Viewing Adobe PDF documents

Using Adobe Acrobat (recommended)

Adobe PDF files can be opened in Adobe Acrobat to view, complete forms, digitally sign, and print. Managed devices at Michigan Tech running Windows or macOS have Adobe Acrobat DC Pro installed. You can also open Adobe PDF files in Adobe Reader, if you do not have access to Adobe Acrobat Pro.

There are certain forms that have dynamic field elements that need to opened in Adobe Acrobat and will not be able to viewed with a Web browser. If you need to print or include a digital signature, it is best to use Adobe Acrobat. If you have issues with opening a PDF in your browser, then you can download the file and open it in Adobe Acrobat.


  1. Download the file
    • If the PDF is on a Web site, right-click on the PDF file link, then select Save link as... (on a Windows computer) or use control-click, then choose Download Linked File (on a Mac).
    • If the PDF is an email attachment, select the download arrow. Select the arrow, then Show in folder.  The instructions vary based on which platform and browser you are using. 
  2. Open the PDF file from the downloaded location, using either File Explorer (on Windows) or Finder (on a Mac)
    Open PDF file from File Explorer


Set PDF files to always download and open in Adobe Acrobat

You can set Chrome to always download and open a PDF file in Adobe Acrobat. You can change the setting back using the same instructions, but you can toggle the setting to off.

  1. Open Chrome.
  2. Browse to the Privacy and security content settings at chrome://settings/content/pdfDocuments
  3. Turn on Download PDF files instead of automatically opening them in Chrome.

You can set Firefox to do the same by using the instructions at Changing download actions:

  1. Open Firefox
  2. Select Menu --> Options --> General --> Applications
  3. Select Portable Documet Format (PDF)
  4. Choose to Save File or another option, such as opening in the default application (Adobe Acrobat)

Make Adobe Acrobat the default program to open PDF files

You can make Adobe Acrobat the default program to open PDF files, if it is not already the default, in Windows 10 by using the instructions from Make Reader or Acrobat the default program for opening PDF files on Windows 10.

Using a browser

There are some PDF files that will automatically open in your browser, such as those without dynamic fields or forms. You can click on the PDF link, then you will be able to view it in your browser.

However, some Michigan Tech departments often use dynamic fields or forms for campus business. Unfortunately, browsers are unable to properly display these forms and instead displays an error messages such as, "Please wait...." or "Download and open in AdobeX" then will prompt you to upgrade to the latest version of Adobe Reader. You may not be able to open, view, digitally sign, or print a PDF using your browser. You will need to download the PDF file and open it in Adobe Acrobat.

If you'd prefer to be able to view PDF files directly in Chrome, there are extensions you can install, such as PDF Viewer that will display some PDF files. In all cases, PDF forms should be downloaded to your computer first, where they can be opened in Adobe Acrobat, filled out, and your responses saved.

Contact for issues with particular forms

Please contact the department or group who created any particular form(s) for which you are having issues. You can find the respective department's contact information at the bottom of their Web site, including phone, email, and any contact forms provided.

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Article ID: 60521
Thu 8/16/18 10:21 AM
Fri 4/5/24 8:14 AM

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Information regarding Adobe Acrobat Professional
Adobe Acrobat DC licensing changed on November 30, 2019. Follow these instructions to log in and reactivate the software on a Windows fully managed computer.