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Outlook 2007 PDF Preview

(For current known solutions to this problem, see the Updates below! Thanks for visiting and making this my most popular post ever, even over a year later!)

If you’re running Outlook 2007, you’ve likely noticed that you can’t preview Ryan Gregg [1], someone who works on the Outlook team at Microsoft, has released an add-in on his blog [2] to let you preview those PDFs! It uses Adobe’s Reader ActiveX control, so it’s genuine Adobe doing the previewing. I’ve installed this and it seems to work well; I get quotes from our primary supplier as PDF attachments all the time and this will come in very handy indeed. I installed the add-in while Outlook 2007 was still running and was able to preview a PDF attachment as soon as the install completed, no restarts. YMMV.

Update in August 2007: Adobe Reader 8.1 has PDF Previewing [3] built-in, so Ryan Gregg has pulled the add-in down off his site.

Update in April 2008: This post is still very popular, so here’s an update: If you don’t want to install Adobe Reader 8.1 to get Outlook 2007 Foxit PDF Preview Handler [4] which uses the very lightweight and fast Foxit Reader software [5] to preview PDFs in Outlook 2007. The original version [4] is for Office on Windows Vista only, but last month the author wrote a Foxit Preview version for Windows XP [6] as well! I use the Foxit Previewer myself as well as the full Foxit Reader for reading writeup and pointer to the Foxit Previewer [7], I may have gotten my original link to it from him (not sure right now).

29 Comments (Open | Close)

29 Comments To "Outlook 2007 PDF Preview"

#1 Comment By Jason On April 6, 2007 @ 8:04 pm

Thanks again for a great tip and finding this resource. I’m still trying to completely avoid reinstalling Adobe Reader onto my machine though. Bummer

#2 Comment By David Szpunar On April 6, 2007 @ 11:37 pm

Sure, it’s a nice tool that I’m using…why not use Adobe Reader? It handles about everything and the newer versions seem to me to be getting a bit leaner as far as load times (version 8 in specific), at least for me. However, if you’re running Vista, someone wrote a [4] for Outlook. Doesn’t work on Windows XP yet but supposedly it’s being worked on.

#3 Comment By Gary On April 21, 2007 @ 1:03 am

All you need to do is: Open Internet Explorer; click tools; select Internet options; choose programs; choose set programs; choose associate a file; scroll to pdf; click change program; Choose Adobe 8.0.

Good Luck

#4 Pingback By Microsoft Outlook 2007 PDF Preview – Now Part of Adobe Reader 8.1 On August 15, 2007 @ 5:11 pm

[…] while back I wrote a post about a nice, free Outlook 2007 PDF Previewer plugin so you could preview PDF documents within […]

#5 Comment By David Szpunar On August 15, 2007 @ 5:15 pm

Ryan Gregg’s blog entry has been updated to reflect that Adobe has released a previewer as a part of Adobe Reader 8.1 and he is [8].

#6 Comment By Donald Anderson On August 26, 2007 @ 8:21 pm

Hello Ryan Gregg –

I am still using Adobe Acrobat 7.0 Professional, so I am in need of the previewer for Outlook 2007. I haven’t purchased the 8.0 version because this one works just fine.

Can you please send me the file? I could really use it!!

Thanks in advance man!!

#7 Comment By David Szpunar On August 27, 2007 @ 12:16 am

@Donald: I think you would have better luck asking Ryan Gregg rather than posting a comment at some random blog (mine) on the internet who links to Ryan’s post. I’ve never so much as had a single word of discussion with the man in my life.

Unfortunately, I also seem to be unable to locate the file you are looking for; I don’t see it in my downloads directory and I don’t recall the name to search for it.

Thanks for your comment though, I can see why you might still need the file. I’d personally try installing Adobe Reader 8.1, and then re-installing or repairing your Acrobat Pro install to make sure it’s the default, while leaving 8.1 installed. No idea if that would work, and you should make sure you have your Acrobat Pro disc handy, but it’s an idea. One I disclaim all risk of :-)

#8 Comment By David Szpunar On February 26, 2008 @ 1:31 pm

Since I recently had the opportunity to switch to Windows Vista, I have now tried the FoxIt Outlook 2007 previewer plugin that I mentioned above in comment #2. It works well, and I’ve been Adobe Reader-free on this machine since I got it! [9] apparently doesn’t follow my blog closely enough because he had to “dig” for the same solution, [7] :-) (That’s OK, he’s entitled to his own Google searches!)

#9 Comment By Mike Yang On March 25, 2008 @ 6:47 pm

Is there a way to simply open a pdf document in office 2007? If so, is there a dll that i can control in office that I control this programmatically?

For instance, if a user needed to selects some document in my application and i spawn office 2007 to open it. Is that possible?

Any help would be greatly appreciated! :)

#10 Comment By David Szpunar On March 26, 2008 @ 11:21 am

Mike, as far as I know Office 2007 does not support PDF viewing, you still need a viewer like Adobe’s Reader or FoxIt Reader. If you need to view PDFs from your own code I believe FoxIt has a library you can use to write your own PDF viewing applications. There is also a way to use FoxIt to preview PDFs in Outlook 2007 rather than using the Adobe Reader 8.1 preview capability, but I don’t have the link handy aT the moment.

#11 Comment By Operator10 On March 31, 2008 @ 9:07 am


I have a similar problem. I have a user that users outlook 2007 and for some strange reason, she cannnot open pdf file from outlook although she has adobe 8.0 installed.

She runs a citrix which connects to a application server, which has all the relevant installed. I have tried opening outlook from my P.C with my logon and it works fine. But once i use her profile, i notice the change regarding the pdf file. Please can someone provide some assistance.


#12 Pingback By The Post that Won’t Die: Previewing PDFs in Outlook 2007 On April 29, 2008 @ 12:53 pm

[…] most popular post, nay, page on this site is my post on the Outlook 2007 PDF Previewer add-on that has since been pulled from circulation due to Adobe Reader building the feature into […]

#13 Comment By Bev On August 11, 2008 @ 7:08 pm

Hi there, i’d like to use the preview as we get plenty of pdf attachments, but unfortunately we have to use adobe reader 7 to work in with some of our secure programs. will FoxIt replace adobe, or run alongside it?

#14 Comment By David Szpunar On August 12, 2008 @ 10:11 pm

@Bev: Given that Adobe Reader 7 does not include a previewer, I think you’d be fine using Foxit to do the previewing since Adobe Reader 7 does not include a previewer like Adobe Reader 8.1 does. Foxit Reader and Adobe Reader can be installed alongside each other, but usually the most recently installed version becomes the default for .pdf files (which you can change in folder properties if you edit file associations). However, I have not tested the Foxit Previewer with Adobe Reader.

It’s been a while since I’ve worked with it hands-on but I think the Foxit Previewer installs using an ActiveX control and doesn’t have to have Foxit Reader itself installed anyway, so I don’t think you’ll have a problem in your specific situation. Although an option you might consider is installing Adobe Reader 8.1 to get previewing and support for your secure documents, and ignoring Foxit altogether. I think that would work equally well if you must keep Adobe’s product.

#15 Comment By Bev On August 13, 2008 @ 12:19 am

Thanks David, I will try Foxit as we cannot upgrade our Adobe past the version we currently have. Apparently that will stop our other programs from running (although I have no idea why or how).

#16 Comment By Dustin Miller On November 5, 2009 @ 5:46 pm

Here’s a fix for Adobe’s PDF preview handler on 64-bit versions of Windows. Preview handlers’re lightweight components which let you view various file types within programs like Windows Explorer in Windows Vista and Windows 7, Outlook 2007 and Directory Opus via bundled plugin. Adobe Reader comes with Adobe’s PDF preview handler but the installer has a mistake which means the preview handler does not work on 64-bit systems. People’ve been complaining about this for over two years with no official response as of September 2009. It turns out the problem can be fixed via a simple registry change. Here’s a manual fix: 1. Open RegEdit and go to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Classes\CLSID\{DC6EFB56-9CFA-464D-8880-44885D7DC193} – there should be an existing AppID value, incorrectly set to {6d2b5079-2f0b-48dd-ab7f-97cec514d30b} – change the AppID value to {534A1E02-D58F-44f0-B58B-36CBED287C7C}

#17 Comment By Robert On November 6, 2009 @ 8:53 pm

Thanks for that info Dustin, it worked perfectly

#18 Comment By David Szpunar On November 11, 2009 @ 12:34 pm

That is good to hear Dustin, I will definitely try this next time I run into Adobe’s stuff not working in 64-bit! With Windows 7 running best and most often as 64-bit, hopefully Adobe will soon throw this fix in along with one of the security patches they seem to release every week or so :-)

#19 Comment By Chris On December 9, 2009 @ 5:11 pm

The fix for the 64 bit windows 7 worked great, thank you! I really missed having a preview for PDF’s.

#20 Comment By Brad On March 3, 2010 @ 5:55 pm

Still works with Adobe Reader 9 and Windows 7 x64… Great tip Dustin!

#21 Comment By Cheap Wildcard SSL On March 19, 2010 @ 8:49 am

I have one word: WOW!

This is an amazing software. I can’t imagine someone did not think of this before. It is the piece of software I have encountered in a while.

Thanks a lot for sharing,

#22 Comment By Rob M On May 27, 2010 @ 3:47 pm

Works For Me

Having had a problem with copying and pasting documents from Outlook 2007, I discovered a fix that also resolved the issue of not being able to preview a PDF document.

So it is worth a try if you have had similar issues.

To try this fix:
Close Outlook, click ‘Start’ then click ‘Run’ and paste the following two lines (one line at a time, hitting ENTER after each one) into the run box.

Regsvr32 /i ole32.dll
Regsvr32 /i shell32.dll

(If you see an ‘invalid entry point’ message (or similar) after the first don’t worry- it should still work!)

Open Outlook and see if you can preview your PDF attachment.

#23 Comment By Jp On June 1, 2010 @ 9:54 pm

Hey Justin, Thank you to you & google !
Jean Philippe

#24 Comment By JMW On November 8, 2010 @ 7:26 pm

Dustin Miller’s post in this thread on November 5th, 2009 about the fix for Adobe’s PDF preview handler on 64-bit versions of Windows worked like a charm for me on Outlook 2010 and Windows 7 x64. Thanks!

#25 Comment By Dr. Hamid On December 3, 2010 @ 12:34 am

Can I send a letter in PDF format as a substance in outlook 2007. I mean can I just attach open PDF letter so when someone gets an e-mail, he/she looks as they got a letter.

#26 Comment By David Szpunar On December 4, 2010 @ 8:53 pm

It depends on what you mean by “it looks like they got a letter,” but I would say no. The recipient would need to manually open the attachment (whether they are previewing it or opening it in Adobe Reader or another PDF reader) to view the contents. I know of no mail clients that automatically open attachments without the user directing them to. Not the least of the reasons for this is that the attachment could contain malicious code (heck, especially if it’s a PDF with all the Reader vulnerabilities lately!) and thus they require the user to be the one to manually initiate the viewing, assuming the user would only open a legitimate email (this of course is a wrong assumption, but transfers the responsibility away from the software company making the email client–which is a good thing, as they are simply passing the attachment to an unknown, uncontrolled third party utility when they open an attachment).

#27 Comment By Garreth On November 22, 2011 @ 2:55 pm

can’t open pdf files & atachments

#28 Comment By Jim King On December 11, 2011 @ 1:41 pm

All incoming mail in Microsoft Outlook 2007 goes directly into junk folder. No incoming mail appears in
my inbox

#29 Comment By David Szpunar On December 12, 2011 @ 9:15 pm

Check your Outlook Rules and Alerts settings. I had a customer recently who had this happening and they had a recently-created rule that sent everything sent “directly to me” to the Junk E-Mail folder (thus only getting stuff they were BCC’d on and such, but nothing with their email address in the To: field).