes, Adobe Reader has been installed and set as your default PDF Viewer.


Setting a PDF Viewer as the default app for opening PDF files.

Sometimes, another PDF reader is set as the default PDF viewer instead of Adobe Reader.  Follow the steps below to set Adobe Reader as your default PDF Viewer:

  1. Right‑click on a PDF file that is saved locally to your computer, hover over Open with, and select Choose default program.

    Open With

  2. In the window that opens, choose Adobe Reader, mark Always use the selected program to open this kind of file, and click OK.

    Always use the selected program

If you don't have a PDF file saved to your computer, there is another way to set your default PDF viewer.  Click here for Windows Vista and Windows 7 instructions, click here for Windows 8.1 instructions, or click here for Windows 10 instructions.

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