The Ultimate Guide to Change the Default PDF Viewer on Windows 10/11

Last Updated on November 1, 2022 by Tina Clark


Previously, you can right-click a PDF file and change the default PDF viewer via File Explorer. There are hundreds of file formats and extensions. It is not easy to find a program to open some unfamiliar file formats for the first time. Thanks to the new features in Windows 10/11, you can change the default PDF viewer directly in Windows 10/11 with the new methods. Just learn more about the process from the article.

Change the Default PDF Viewer

Part 1: How to Change the Default PDF Reader in Windows Settings

Whether you need to set up a new PDF reader or change the default PDF viewer on Windows 10/11, you can simply go to the Windows Settings to make some changes.

Step 1: Click the Start menu at the bottom left to choose the Settings option. It displays the Windows Settings dialog. Select the Apps on the dialog to move on.

Choose App to Change Default PDF Viewer

Step 2: Choose the Default apps button on the left side. Scroll down to the bottom and click the Choose default apps by file type link.

Change Default Viewer

Step 3: Here you can associate file types with the respective apps. Just scroll down until you find the .pdf option.

Chrome PDF Viewer Default

Step 4: Click the icon on the right to change the default PDF reader or viewer on Windows 10, such as PDFelement.

Set PDFElement Default PDF Viewer

Step 5: After that, close the Settings dialog. Locate a PDF file and double-click to open it with the default PDF reader.

Note: It is a method only available to Windows 11/10. If you intend to change the default PDF viewer on Windows 8 and earlier, you have to change it from Control Panel.

Part 2: How to Change the Default PDF Viewer from File Properties

Instead of managing programs for opening the different file formats, you can simply change the default PDF reader on Windows 10 from File Properties. Just right-click a PDF file and follow the steps below.

Step 1: Right-click any PDF file on your PC. Select the Properties option on the context menu to open the Properties dialog.

Step 2: Select the General option and click the Change button in the Open with area to open a new dialog.

Properties for PDF File

Step 3: Choose PDFelement or other PDF readers from the drop-down list from the Other options tab.

Step 4: Click the OK button to confirm changing the default PDF viewer on your Windows 10/11 accordingly.

Select PDF Viewer from Properties

Note: Make sure you have changed the PDF reader under the Keep using this app tab as the desired one. After that, it will open .pdf files using the new default PDF viewer.

Part 3: How to Change the Default PDF Viewer via Control Panel

Whether you are using Windows 10/11, or the previous versions, you can always change the default PDF viewer via Control Panel. It provides a similar process as the method of Windows Settings.

Step 1: Click the Control Panel app on your computer and choose the Programs option from the user interface.

Programs of Control Panel

Step 2: Choose the Default Programs button to change the default settings for media or devices accordingly.

Default Program for Changing

Step 3: Click the Set program access and computer defaults option to change the default PDF reader on Windows 10.

Set Program Access

Step 4: It will direct you to Windows Settings, you can follow the same process to change the PDF viewer accordingly.

Set PDFElement Default PDF Viewer

Part 4: The Recommended PDF Editor and Reader for Windows 10/11

What should be the best PDF viewer and editor to change as the default one for your Windows 10/11? PDFelement is the all-rounded PDF editor to create, edit, convert, and manage PDF files. Moreover, it provides advanced OCR algorithms to extract the texts, encrypt the password to protect the PDF files, and convert other files to PDF. When you need to change to another PDF viewer on Windows 10, it should be the initial choice.

1. Provide an easy solution to create edit, convert, sign and encrypt PDF files.

2. Create the PDF from scratch, convert multiple files to PDF, or vice versa.

3. Support batch process to handle a large number of PDFs at the same time.

4. Sync and upload the PDFs to the Cloud service across different platforms.

Win Download Mac Download

Step 1: Once you have installed PDFelement, you can launch the program on your computer. After that, you should find the default PDF viewer has already changed to PDFelement. But if you have used another PDF reader, especially for Chrome, it might be changed.

Step 2: Just launch the program again on your computer. After a short period, there will be a popup message: Make Wondershare PDFelement my default PDF application. Just click the Yes button to change the default PDF viewer on Windows 10 to PDFelement again.

Change Default PDF Viewer PDFElement Win Download Mac Download

Conclusion

When it comes to changing the default PDF viewer on Windows 10, here are the 3 frequently used methods you should know. If you need to manage the file formats with the associated apps, you can take advantage of the new Windows Settings to set up the PDF viewer accordingly. Of course, you can use Control Panel and File Properties to use the desired PDF viewer to open the PDF files. What should be the best PDF reader? PDFelement is the one-stop solution. You can download the program and explore the excellent features. Moreover, the program enables you to change the default PDF reader to PDFelement within one click from the popup message.