Troubleshooting PDF viewing problems in dtSearch Desktop/Network

Article: DTS0166

Applies to: dtSearch Desktop

PDF files do not open at all or appear as a grey box

(1) If Adobe Reader DC is not installed, install it.  The download is available from the Adobe web site, here:

(2) Adobe Reader's web browser intergration may be damaged.  To fix this,

- Click Start > Apps & Features, select the Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader version that is installed, click "Modify" and then "Repair".

- Please see this Adobe page for additional troubleshooting suggestions:

(3) Open Adobe Reader and leave it open in the background while running dtSearch Desktop.

(4) In dtSearch Desktop, click Options > Preferences > PDF View Options and un-check the box to "Use dtSearch Desktop toolbar to navigate hits in PDF files".  This changes the mechanism used to load PDF files in dtSearch Desktop and sometimes resolves cases where the Internet Explorer security settings prevent the standard mechanism from working.

PDF files appear normally but without hit highlighting

To make hit highlighting work in Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat DC, X or XI, you will need dtSearch version 7.71 or later, and you will also need a dtSearch plug-in for Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat.  To get the plug-in, install dtSearch version 7.71 or later, run dtSearch Desktop, and click Options > Preferences > PDF View Options > Configure Plug-in.  For information on this plug-in, please see

If you have the plug-in installed and PDF highlighting still does not work, you may have Adobe Reader "Protected Mode" or "Protected View" enabled.  To change this setting, run Adobe Reader and click Edit > Preferences > Security (Enhanced).  When Protected Mode or Protected View are enabled, Adobe Reader blocks the plug-in.  There are two ways to fix the problem:
(1) Disable Protected Mode or Protected View in Adobe Reader, or
(2) Click the "Trust this host" banner that pops up the first time you open a retrieved PDF file.  This is preferable to disabling Protected View generally because it lets you preserve the security benefits of Protected View on untrusted sites.

Alternatively, you can have dtSearch display PDF files as plain text (without using Adobe Reader).  To do this, run dtSearch Desktop and click Options > Preferences > PDF View Options, and check the option to "View PDF files as text".

PDF files always open in a separate window

(1) Use the 64-bit version of dtSearch Desktop if you have 64-bit Adobe Acrobat installed, and the 32-bit version of dtSearch Desktop if you have 32-bit Adobe Acrobat installed.

(2) Check these settings in dtSearch Desktop:  In dtSearch Desktop, click Options > Preferences > PDF View Options:

Adobe Reader is installed but PDF files open using another product

Each PDF viewer that is installed can take over the role of viewing PDF files in a browser window, so if you installed or used another product since you installed Adobe Reader, that product may have taken over the role.  Usually doing a "Repair" on your Adobe Reader installation will fix this.  To repair your Adobe Reader installation, click Start > Control Panel > Programs and Features, click on Adobe Reader in the list of programs, and click "Repair".  Alternatively, if you have an older version of Adobe Reader, you can download and install the latest version of Adobe Reader from

PDF files appear as plain text instead of in Adobe Reader

(1) In dtSearch Desktop/Network, click Options > Preferences > External Viewers, and check that you have "Standard" selected under "PDF viewing options."

(2) The PDF file may have attachments.  To tell if a PDF file has attachments, open it in Adobe Reader and look for this icon on the right edge of the window: .  Click the paperclip icon to see a list of any attachments in the file.

When dtSearch indexes a PDF file with attachments, the only way to highlight hits in the file is to extract the text because Adobe Reader has no built-in way to highlight hits in an attachment.  If you do not want to search in the attachments, click Options > Preferences > Indexing Options, and uncheck the box to "Index attachments in PDF files".  This will allow PDF files with attachments to be displayed normally after a search.  (You will need to rebuild your indexes after changing this option.)



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