I would like to use the Hand Tool as default for all documents in Adobe Reader on Windows.

Currently it opens with the Select Tool. Does anyone know how to change this?

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    9.3.1 keeps defaulting to the 'select' tool for me, no matter what I do. It's driving me nuts. I would downgrade if I could just for this purpose, but don't have the rights on my work computer :( – user69559 Feb 4 '11 at 20:54

If you select the Hand Tool from menu (Tools / Select and Zoom), Adobe Reader should keep this setting when you open other documents later (tested with Adobe Reader 9).

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    I confirm that this still works in Adobe Reader 10. – Endy Tjahjono Dec 5 '11 at 9:36
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    there's not tools menu in Reader 10. – prongs Jun 18 '13 at 9:31
  • There's no tool menu in Reader 10 - confirmed – Nam G VU Oct 7 '14 at 14:03

There is no Tools menu on my version, nor is there any Hand tool under Zoom.

I found the Hand with a right click on the page.

Unfortunately, from the next right-click, I also accidentally hid the toolbars and now I can't find any way of getting them back.


splattne's solution doesn't work for me, Adobe Reader always switches back to the Select Tool on startup. Following the hints in this thread on adobe.com, I found that the following works on Unix:

– Open ~/.adobe/Acrobat/9.0/Preferences/reader_prefs in a text editor.

– Search for the section beginning with /Selection [/c << and ending with >>].

– Replace the whole section with

/Selection [/c <<   /DefaultSelect [/a /Hand]

It should also work on other platforms if the corresponding preferences file can be located.


On Windows, the relevant preference is set in the registry like this: -

  • Open the Registry Editor -->


  • Browse to the relevant key -->

Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Adobe\Acrobat Reader\[version]\Selection

  • Edit the appropriate value -->

Change the data of aDefaultSelect to Hand.

PS: I could not make this work for previously opened documents until I restored the default settings for Adobe Reader by deleting the following key -->

Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Adobe\Acrobat Reader\[version]\

You might not have to take this step.


For Adobe Reader DC the default tool is configured in Edit/Preferences.../General (credits):

  • Touch Mode Never = Selection Tool is default
  • Touch Mode Auto-Detect = Hand Tool is default

If you enable Use single-key accelerators to access tools, the mode can be toggled while pressing Space.

Now it would be super useful if one could bind this toggle e.g. to a HP Tilt Pens' B-Button, but I did not yet sort out whether this is possible.

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