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Configuring IE or AOL to Use Acrobat Reader as a Helper App

If you'd rather have your PDF files appear in a separate Acrobat viewer window, you can configure Internet Explorer or AOL to use the viewer as a helper application. Internet Explorer or AOL then starts an Acrobat viewer, which displays PDF files within the Acrobat viewer window, instead of within the browser window. In Internet Explorer and AOL this should also give you the option to save the file instead of opening it.

To configure Internet Explorer or AOL to use Acrobat as a helper application:

Items you should click on are in bold.
Items you should type are in fixed-pitch.

  1. Exit Internet Explorer or AOL.
  2. Choose Start...Find...Files Or Folders.
  3. Type pdf*.ocx, choose your local hard drive from the Look In pop-up menu, and then click Find Now. Make a note of the pathname to each pdf*.ocx file on your system.
  4. Choose Start...Run.
  5. Type regsvr32 -u X:\[path]\pdf*.ocx in the Open text box, where X is the drive and [path] is the path to a pdf*.ocx file. For example:
    regsvr32 -u C:\Acrobat3\Exchange\ActiveX\pdf42.ocx
  6. Click OK.
  7. Repeat steps 4-6 for every pdf*.ocx file installed on your system.
  8. Delete the pdf*.ocx and pdf.tlb files from the Acrobat3\Exchange\ActiveX and Acrobat3\Reader\ActiveX directories or from the Reader\ActiveX directory. You must delete all the pdf*.ocx files; if you rename or move the files, Internet Explorer or AOL can still use them.
  9. If Netscape Navigator is installed, locate the nppdf32.dll file in the Netscape\Navigator\Program\Plugins directory or the Netscape\Communicator\Program\Plugins directory, and then move or rename the file. (Internet Explorer and AOL can use the nppdf32.dll file if it cannot locate a pdf*.ocx file.)
  10. Restart Windows.
  11. Start Internet Explorer or AOL; the browser will start an Acrobat viewer in a separate window to display PDF files. If you're using Internet Explorer 3.0x or earlier, continue with steps 12-20.
  12. Choose View...Options, then select Programs.
  13. Click File Types.
  14. Select Adobe Acrobat Document in the Registered File Types scroll box, then click Edit. If Adobe Acrobat Document is not listed, select New Type.
  15. Type Adobe Acrobat Document in the Description text box.
  16. Type application/pdf in the Content Type (MIME) text box.
  17. Type pdf in the Default Extension for Content text box.
  18. Select Open from the list of Actions and then click Edit. If Open is not listed, click New.
  19. Click Browse, locate(usually C:\Acrobat3\Reader) and then select the Acrobat Reader 3.0x(usually AcroRd32.exe), then click Select.
  20. Select Use DDE, then click OK to close each dialog box.

To reestablish the original Internet Explorer or AOL settings, reinstall Acrobat Reader 3.0x.

This document primarily contains information from Adobe FaxYI document 731006 and is ©1995,1996,1997,1999 Adobe Systems Incorporated. As such, we provide these instructions as a service to our customers only and cannot provide support for the instructions contained in this document. You may receive the full text of this document by sending email to with 731006 as the subject.

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