PDF only opens in Adobe Acrobat? WTF
March 11, 2021 10:20 AM   Subscribe

Recently, I purchased an e-book which I then downloaded. Supposedly it is a PDF but the file type name says "Adobe Acrobat File."

When I right-click to open the file and click "Open" it opens with the trial version of Adobe Acrobat Pro. There is no option to "Open With" that would let me select another program to open the PDF such as Chrome or Edge.

Is there some way to make this file open in something other than Adobe? My trial subscription ends in 4 days and I'm not keen on paying them ten bucks a month to open maybe like 4 PDFs a year from my home computer.
posted by Serene Empress Dork to Technology (10 answers total)
If it's on pc, right click -> properties to see what the actual file type is. If it's not pdf, you may have to update this question.

If you aren't getting the open with when you right click, hold shift before you right click, open with should show up then.
posted by TheAdamist at 10:24 AM on March 11, 2021 [1 favorite]

Additionally, acrobat reader is free, so you should be able to install that, even after your pro subscription lapses
posted by TheAdamist at 10:25 AM on March 11, 2021 [7 favorites]

Is it a digital rights management issue? If you install Adobe Digital Editions (which is free and incredibly annoying but common for use with DRM’ed files) will it open with that?
posted by needs more cowbell at 10:42 AM on March 11, 2021 [2 favorites]

on my windows surface tablet I can use SHIFT-Right click to get the "open with" menu. Maybe try that? Also, you can click-and-drag the file from Explorer into another browser window to try and force it to open there.
posted by alchemist at 11:00 AM on March 11, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Shift/right-click did not make the "open with" option available, unfortunately. However I did discover I could get a free PDF reader app on the Microsoft store. Since I still can't "open with" I have to launch the app and then open from within it. But that works! So I seem to be all set.

Thanks, everyone, for your help!
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 11:02 AM on March 11, 2021

Chrome and Edge both have Open commands in their menus, so you don't have to use the other software. You can also change the default program for pdfs by searching for Default Apps in your settings.
posted by soelo at 11:23 AM on March 11, 2021 [3 favorites]

If you right click the file and select "Properties" it should tell you what application will open the file with the option to change it.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:35 AM on March 11, 2021 [1 favorite]

A pdf is an Adobe Acrobat file. Adobe invented the format. This is almost certainly a pdf.
The right-click thing to set what program opens it usually requires you to hold down the mouse button for a couple of seconds. Use 'Choose Default Program.' Don't forget to click the box that says, 'Always use this program' if there is one.
There are dozens and probably hundreds of free readers on the net. Later versions of Firefox can open a pdf if you don't feel like installing one.
posted by AugustusCrunch at 12:39 PM on March 11, 2021 [4 favorites]

Just drag it into whatever program you want to open it in whether that's Chrome or Foxit or whatever.
posted by turkeyphant at 2:58 PM on March 11, 2021 [1 favorite]

The reason Windows will be identifying it as an "Adobe Acrobat file" is because some version of Adobe Acrobat is installed on the machine and has told Windows that files whose names end in .pdf belong to it and that that is the description Windows Explorer should present for them.

If you uninstall both Adobe Acrobat and whatever else you've already installed from the Store, and then reboot Windows, you should find that the Windows Explorer description has reverted to "PDF file". You will probably also find that Windows then opens your PDFs in Microsoft Edge, which behaviour is very nearly as much of a royal pain in the arse as opening them in the slow, bloated Acrobat reader.

But if you then go on to install Sumatra PDF, you should find that PDF files get identified as such in Windows Explorer and open in Sumatra by default, very quickly and without fuss.
posted by flabdablet at 3:16 AM on March 12, 2021

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