Why can Internet Explorer not open PDF files?
Question by Trish /

I have Adobe Acrobat 9 installed and am using it with Windows 7.

My problem is that when I’m on an internet page (IE8) that has a link to a PDF, when I click on the link, I just get a rectangle box with a question mark in it. It’s like the computer doesn’t recognise Adobe and it doesn’t matter how many times I try.

Any help would be appreciated.

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Answers (6)
  • Trish

    Thanks to Mike, Fidelis, ha14 & Jonathan Mould, they were all good answers.  In the end I used ha14’s idea, but didnt do the Manage Add ons as I’m not that tech savvy and had no idea where to find this.  Anyway its working now.  Thanks again to Mike, Fidelis and Jonathan Mould, I will be keeping these emails, just in case I run into trouble again.

  • Mike

    Is it possible you are running the 64bit Internet Explorer because there are known problems with 64bit and Adobe Reader. If so try using the 32bit version.


    Hello, easiest way is to make sure that Adobe acrobat is your default program to open .pdf files.  Once adobe acrobat is your default .pdf file reader, no matter if you open a file on your explorer or on a browser adobe acrobat will open it for you.

  • Anonymous

    In the Manage Add-ons dialog, select Add-ons that have been used by Internet Explorer
    Make sure Adobe Acrobat Control for ActiveX (pdf.ocx) is Enabled. If it’s disabled, enable the add-on and restart Internet Explorer.

    1. Close your web browser.
    2. Start Acrobat or Adobe Reader.
    3. Choose Edit > Preferences.
    4. Select Internet in the list on the left.
    5. Deselect Display PDF in Browser, and click OK.
    6. Restart Internet Explorer

  • Jonathan Mould

    Try updating to IE9 or even better chrome or firefox. Also try Adobe Reader X.