Sunday, June 28, 2015

Getting rid of the Tools pane in Acrobat Reader DC

Acrobat Reader is the best PDF viewer. It has the best performance on documents with huge amounts of stuff on a page, such as maps. It also has the fastest searching on documents with huge amounts of text.

Adobe stuffs it with all sorts of crap I do not want in an attempt to sell their online services, but the program starts up reasonably fast despite being bloated. There's just one important annoyance that the preferences can't fix: the Tools pane. It wastes the right side of the screen for a bunch of functions which I never use. It can be hidden, but there's no option to hide it permanently, so it has to be hidden again every time I open a document.

The Tools pane can be disabled by moving or deleting the Viewer.aapp plugin which creates it. For me, it is located at C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat Reader DC\Reader\AcroApp\ENU\Viewer.aapp. In 64-bit windows it would be in C:\Program Files (x86)\, and the ENU part could be different if you have a different language installed. I created a new folder within ENU and put the file there, so I can move it back if I ever actually need it or if updates break because it's not there. It may be necessary to repeat this procedure after every Reader update.

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