Getting the Best PDF Browser Experience by using Adobe PDF Add-ons


As a creative director you are excited for another awesome day at the agency design conference. You decide to check your email really quick before the next session begins, but your tablet battery is dead. No worries as another attendee offers their tablet and you pull up an email from your lead designer. An urgent ad request came through yesterday from a client and they need your approval to send it to the publication. You open up the PDF in the browser but the artwork won’t display correctly—apparently Adobe Reader isn’t installed! Without Reader installed how can you even add comments? You call the designer as the session is starting to fill up. She reassures you the file looks professional and the messaging is point on so you are forced to approve it without really knowing whether it follows the new brand direction you discussed with the client last week.

This experience could happen to anyone, but you can minimize this by making sure your browser is setup to open PDF files using the Acrobat or Reader PDF browser add-on (or plug-in). By default, each browser has a built-in PDF viewer that controls the display of your PDF within the browser. These native PDF viewers sometimes have difficulty displaying PDF content and offer limited navigation and tools.

What the Reader and Acrobat PDF Browser Add-ons Offer

Here’s the low down on what to expect from the Adobe PDF browser add-on:

  • Sign, add text, checkmarks, initials, and send a document for signature
  • Commenting tools for highlighting, sticky notes, and marking up text
  • Drawing markup tools like text callouts, arrows, circles, squares, and a freehand pencil
  • Upload your file to the cloud
  • Send file as an email attachment
  • Numerous navigation and display tools
  • View files in Read Mode
  • View page thumbnails
  • View file attachments
  • Search the document

Potential Problems When Viewing a PDF in a Browser

Here’s how you may know that you’re not viewing PDFs using an Adobe PDF add-on:

  • A blank page displays instead of your PDF
  • A warning stating: “This PDF document might not be displayed correctly” pops up.
  • A red X icon displays
  • 3D models don’t render
  • Embedded SWF files won’t play
  • Parts of the PDF won’t display
  • Decreased image quality
  • Files won’t print or are large when printing
  • Instead of opening within the browser, the PDF automatically downloads

So, how do you modify your browser to open PDFs using the Adobe PDF add-on? Each browser is different, but fortunately, there is a simple way to switch the settings in your browser. Here are the Adobe PDF add-on instructions for Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari.


Posted on 02-10-2015


  • By Jim - 11:39 PM on December 19, 2015   Reply

    Firefox just disabled my Acrobat-Create PDF. It has been working fine for a long time and now it is apparently “not signed”. I don’t know what this means or what to do about it. Can Adobe help?

    • By Document Cloud Team - 10:41 AM on December 21, 2015   Reply

      Hi Jim,

      Do you have all the latest updates installed for Acrobat?
      This article explains how to enable the Add-on:


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