Microsoft drops Edge's PDF reader in favor of Adobe Acrobat PDF
Microsoft and Adobe announced today that Adobe's Acrobat PDF technology will soon power the PDF reading capabilities of Microsoft's Edge web browser.
Adobe's Acrobat PDF technology will be included in Microsoft Edge for Windows 10 and Windows 11. The rollout of the change is scheduled for March 2023. Edge for Home users and on non-managed devices will get the new functionality automatically. There is no opt-out for general users, according to Microsoft. Managed devices need to be opt-in, according to Microsoft's announcement on the Microsoft Edge blog.
Microsoft plans to retire the current Microsoft Edge PDF solution on March 31, 2024. The legacy engine remains available until the data, but will be removed from Edge at this point leaving only Adobe's solution for PDF viewing in the web browser.
The company highlights the advantages of the change. It gives users "a unique PDF experience" with "higher fidelity for more accurate colors and graphics, improved performance, strong security for PDF handling, and greater accessibility -- including better text selection and read-aloud narration".
Microsoft published an FAQ on its Tech Community website that provides additional information. While initially limited to Windows 10 and Windows 11, Adobe Acrobat PDF technology will eventually come to mac OS devices as well. Microsoft reveals no data, only that the feature "is coming in the future".
The built-in Adobe Acrobat PDF technology will be free for Edge users. Microsoft notes that users may purchase an Acrobat subscription to gain access to advanced features that include text and image editing capabilities, PDF conversions and combining, and more. Edge users who have an Acrobat subscription already may use the Acrobat extension inside Microsoft Edge without additional costs to gain access to these features.
Microsoft notes that Adobe's implementation offers full feature parity with the legacy Microsoft PDF technology that is being used currently in the web browser. An Adobe brand mark will be visible in the "bottom corner" and there will be an option to try advanced features or sign-up for an existing Adobe Acrobat subscription. There will also be a purchase option and an option to download the Adobe Acrobat extension to unlock the advanced features in Edge.
Microsoft Edge: Adobe PDF timeline
|March 2023||September 2023||March 31st, 2024|
|Consumer Devices||Rollout to users begins.||Rollout to users completes.||N/A|
|Managed devices||Opt-in policy starts.||· Rollout to managed devices begins.|
· Opt-in policy expires.
· Opt-out policy begins.
|· Opt-out policy expires.
· Microsoft Edge legacy PDF engine is scheduled to be removed.
Both companies benefit from the integration of Adobe PDF technology in Microsoft Edge. Microsoft can drop legacy PDF technology development in Edge and gets access to PDF technology. Adobe gets more exposure for its technology and an option to win new subscribers.
Now You: do you use a web browser to view PDF files?
“…remains available until the data” and “…Microsoft reveals no data” Is it a typo, should be date?
It appears there’s still no way to use the pdf reader of your choice – it’s either Microsoft’s way or the highway.
In default apps, at the bottom, click select by file type. I set Sumatra PDF as my default reader without issues.
The first question is whether to view PDFs in the browser or in a separate software, isn’t it?
@Chris > The first question is whether to view PDFs in the browser or in a separate software…
Certainly a very good question! How do they will do it? :S
This will help to promote Adobe products, so my guess is that Adobe is paying Microsoft to do it.
My default free Foxit PDF Reader 18.104.22.16850 does all I need reliably and securely.
I have been using Sumatra and I am satisfied.
@MGus.ai, yes, Sumatra is one of the best PDF readers. It’s my father’s favorite reader too!
I use Firefox’s native PDF viewer occasionally as I’ve set ‘Portable Document Format (PDF)” to “Always ask”, and choose accordingly most of the time to either download only or open (which downloads first) with SumatraPDF.
I wouldn’t even think about using Microsoft’s Edge browser should it be available (I’m on Windows 7) so that eliminates any concern about their increasingly bloated browser’s native PDF viewer and the shift to Acrobat’s technology, a reader I’ve abandoned years ago.
Good choice Tom.
I don’t know the clear advantages of changing to Adobe PDF, will be it a more secure experience than now? I read in the past that Adobe got severe security bugs all around its products. Thanks for the article!
“…Microsoft notes that users may purchase an Acrobat subscription to gain access to advanced features”
“…An Adobe brand mark will be visible in the “bottom corner””
“…Adobe gets more exposure for its technology and an option to win new subscribers.”
Just when we got away from Adobe crap being built into the browser, they’re back. Adobe Zerodays as a Service.
> Just when we got away from Adobe crap being built into the browser, they’re back. Adobe Zerodays as a Service.
MS Edge already has the best built-in pdf viewer among other browser. This news is actually disappointing, Acrobat can add nothing to Edge but telemetry and marketing data collection for Adobe.
When I read this news I was like “WTF!!? The best pdf reader is going to be replaced? WHY!!!???”
Agree with this.
Edge’s PDF viewer has the better speech utility tht I have seen, with te best online voices. Amazing for hearing novels and everything ith no eye strain at all.
Sumatra..small and fast. I’ve never tried the Edge viewer.
Will it let you sign PDFs though? Always a pain with Adobe/PDFs.
I always use Libreoffice to sign PDFs, with no fail in more than two years of daily use. However I think that Edge would allow PDF signing using Adobe suscriptions, at it seems to introduce paid services.
Microsoft anti trust. Microsoft wants to look at my pictures in iCloud Photos and my Adobe Acrobat PDF files. No Thank you!!!
What about Linux? Will Adobe Reader return via Edge?
I hope they’ll open source their old PDF reader. I mean, what do they have to lose. At least the work won’t be for nothing then.
What was it based on previously anyway? I thought it was based on PDF.JS, apparently not? Is Google Chrome’s PDF reader yet a different reader?
Even before Mozilla added the feature to make PDF.JS the default PDF reader in Windows I associated Firefox to open such files manually. I was ahead of Mozilla, ha!
This is not going to make people use Microsoft Edge even though I myself quite like it. People are going to continue downloading Acrobat Reader even though in my eyes it is obsolete.
“do you use a web browser to view PDF files?”
Only while browsing, to see if the file’s contents are useful.
Once downloaded, I use SumatraPDF or an old version of Foxit Reader.
From the announcement: “users will also see an option to try the advanced features, such as converting PDFs, combining files, editing text and images” …
NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, _PLEASE_ NO!
Microsoft, _PLEASE_ allow this adobe marketing upsell BS to be DISABLED via settings, for the sake of all Edge users who don’t need it – and don’t want their browser displaying useless annoying ads! PLEASE!!!