How to Change the Default PDF Reader On Windows

A PDF file is a document format designed for sharing documents while preserving the sender’s intended formatting. In other words, a PDF file looks the same on different types of OS and devices. This makes it so popular and probably the most used document file format across the globe. Additionally, you have the flexibility to choose any software to open a PDF document.  Microsoft recommends its Edge browser as the preferred PDF reader but you can choose any other PDF reader to be your default PDF app. This article tells you about the different methods to change the default PDF reader on your PC.

Also Read: Top 12 Fastest PDF Readers For Windows 11, 10, 8, 7 PC

Different Ways To Change The Default PDF Reader On Windows PC

There are different ways to change your system’s default PDF reader. You can proceed with the first method which will simply change your default PDF reader. But if this method does not work due to unknown reasons or restrictions then you can try the remaining methods.

Method 1: Use The Settings App

This app allows you to manage various settings and preferences on your PC, including the default apps for different file types. You can use this workaround to change your PC’s default PDF reader.

Step 1: Press Windows + I to open the Settings box.

Step 2: Click on the Apps tab in the left panel.

Step 3: Then, click on the Default Apps option in the right section.

Default Apps

Step 4: Type “.pdf” in the search box under “Set A Default For A File…” and the current default app to open PDFs will appear.

Set A Default For

Step 5: Click on the Square-Arrow symbol next to it and a list of programs that can open the PDF file on your system will be present in the list.

Step 6: Choose the app you wish to be your default PDF reader and click on the Set Default button.

PDF reader

This will change your default PDF reader app to the app of your choice. If this simple method does not work for you then other tweaks can be made to change the default PDF reader on Windows.

Also Read: How To Choose The Right PDF Viewer For Windows 11/10

Method 2: Use The “Open With Option”

This option allows you to choose which app you want to use to open a PDF file from a list of available apps on your PC. It’s a quick & easy method without going through the settings menu.

Step 1: Right-click any PDF file on your PC to view the context menu.

Step 2: Choose the “Open With” option and a new menu will appear with the list of apps that can open PDF on your computer.

Open With

Step 3: If the app you wish to set up as the default PDF reader does not appear in this list then select the last option “Choose Another App”.

PDF reader

Step 4: A list of all apps installed on your PC will appear. Select the app you wish to change as the default PDF reader app and then click on the Always button down below.

Note: If you cannot see your preferred app in the app list then probably it has not been installed correctly. You may have to reinstall it and then it will appear in the app selection list.

Step 5: You have now successfully changed the default PDF reader app on your computer.

Also Read: How To Navigate And Read PDFs On Window For Hassle-Free Reading Experience

Method 3: Use Control Panel

The Control Panel helps Windows users to change the Settings on their PC. Here are the steps to use the Control Panel to change the default PDF reader on Windows:

Step 1: Press Win + S to open the Search box.

Step 2: Type “Control Panel” and click on the Best Match result.

Control Panel

Step 3: A new box will open, where you have to click on Programs.

Step 4: Next, click on Default Programs.


Step 5: The current default app to open PDFs will appear when you type “.pdf” in the search box under “Set A Default For A File…”.

Step 6: Click the Square-Arrow icon next to it to bring up a list of applications that can open the PDF file on your computer.

Step 7: Click the Set Default option after selecting the software you want to serve as your default PDF reader. Your preferred software will become your default PDF reader as a result.

PDF reader

Also Read: How To Recover Deleted, Unsaved, Or Corrupted PDF Files

Bonus Feature: Use Systweak PDF Editor To Manage Your PDF Files

Home Screen

Systweak PDF Editor is a complete PDF management app that allows users to manage and edit their PDF files. Users can read their PDFs and perform many functions on their PDF files like:

  • Edit PDF: With this app, you can add images, text, and annotations to your PDF file.
  • Sign PDF: You can also sign the PDF file if there is an approval document in PDF format.
  • Convert PDF: The PDF file can be converted into Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Image, and Epub format.
  • Combine/Split PDF: Systweak PDF Editor allows you to combine and split PDF files.
  • Compress PDF: You can compress the size of large PDF files to smaller sizes.
  • Protect PDF: You can also password-protect the PDF file to ensure that the content does not fall into the wrong hands.

Apart from the above-mentioned features, many more modules include, adding or removing pages from a PDF file, rotating the pages, etc.

Customize Your PDF Reading Experience By Changing Your Default PDF Reader

When it comes down to it, the Edge browser is more than capable of meeting a PDF reader’s basic reading requirements. After a while, though, you might require more sophisticated functions that a different reader can provide. Hence we recommend using Systweak PDF Editor and setting it as your default PDF reader app.

Please let us know in the comments below if you have any questions or recommendations. We would be delighted to provide you with a resolution. We frequently publish advice, tricks, and solutions to common tech-related problems. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Flipboard, and Pinterest.

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