Carnegie Mellon University

ChemE Computing

Chemical Engineering Computing

Why is my PDF telling me I need Acrobat Reader?

When you open some PDF files (Especially those from CMU administrative departments), you may receive the following error:


Why am I seeing this error? I thought we Acrobat Professional on our laptops?

You do have Acrobat Professional! Acrobat Pro is better then Acrobat Reader. There are a few reasons you would see this error:

  1. If you Double-click a PDF on your computer and you haven't set Acrobat as your default PDF viewer, the file will open in Edge or Chrome. Neither Edge or Chrome are capable of displaying Advanced PDFs.
  2. If you click on an attachment from the gmail web interface that is an Advanced PDF. The gmail web interface uses a "Previewer" based on Chrome that cannot display advanced PDFs
  3. If you Double-Click a PDF attachment in Outlook that is and Advanced PDF it will open in your default viewer. If Acrobat is not your default viewer it will open in Edge or Chrome

How do I get around this issue?

***You have to Sign-in to Acrobat before proceeding. See here if you have not done so***

For situations 1 & 3 above you have two options:

  1. Set Acrobat as your default viewer - preferred
    1. Find any PDF on your computer and Right-Click on it
    2. Click "Properties" at the bottom of the menu
    3. Next to "Opens with:" click "Change"
    4. Select "Adobe Acrobat DC" from the list and click okay
    5. Now when you Double-click a PDF on your computer or in Outlook it will open correctly
  2. Select Acrobat each time:
    1. In Outlook, Right-click on the attachment and select "Open in Acrobat"
    2. On your comptuer, Right-click the PDF and go to "open with" and select "Adobe Acrobat DC"

For situation 2:

  1. Right-click on the attachement and select "Open in new Tab"
  2. On the new tab you should see "Open in Acrobat" in the upper right side as seen below. Click this to open the file correctly