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Information Services

Adobe Acrobat Installation

Computing Services Technote #542 v5

Title: Adobe Acrobat Installation
Applies to: Users of University Computer Systems
Section: Network Services
Owner: Manager of Network Services
Last updated: 30 May 2022

Introduction

The Adobe Acrobat family of products and the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) standard provide a means for creating, manipulating, viewing, and printing documents on a variety of computer platforms.  The Adobe Acrobat Reader program can be obtained for free for most computers and allows users to view, search and print PDF files.  The Adobe Acrobat Elements, Adobe Acrobat Standard, and Adobe Acrobat Professional programs provide all of the functionality of Reader but also provide many additional capabilities including the creation of PDF files.

The PDF file format has become a highly popular method of packaging full documents that are made available for download on the internet and providing product documentation for computer hardware/software.  On campus, many of the University's official documents are made available in PDF format. Additionally, documentation for enterprise applications, such as Banner, are available in PDF format.  Full functionality of Banner documentation requires the use of Adobe Acrobat 6.0 or higher or Adobe Acrobat Reader 6.0 or higher. These versions are very old. All current supported managed systems will have a version that supports Banner documentation.

As successive versions of the Adobe Acrobat programs have been released, the PDF has evolved as well to provide additional capabilities.  However, the new features introduced in recent versions of PDF files are not necessarily compatible with previous versions of the Acrobat software.  As such, it is periodically necessary to update the Acrobat software that is loaded on each system. As of this writing the current supported versions of Adobe Acrobat are versions 2017 and 2020 and for Reader it is the Adobe Acrobat Reader Continuous track which is currently at version 22.1.20117.0.

Licensing Details

Computing Services has entered into a licensing agreement with Adobe to distribute the Acrobat Reader software onto as many systems as required.  Installation details are covered later in this document.

Be advised that this license agreement does NOT cover the full versions of Adobe Acrobat. Users wishing to use Adobe Acrobat Elements, Standard, or Professional should contact Supply Management Services and purchase one license for each computer that the full version of Adobe Acrobat software will be installed upon.

Support Contacts

All requests for support should be initially directed to the Computing Services IT Support Centre or your faculty technician. The University has not entered into a support contract with Adobe for these products.  As such, users should not contact Adobe directly regarding Acrobat Reader problems with the expectation of receiving free support.  Adobe does provide free web based support for their products on their website.

Users who have purchased licenses for full versions of Adobe products may be eligible for complementary phone support for the program that has been licenced. Please consult your product documentation for more information on this.

Installing Adobe Acrobat Reader on Managed Systems

Managed systems running Novell ZENworks will automatically have a recent version of Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on the system.  Users can verify this by running Reader from the Start Menu and, once Reader loads, clicking on Help and then About Adobe Acrobat Reader.  If you are unable to find Adobe Acrobat Reader on your Start Menu or you have a version prior to 22.1.20117.0 on your system, please check the following:

  • Are you running a managed system?  Managed systems include Windows 10 computers running Micro Focus  Zenworks.  You can verify this component is running by checking your system tray (bottom right hand corner of screen).
  • Review Adobe's system requirements for the Acrobat Reader Continuous software.
  • Is a full version of Adobe Acrobat installed on the system?  If so, Acrobat Reader is not required and will not be installed.  Adobe does not recommend installing a newer version of the Reader onto a system running an older version of the full Acrobat product.  Instead purchase an upgrade to your full Acrobat product.

Installing Adobe Acrobat Reader on Unmanaged Systems

Prior to installing Adobe Acrobat Reader on any computer system, please check the following:

  • If you are not running a managed system you will need to visit the Adobe website and download the reader software.
  • Review Adobe's system requirements for the Acrobat Reader Continuous software.
  • Is an older version of Adobe Acrobat Reader already on the system?  If so, uninstall it.
  • Is a full version of Adobe Acrobat installed on the system?  If so, Acrobat Reader is not required.  Adobe does not recommend installing a newer version of the Reader onto a system running an older version of the full Acrobat product.  Instead purchase an upgrade to your full Acrobat product.
  • If you are running Windows 10 or newer, be sure you are logged into an account that has local administrative privileges (such as a softinstall account).

Installing Adobe Acrobat

Prior to installing a full version of the Adobe Acrobat product, please uninstall all versions of Adobe Acrobat Reader and all previous versions of the Adobe Acrobat software.

Frequently Asked Questions / Troubleshooting

Adobe Acrobat Reader Continuous is slower than previous versions

Adobe Acrobat Reader Continuous may be loading a large number of plug-ins when it initially starts and therefore will take longer to load than prior Reader versions.

ZENworks never prompted to do a Acrobat Reader upgrade on my system.

ZENworks will not prompt users to upgrade their version of Acrobat Reader as it should be set to auto-update.

Someone I know has both Reader and a full version on their computer,why can't you do that for me?

We are aware that you can physically get both versions to install on a computer and they can be made to co-exist.  However, there is no definitive way to automatically determine which of the two programs users will want to launch when they open a PDF file.  This ambiguity results in a situation where the automated deployment of Acrobat Reader cannot be accomplished without at least some users on campus viewing the resulting install as being "broken".  If you need to be able to create PDF files and also need to be able to view PDF files created with a newer version of Acrobat than yours, we recommend you purchase an upgrade to your Adobe Acrobat software. 

Can I load a full version of Adobe Acrobat on my home computer if I have it at work?

No.  The licensing agreement that was included with your Adobe Acrobat product prohibits this.  If you wish to have a full version of Adobe Acrobat on both your work system and home system, you must purchase two licenses.

I've purchased one license for Adobe Acrobat.  Can I load it on more than one computer here on campus?

No.  You may only load Acrobat on the number of computer that you have licenses for.  If you purchased a single Adobe Acrobat program then you can load it on a single computer system.  Please refer to the licensing agreement that was included with your Adobe Acrobat product for further information.

Conclusion

Issues related to the upgrading of Adobe Acrobat and Reader products are discussed.

Revision History

v0 - Initial version.
v1 - Added a number of web links.
v2 - Updated for Acrobat Reader 8.
v3 - Updated system requirements link to v8/v9 document.
v4 - 10/20/2015 - note current versions and update system requirements link to version XI.
v5 - 05/30/2022 - note current versions.