[Solved] Remove or prevent sidebar from opening by default on Adobe Reader

In Adobe Acrobat Reader DC, presently 2015.007.20033, how do I prevent the sidebar from opening by default?

It’s not so bad when a PDF document is in portrait mode, but opening one in landscape takes up too much real estate.

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February 1, 2017 update

The previously accepted answer is no longer correct for newer versions of Adobe.

Please refer to the new answer for newer versions of Adobe; both Windows and Mac.

Solution #1:

Newer versions of Adobe Acrobat Reader DC (currently at 21.005.20058) have changed both the wording and the function within Preferences. Instead of unchecking the option to open the Tools Pane by default, the application will now remember whether it was shown or hidden previously.

Before you change your preferences, open Acrobat Reader and from the Menu Bar and navigate to View > Show/Hide > Tools Pane to hide it accordingly.

Menu Bar - Tools Pane

More recent iterations of of Acrobat Reader DC will still display a set of icons near the right side of your PDF document after you hide the Tools Pane. However, you can easily hide them by clicking on the icon at the bottom-right that allows you to Hide Task Pane.

Hide Task Pane

Once that is done, use the Menu Bar to select Edit > Preferences and in the subsequent window highlight Documents on the upper-left. Check the box to Remember current state of Tools Pane and then select the OK button.


Respondent: Run5k

Solution #2:

As of Feb 1, 2017: Adobe Reader DC changed its interface. Please see newly accepted answer: https://superuser.com/a/1173789/259665

For versions c. 2015/2016:

In the 15.008.20082 release (July 14, 2015), Adobe addressed this with a setting! Here’s how to change this:

Go to Edit > Preferences (or press Ctrl+K) and under “Documents” section, uncheck “Open tools pane for each document”.

adobe preferences > documents > Open Settings

Respondent: Chris Betti

Solution #3:

Apparently, there is no setting for this in the Preferences or anywhere else. So we’re all stuck with the “Tools Pane” (this is what Adobe calls it) with every new document we open.

There is a keyboard shortcut to hide/reveal it: Shift-F4 will do the trick. Of course that is nowhere near a solution for this issue, not even a workaround, but still.

Like many other users I think the inability to hide the Tools Pane by default is ridiculous, so let’s file bug reports with Adobe en masse using this URL:

Respondent: Maarten

Solution #4:

A less destructive method of resolving this was posted in Adobe’s forums: How do I remove the right hand pane in Reader DC.

The solution is edit the XML file “Adobe/Acrobat Reader DC/Reader/AcroApp/ENU/Viewer.aapp” to contain only this:

<Application xmlns="http://ns.adobe.com/acrobat/app/2014" title="Viewer" id="Viewer" majorVersion="1" requiresDoc="true" minorVersion="0">

This will result in the Tools Pane being hidden by default, but without the loss of functionality (and potential crashes) as is the case with the method involving moving files.

Respondent: ShastriH

Solution #5:

There is a workaround that may work. It involves removing some files (adobe applets) to another directory.

User jerryANDtom pointed it out in a thread on the Adobe forum:

Go to the install directory, i.e. C:Program Files (x86)AdobeAcrobat Reader DCReaderAcroAppENU
Create a new subfolder (I used Disabled).
Move three files from the ENU folder into the new Disabled folder: AppCenter_R.aapp, Home.aapp and Viewer.aapp.
Open a PDF and no more Tool Pane!

Respondent: Glauco Aquino

Solution #6:

@Glauco Aquino

Great answer! Just in case there are any Mac users with the same problem, the same steps can be applied to Mac OS X, originally posted by myself on the same thread on the Adobe forum.

Just ensure you’ve properly closed and quit the “Adobe Acrobat Reader DC.app” application first:

  1. Open Finder, navigate to Applications
  2. Right-click on “Adobe Acrobat Reader DC” and select “Show Package Contents”
  3. Navigate to /Contents/Resources/AcroApp/ENU/ (or whatever 3-letter language code you’re using)
  4. *** Create a new folder. Name the folder “Disabled”.
  5. *** Move the following 3 files into the “Disabled” folder: AppCenter_R.aapp; Home.aapp; Viewer.aapp
    If you’re doing this via mouse drag-and-drop, ensure you hold down the Command key, to ensure the files are moved and not copied.
  6. Close Finder, and launch Adobe Acrobat Reader DC

*** You may have to authorise these actions with your administrator password.

Respondent: JKVeganAbroad

Solution #7:

This annoying feature can also be disabled by altering the following registry setting:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareAdobeAcrobat ReaderDCAVGeneral]

However it may seem strange, the value 1 means that the right-hand pane is disabled (hidden) by default. It corresponds to “Open tools pane for each document”, under “Documents” section in “Edit > Preferences”.

Respondent: Ondrej Tucny

Solution #8:

The Tools bar is somewhat confusing and I didn’t like them. I wish there was a permanent way to remove them from Preferences/Settings.

For the current Adobe Reader DC running instance, there is a way to hide the tool bar. Try the “Read Mode (Ctrl+H)” command. This will make the Tools bar disappear for the current session.

I wish Adobe Team adds this setting somewhere under Preferences in future updates of the product.

Respondent: kamleshrao

Solution #9:

Changing preferences in Acrobat Reader DC (2015.020.20039) didn’t work for me either.

Setting registry key:

HKCUSoftwareAdobeAcrobat ReaderDCAccess bOverridePageLayout (default value 0)

to 1 did the trick!

Respondent: AZCAR

Solution #10:

I don’t have the option to Open tools pane for each document, or Remember current state of Tools Pane. I’m using Adobe Acrobat Pro DC 2015.006.3033.

I did some digging and found if you edit the file C:Program Files (x86)AdobeAcrobat 2015AcrobatAcroAppENUViewer.aapp . If you use <!-- and --> to comment out <Layouts>. Relaunch Adobe it looks to work.

This would leave the file looking like this:

<Application xmlns="http://ns.adobe.com/acrobat/app/2014" title="Viewer" id="Viewer" majorVersion="1" requiresDoc="true" minorVersion="0">
        <Layout name="Default">
                <Component name="AppShortcutListView" type="Custom"/>


Respondent: Nixphoe

The answers/resolutions are collected from stackoverflow, are licensed under cc by-sa 2.5 , cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0 .

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