Adobe Reader

The Adobe Reader is the “original”1) PDF viewer. It is a little bit bloated but simply works better with PDF files >v1.5 including JavaScript (as often used by public authorities) than most free alternatives.

The Adobe Reader is often used as attack vector. You should – for your own and others safety – use a restrictive configuration (e.g. disable JavaScript in PDF files, activate it only as needed). Additionally, you may use another program as default PDF viewer. You can still use the Adobe Reader as fallback if you got any problems with a specific PDF file.

Installation

Ubuntu

10.04 Lucid and above

If not already done, you have to add the partner repository first.

Simply install the following package(s):

You will be asked if you want to set the Adobe Reader as default PDF viewer. You may choose “No” for security reasons on important systems, using the Adobe Reader only as needed.

If you want to view PDF files including (traditional) Chinese, Japanese, Korean or some other extended fonts, you need to install them first. If it is legal in your country, you can add the medibuntu repository and install the following package:

  • acroread-fonts (medibuntu)2)

If you can't use medibuntu, download the needed fonts from Adobe itself. Open a terminal, uncompress the downloaded archive, change into the created directory and call the included installation script via sudo ./INSTALL. The default Adobe Reader installation dir is /opt, therefore you can simply confirm the dialogue.

Windows

XP and above

  • First way:
    Visit http://get.adobe.com/reader/, download the installer and execute it with administrator privileges. This may installs a download helper called Adobe Download Manager, downloading and installing the Adobe Reader for you. If you don't want this, see the following.
  • Second way (redistributable):
    Visit ftp://ftp.adobe.com/pub/adobe/reader/win/ and choose the newest available version.3) Download the installer and execute it with administrator privileges. This is e.g. useful if you need the installer on multiple PCs.
  • Alternatively, you may want to use the so called Adobe Reader Lite, a bloat-free version of the PDF viewer.

Tips and tricks

Disable insecure functionality

You should disable the following functions and temporarily enable them only if really needed by a PDF file you want to use:

  • Embedded JavaScript (called “Acrobat JavaScript” in the settings)
  • Allow opening of non-PDF file attachments with external applications (Trust Manager)

See also

  • evince – cross-platform Open Source viewer
  • foxit-reader – another proprietary PDF viewer for MS Windows
1) Adobe developed/specified PDF in the year 1993
2) no clickable apturl link here because the package comes from medibuntu
3) You don't need to download the major version + Updates anymore. Adobe offers completely patched installers since July 2010.
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