Turning off Read Mode while viewing PDFs in your Browser

This week, I had a couple of folks ask:

How do I turn off that weird bar that comes up while reading PDFs in the browser?
Can I turn off Read Mode when viewing PDFs in the browser?

These are the same questions and both refer to this floating toolbar visible when viewing PDFs in the browser:
Adobe Acrobat X Read Mode Toolbar

In this article I’ll explain:

  • What is Read Mode?
  • Why would I want to turn off Read Mode?
  • How to turn off Read Mode for an individual PDF
  • How to turn off Read Mode permanently via Preferences
  • How to turn off Read Mode when deploying Acrobat

Acrobat X Read Mode: What is it?

When you go to a website to view a PDF in a supported browser using Reader X or Acrobat X, you will see the Read Mode toolbar:
Adobe Acrobat X Read Mode Toolbar

The Read Mode toolbar is a semi-transparent toolbar which floats over the document.

If you hover over the toolbar, it appears. If you move your mouse away, it will fade out of view. You can click and move the toolbar by clicking dragging on the right or left sides.

The benefit of Read Mode is that it saves screen real estate and allows you read PDFs in the browser (or in Acrobat) with minimal distractions.

Why would I want to turn off Read Mode?

Read Mode, though convenient, is limiting. Only a few of the many options available for viewing pages is available in this mode.

How do I turn off Read Mode for an individual document?

Just click the Acrobat icon on the right side of the Read Mode toolbar to exit Read Mode.Turning off Read mode via the Adobe Acrobat X Read Mode Toolbar
When you do, you’ll see the full Acrobat interface within your browser window:
A PDF displayed without Read Mode on

Turn off Read Mode for all PDFs via Acrobat (or Reader) Preferences

It’s easy to turn off Read Mode. Heres’ how:

  1. Quit your internet browser
  2. Launch Acrobat (or Reader)
  3. Choose Edit>Preferences
  4. Click on the Internet category on the left
  5. Deselect “Display in Read Mode by default”
  6. Click the OK button.
  7. Relaunch Acrobat

Acrobat Preferences to turn off Read Mode

Deploying Acrobat with Read Mode turned Off

If you are in IT and responsible for deploying Acrobat, you may elect to push down the product to user desktops with your preferred settings.

It is possible to turn off Read Mode using the following registry key on Windows:

The setting is identical for Acrobat and Reader (italics) below.

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Adobe\Adobe Acrobat or Acrobat Reader\10.0\AVGeneral]

“bBrowserDisplayInReadMode”=dword:00000000

You can use any tool that can push down registry settings.

10 Responses to Turning off Read Mode while viewing PDFs in your Browser

  1. Loc Huynh says:

    I would like to request that this option to enable/disable “Display in Read Mode by default” is available in Adobe Customization.

  2. Sarah says:

    Is there a way when creating the pdf to disable the floating toolbar on the recipients machine?

  3. Greg says:

    I need a way to disable read mode permanently on my computer (or at least remove the button from the toolbar).

  4. herb says:

    i would like the floating tool bar enabled……i cant seem to activate it……any ideas?

    • Rick Borstein says:

      It sounds like you want to turn on Read Mode. Follow the steps in the article to turn it on if you previously turned it off.