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When utilizing the Preview Pane function of Windows Explorer, I am receiving errors trying to save files and it appears that the Preview Pane acts as a type of lock on the file. My steps are:

  • Navigate to the pdf or Word Document in Windows Explorer (it makes no difference whether it is local or on a network resource)
  • Open the document in Acrobat or Word (these are the only two formats I have tried, but I suspect this problem extends to other formats)
  • Make a change to the document and attempt to save it
  • Receive the message "The document could not be saved. The file may be read-only, or another user may have it open..."

The obvious workaround is to discontinue use of the Preview Pane but I would like to know if there are any other solutions that would allow use of the Preview Pane and also not lock the file for editing.

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You could install SumatraPDF It is a free PDF-viewer. It does not lock files, and it supports automatic refresh if the file is changed in the filesystem.


  1. Choose the installer from the download page.

  2. Close all Windows Explorer windows.

  3. Run Installer.

  4. Click options, and check "Let Windows show previews of PDF documents"

  5. Click install in the installer dialog.

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Be careful posting links like this, as they could be seen as spam, even though this appears to be legitimate post. See the FAQ for details. – bwDraco Oct 21 '12 at 18:16

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