How to Use Adobe Reader

by Kate Evelyn

Adobe Reader is the most popular application for viewing files in the PDF format, which you'll often need to do when browsing the web. For example, a lot of restaurants post menus as PDFs and some product manufacturers post copies of user manuals in this fashion, so those who don't have Reader won't be able to see them. Before you can use Adobe Reader, you have to download it. See the link in the resources section to get started.

Install Adobe Reader. Once you've downloaded the .exe file, click on the Adobe Reader icon on your desktop to start the install. Just follow the prompts, clicking okay when you're asked to. Then exit out of your Web browser to complete the process.

Open a PDF file. There are two ways to do this. Click on a PDF file online or in your email and select "open" or go to Adobe Reader directly by going to the start menu, choosing "all programs" and finding Adobe Reader in the menu that pops up. Double click on Reader and then go to "open" in the "file" menu. The default search option should be files with a .pdf extension.

Go to the Adobe Reader tool bar at the top of the screen. It holds all of the basic commands. First, click on the magnifying glass. This allows you to zoom in and out of to get different views of your file by clicking on the page. Another way to change the view is with the three buttons to the right of the magnifying glass. The first one makes the page actual size, the second fits it to the window and the third fits the width to the window while leaving the length as is.

Next, select the hand icon on the far left of the tool bar. This lets you move the file around in the window so you can view whatever you need to, even if it starts out off the screen. You can also connect to hyperlinks this way.

Check out the back and forward arrows. They have triangle icons on them. Use these buttons to go back to the page you just looked at or to move to the next page in the PDF you're looking at. If you need to go directly to the first or last page, use the buttons to the left and right of these arrows, respectively.


  • check You cannot permanently modify files using Adobe Reader. To make lasting changes, you need Adobe Acrobat or another PDF editing package. Use the help menu in the software if you need further assistance.


  • close If you're using a work computer, always get permission before downloading software.

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