Opening Acrobat PDFs in IE

As I just mentioned, there is a way to make Office documents open in their respective apps rather than IE. Since PDFs are quite common on the net I am always getting annoyed when they load in the browser for many of the same reasons I mentioned earlier today.

The double whammy to PDFs loading in IE is that they are not entirely downloaded. So for a multi page PDF file you have to wait a long time to page around and in many cases this freezes IE which makes me extra grumpy (try searching, even worse). There is a preference in Acrobat Reader to both disable the opening of documents in the browser as well as disable the loading “feature” (I'd call it a flaw). Here is how to do it:

  1. Launch Acrobat (why oh why does this take FOREVER!!!)
  2. Go to Edit->Preferences (Adobe should know by now that Windows programs do not have Preference in the Edit menu. That is legacy Mac OS 9 behavior. Please fix this).
  3. Click on Internet
  4. Uncheck Display PDF in browser
  5. Unhceck Allow fast web view

Now quit Acrobat. Problem solved. However, in my attempt to semi automate this I tried to figure out what regkeys control this behavior and failed. It seems that the following regkey controls the browser setting:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Adobe\Acrobat Reader\6.0\Originals]

However, if you set this it does not actually work until you launch Acrobat and go to Preference and Save them. seems changing the regkey in and of itself does nothing till the prefs somehow get marked dirty. Does anyone have an secrets about making this stick?

While we are on the subject, launching Acrobat is painfully slow. In fact, for a product that is designed to be used to read documents it doesn't really optimize for that scenario (it's very slow, page flipping is slow, and launching is slow). There are some documented ways to speed up Acrobat by quite a bit though. But common, I really shouldn't have to do this. Don't load plugins and code that I'm not ever going to use. Go look at how fast Word, PowerPoint and Excel boot.

I'm also assuming there is good reason why Apple has written their own PDF viewer that ships with the OS. It's far superios to Acrobat Reader for doing the most common scenerio (reading a PDF).

Comments (5)

  1. There’s also taking my method. As far as I can tell, IE still uses the Mozilla plugin for PDFs that comes with Reader. When I was dealing with this with Firefox, I simply went and removed the offending plugin.

    Of course, if IE isn’t using the plugin, it’s a different story. But I only use IE for testing my layouts, so I’ve never bothered to check.

  2. Joe Pruitt says:

    I found this on the web a while back and it’s worked well for me.

    If you’re fed up with how slow Acrobat Reader 6.0 loads, here’s how to make it faster by removing all the unused plug-ins. I have not seen any missing functionality by doing this.

    Here’s how to do it:

    – 1. Go to C:Program FilesAdobeAcrobat 6.0Reader (replace the C if you installed on another drive, like I did).

    – 2. Create a new folder called plug_ins_disabled.

    – 3. Move all files and folders from the plug_ins folder to the plug_ins_disabled folder except EWH32.api and search.api. There should only be these 2 files in the plug_ins folder.

    – 4. Done



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