Did you find a PDF file on your computer and wonder what program should open it? Maybe someone emailed you a PDF file but you're not sure how to use it. Perhaps you tried to open the PDF file but Windows told you that it could not open it.
Before you can open a PDF file you'll need to determine what kind of file the .PDF file extension refers to.
Other types of files may also use the PDF file extension, though considering the popularity of the Portable Document Format this is unlikely. If you know of any additional file formats that use the .PDF extension, please let me know so I can update this information.
How To Open a PDF File:
The easiest way to open a PDF file is to double-click on it and let your PC decide which default application should open the file. If no program opens the PDF file then you probably don't have an application installed that can view and/or edit PDF files.
Chances are, however, Adobe Reader or another PDF reader program will open the PDF file. Adobe Reader, and most other PDF readers, are free downloads.
If you know of any more programs that open or edit PDF files, please send me a quick email and let me know the name of the program so I can update this page.
If you find that an application on your PC does try to open the PDF file but it's the wrong application or if you would rather have another installed program open PDF files, see my How To Change the Default Program for a Specific File Extension guide for making that change in Windows.
How To Convert a PDF File:
There are two main ways to attempt to convert a PDF file to another file type:
- Open the PDF file in its default program and choose to save the open file as another file format.
- Use a File Conversion Online Service or Software Program to convert the PDF file to another file format.
The first option involving opening the PDF file in its native program is preferable because it's both easier and will probably result in a more accurate file conversion. Of course if you don't have a program that opens and allows the saving of PDF files, a third-party file conversion tool (the second option) could be very useful.
Important: You cannot usually change a file extension (like the PDF file extension) to one that your computer recognizes and expect the newly renamed file to be usable. An actual file format conversion using one of the methods described above must take place in most cases.
Still Having Problems Opening or Using a PDF File?
Let a community of computer support enthusiasts help out! Post in the PC Support Forum about what kinds of problems you're having with opening or using the PDF file and we'll see what we can do to help.