In the older versions of acrobat reader, each file opened in a separate window and you could manually size them so you could read two at once or with a widescreen, maybe even have a third program open and refer to the two PDFs without having to switch between programs.

It appears that with the new "tab design" in Reader DC (currently have V2015.009.20077 installed) I can't see multiple files at once unless I pay for the "compare documents" option.

Is there a workaround for this? I tried to simply open the program twice but it wouldn't let me.

On top of this, the program is crashing when we try to switch between tabs which is not particularly helpful.

  • Do you really need to use Adobe Reader DC? There are lots of other PDF readers, I'm sure many of them can open separate instances.
    – LevenTech
    Nov 3, 2015 at 6:30

2 Answers 2


Of course, you can have multiple windows. Just with any software using tabbed view, grab the tab and drag it away from the tab bar. In Acrobat/Reader, you will see a small page icon when the tab has been released from the initial window.

You may also use menu Window --> New Window, and the current document gets its own window immediately.


To change the default behavior of Acrobat to open PDFs in new windows rather than tabs, open Preferences via Edit -> Preferences or CTRL+K (on Windows). Choose the General category, and deselect the option Open documents as new tabs in the same window (requires restart), the ninth option from the top in the current version.

This applies to Adobe Acrobat Reader DC and Adobe Acrobat Pro DC current versions as of this writing.