Last Reviewed:  April 14, 2023

Using Acrobat for PDF Preview; Common Problems

You can use Acrobat for previewing PDF files in FileCenter's preview window. This article describes how to set it up and potential problems you may run into.

What Edition of Acrobat?

For best results, install the most recent version of Acrobat Reader. See The Official Acrobat Reader Page for more information.

It is possible to use Acrobat Professional, though it tends to be more problematic.

NOTE: If you have both Acrobat Reader and Acrobat Professional installed, either one of them might get used for the preview in FileCenter. What's more, the previewer may change back and forth from Reader to Professional. It is Adobe that decides which one to hand over to FileCenter. It is out of our control.

Setting Acrobat as the Default Previewer

To choose Acrobat as your PDF previewer, go to FileCenter's Settings and select the "Preview" option on the left. In the "PDF Preview" section, select "Adobe". Click "OK". Acrobat will now be the default preview engine for PDFs.

Switching to Acrobat On-the-Fly

You might just want to switch to Acrobat once in awhile for certain tough files, but leave the default set on a different engine. In FileCenter 6, you can switch between preview engines on-the-fly:

  1. Open the Preview window
  2. Select a PDF file
  3. In the Preview window, click the "Preview" task button
  4. You'll see a list of available preview engines; click "Adobe PDF Viewer"

Problem: The PDF Previewer Won't Open

The most common problem users see is that they can't activate the PDF preview. When they hover their mouse over the button, it says "PDF mode is still loading. This may take up to 30 seconds." This message never goes away.

This is caused by Acrobat not loading or embedding properly. Different versions and even different installations of Acrobat have their own quirks. Most users clear this problem by installing the latest version of Acrobat Reader. If the issue doesn't go away, you'll have to stick with one of FileCenter's built-in PDF previewers.

Problem: Acrobat Won't Launch; PDF Files Won't Open

The issue is that you either can't open Acrobat if FileCenter is open, or you can't open PDF files. We have seen this sporadically with various versions of Acrobat. It only affects a few users.

The cause is that Acrobat is recognizing that it's already running (in FileCenter's preview window) and deciding not to open a new instance. This is an Acrobat issue and it's out of our control.

You can try reinstalling Acrobat or installing the latest version of Acrobat Reader, but it may be that your only option is to switch to back to FileCenter's built-in previewer for PDF previews.

Problem: You Can't Move, Delete, or Rename a PDF File

The issue is that you can't do anything with the PDF file that's being previewed rename it, move it, delete it, etc. You'll usually see an error that the file's in use.

The cause is that Acrobat has a lock on the file which keeps FileCenter from doing anything with it. The solution is to simply close the preview window. This should release the lock and let you access the file again.

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