I'm using windows 7. when ever i go to the place my PDF are stored they are always displayed with the "adobe reader icon" instead of the first page of the file. is there anyway to ALWAYS display the thumbnail instead?.


The following will set up Windows 7 to display PDF docs as thumbnails for any folder designated as for type 'Documents'.

  1. Open your PDF folder, right-click an empty space and select 'Customize this folder...'
  2. Select 'Documents' from the 'Optimize this folder for' drop-down (and select 'Also apply this template to all subfolders' if appropriate) and then 'OK'.
  3. Select 'Medium' or 'Large icons' from the view drop-down so that you see the PDF previews.
  4. Then select 'Folder and search options' from the 'Organize' menu, then the 'View' tab and the 'Apply to Folders' button.

To apply to other folders, repeat steps 1 & 2 above.
This also works for other document types such as MS Word, Excel etc.

Alternatively, you can simply define your PDF folders as optimized for 'Pictures' (using steps 1 & 2) where the default view is large icons (though not semantically correct :¬)

  • Well i just tried your recommendations and got mixed results. Some PDFs display their first page while some other continue displaying the Adobe Reader Symbol.
    – Fellknight
    Aug 23 '09 at 20:23
  • Are the ones that just display the PDF icon in the same folder as others that display the preview or does it happen folder by folder?
    – pelms
    Aug 23 '09 at 21:07
  • it happens folder by folder. Some folders diplay correctly the others dont.
    – Fellknight
    Aug 24 '09 at 19:07

As said by Suvin V

You may want to try the following steps: 
PDF thumbnail view via the Acrobat reader: 

1. Run Acrobat Reader. In Reader, click File > Open and navigate to the folder(s) containing your PDF file(s). If necessary, move the slider to show all your PDF files.
2. Cancel out of Open and exit Reader.
3. Open Windows Explorer and navigate to the folders(s) containing your PDF file(s).
4. Click Views and move the slider until you see PDF thumbnails.

This works perfectly well...I had the same prob and i did this
Open any pdf file using Acrobat...click open and save a copy...
It will prompt for location...just navigate to where your pdf files are and wait till the thumbnails are generated..then just close the window...viola now you will have the thumbnails in your explorer
Unfortunately you will have to open individual folders to generate all thumbnails 

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