How to Change Default PDF Viewer in Windows 11: A Quick Guide

Changing the default PDF viewer in Windows 11 is a simple process that allows you to open PDF files with the application of your choice. This involves accessing the Settings menu and making a few adjustments. By following the steps outlined below, you can quickly set your preferred PDF viewer.

How to Change Default PDF Viewer in Windows 11

Making changes to your default PDF viewer is a straightforward task that can be completed in just a few steps. This will enable you to open PDF files using the application you prefer, rather than the one pre-set by Windows 11.

Step 1: Open Windows Settings

First, click on the Start menu and select the ‘Settings’ icon to open the settings menu.

Accessing the Settings menu is your gateway to customizing many aspects of your Windows 11 experience, including which app opens your PDF files by default.

Step 2: Go to Apps

Once in the Settings menu, click on the ‘Apps’ option to access app-related settings.

The ‘Apps’ section is where you can manage all installed applications, including setting default apps for different file types.

Step 3: Click on Default Apps

In the ‘Apps’ section, find and click on ‘Default apps’ to proceed.

The ‘Default apps’ menu allows you to change the default programs for various file types and protocols, including PDF files.

Step 4: Search for .pdf

Scroll down or use the search bar to find the ‘.pdf’ file extension.

This step helps you locate the specific file type you want to change the default application for, which in this case is .pdf.

Step 5: Select Your Preferred PDF Viewer

Click on the current default app next to the .pdf extension and select your preferred PDF viewer from the list.

Choosing your favorite PDF viewer will ensure that all PDF files open using that application from now on.

What Happens Next

After completing these steps, all PDF files on your computer will automatically open with the application you chose. This change will apply to all existing and new PDF files, making your workflow smoother and more efficient.

Tips for Changing Default PDF Viewer in Windows 11

  • Update Your Apps: Ensure your preferred PDF viewer is updated to the latest version for the best performance.
  • Explore Options: Some PDF viewers offer extra features like annotation tools and cloud integration. Test a few to find which works best for you.
  • Backup Your Settings: Consider creating a restore point before making changes, just in case.
  • Check File Associations: Sometimes, changing the default app for one file type can affect others; double-check your settings.
  • Use Multiple Viewers: If you need different viewers for different tasks, consider setting defaults for specific occasions.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find the Settings menu in Windows 11?

Click on the Start menu and select the gear-shaped ‘Settings’ icon. You can also press Win + I on your keyboard.

Can I use any application as my default PDF viewer?

Yes, as long as the application supports opening PDF files, it should appear in the list of available options.

What if my preferred PDF viewer isn’t listed?

Make sure the application is installed correctly. If it still doesn’t appear, try reinstalling it.

Will changing the default PDF viewer affect my files?

No, changing the default viewer won’t affect the PDF files themselves; it only changes which application opens them.

Can I switch back to the original PDF viewer?

Yes, you can follow the same steps and choose the original application or any new one as your default.

Summary of Steps

  1. Open Windows Settings.
  2. Go to Apps.
  3. Click on Default Apps.
  4. Search for .pdf.
  5. Select your preferred PDF viewer.


Changing the default PDF viewer in Windows 11 is a quick and easy process that significantly enhances your user experience. By following the steps and tips outlined in this article, you will have more control over how you interact with PDF files on your computer.

Whether you prefer a lightweight reader for speed or a feature-rich editor for more advanced tasks, setting your default PDF viewer lets you tailor your system to your needs. So why stick with the default when you can choose the best tool for the job?

Feel free to experiment with different PDF viewers and switch back if needed. The flexibility of Windows 11 makes it simple to customize your settings, ensuring a smooth and efficient workflow. Happy PDF viewing!

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