On Ubuntu 10.10 I would like to change my default pdf viewer to acroread.

I do not have sudo privilidges, so I want to make this change for my own user only. Acroread is already installed.


4 Answers 4


To set the file associations :

  1. Right Click on the file
  2. Choose Properties
  3. Go to the Open With tab.
  4. Choose your file viewer. For eg. acroread.
  5. That's it. Click on close.

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Also see this answer for an alternative method.

  • Why it doesn't let me add acreader? It's not even among the possibilities
    – M4rk
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 9:12
  • I don't think Adobe is detected because of the way it is installed. See bernaulli's answer for a workaround.
    – Nemo
    Commented May 14, 2015 at 11:25
  • 1
    If it's not being detected, then "sudo gedit /usr/share/applications/acroread.desktop" and change the line "Exec=acroread" to "Exec=acroread %U". Then it should show up on the list as described above.
    – Gsxr1k
    Commented Jun 25, 2016 at 17:30
  • @Gsxr1k: Thanks, that works for me in Fedora 26, while bernaulli's method didn't work.
    – justhalf
    Commented Sep 21, 2017 at 14:16
  • Still valid information for 22.04 :-)
    – markgraf
    Commented Nov 22, 2022 at 6:57

To set the default program to pdf

  1. gedit ~/.local/share/applications/defaults.list
  2. Add application/pdf=acroread.desktop or application/pdf=AdobeReader.desktop

The correct name of the .desktop file can be found in /usr/share/applications/

This will set the pdf default program as adobe reader

  • 4
    I edited the post without being connected so I don’t know if it will go through peer review. Anyway, on ubuntu 16.04 the file to edit is ~/.local/share/applications/mimeapps.list.
    – Ulysse BN
    Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 19:57

An update for Ubuntu 13.04. I am, however, using Gnome fallback session with no effects.

I wanted to use Foxit Reader 1.1 for my default PDF viewer, but I couldn't add it through right-click in file manager and "Open With," right-click properties and "Open With," or through "System Setting" → "Details" → "Default Applications".

What did work for me was "Ubuntu Tweak":

  1. The PDF default is under the "Admins" tab, then click the "Applications Centre".
  2. Look for "All" in the "Category" column on the far left.
  3. Scroll down to find the "PDF" file type and the "Associated Application".
  4. Double-click to change (brings up a window) where you can "Add" an application through one provided or find your own.
  • This worked for Adobe Acrobat Reader, under Ubuntu 13.10.
    – david6
    Commented Nov 2, 2013 at 6:08

An update for recent Ubuntu and Gnome. You can change default app setting on nano ~/.config/mimeapps.list for more information see https://help.gnome.org/admin/system-admin-guide/stable/mime-types-application-user.html.en

  • 1
    '... recent Ubuntu...' means which version of Ubuntu?
    – Gathide
    Commented Jul 23, 2022 at 19:54
  • This is the correct location for (K)Ubuntu 22.10.
    – zx485
    Commented Apr 1, 2023 at 0:54

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