How to Open PDF files in Adobe Reader from Microsoft Edge

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This brief tutorial shows students and new users how to disable the internal PDF viewer in Microsoft Edge browser with Windows 10 and always open PDF files externally in Adobe Reader or other PDF applications.

The new Microsoft Edge browser has adopted the Chromium open source project code base and offers better web compatibility and performance over the legacy edge.

Microsoft Edge browser is cross-platform, which supports all of Windows, MacOS and Linux systems. If you’re currently using Edge and want to learn how to disable the internal PDF viewer in Microsoft Edge, the steps below should show you how to do it.

By default, Microsoft Edge tries to use its internal PDF viewer when dealing with PDF files in the browser. This might work for many, but there are few out folks out there that might want to use Adobe Reader or other PDF applications for all PDF files.

To get started with opening PDF files externally, follow the steps below:

Open PDF file externally

By default, Microsoft Edge uses its internal PDF viewer to open all PDF files. This may be a good feature for personal use, however, in some business environments, this not work as expected and a dedicated PDF application works great instead.

To disable PDF file in Edge and use external PDF apps instead, open the new Microsoft Edge, go to Settings and more  > Settings.

microsoft edge settings

When the Settings page opens, go to Cookies and site permissions. Under Site permissions, move the block to enable Edge to Always download PDF files.

microsoft edge cookies and site permissions

Or you can simply type the URL below in Edge browser to go directly to the PDF documents settings.

edge://settings/content/pdfDocuments

Disable Internal PDF viewer via registry

You can also disable Edge internal PDF viewer from Windows registry.

If you’re logged in as an administrator, you can also disable this feature via Windows registry. To do that, use the steps below:

Using Windows registry is one way to force all users on the system to use external PDF application. There are multiples ways to do this in Windows, however, using Windows registry is the easiest and most effective way to do it.

To enable, press the Windows Key + on your keyboard to open the run command box. Or use the search function to search for the Run app.

xwindows run regedit.png.pagespeed.ic.VuZGllDd0z

In the command box, type the commands below and press Enter.

regedit

When Windows registry opens, navigate to the path below. If you don’t see the Edge key, create one.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Edge

From there, right-click on the Edge key and select the New > DWORD (32-bit) Value option to create a REG_DWORD value if you don’t see existing AlwaysOpenPdfExternally value already created.

If you don’t see Edge key or folder, create one.

windows edge safesearch dword

Name the new DWORD value as:

AlwaysOpenPdfExternally

After saving the DWORD above, double-click it to open. Then enter the value of 0 to disable and 1 to enable.

microsoft edge disable internal pdf viewer


0 = Force disabled
1 = Force enabled

That should do it.

Conclusion:

This post showed you how to disable the internal PDF viewer in Microsoft Edge browser. If you find any error above, please use the comment form below to report.

2 Comments

  1. Searched many sites for how to make Edge open pdf’s by default. This is the only one that had a solution that worked. Microsoft changed the Cookies and Site permissions page to no longer have the setting to change, but the link you gave to get to that place worked. Thanks so much

  2. So good. Thanks for this post!

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