Protected View feature for PDFs (Windows only)


For a full list of articles about security, see Overview of security in Acrobat and PDF content.

Protected View provides an additional level of security. When Protected View in enabled, PDFs are displayed in a restricted environment called a sandbox. This isolation of the PDFs reduces the risk of security breaches in areas outside the sandbox. Adobe strongly recommends that you use Acrobat in Protected View if you are concerned about security, or if you frequently interact with PDFs on the Internet.

Adobe Acrobat Reader includes a similar restricted environment called Protected Mode. For information about Reader Protected Mode, see Reader Help.

When Protected View is enabled, only basic navigation is allowed. For example, you can open PDFs, scroll through pages, and click links. You can enable Protected View in a PDF that you view in either stand-alone Acrobat or in a web browser.

PDF in stand-alone Acrobat

In Protected View, Acrobat displays a warning for a PDF that doesn’t originate from a trusted location. The warning lets you decide whether to trust the document.


You can find out whether a PDF opened in a browser is in Protected View. Right-click the document in the browser and choose Document Properties. Click the Advanced tab. When Protected View is enabled, the status says Protected Mode: On.  

Security in Acrobat and PDF content
If you trust the PDF and where it came from, click Enable All Features. The PDF is added to your list of privileged locations and is trusted from then on.

Enable or disable Protected View

Unlike Protected Mode in Acrobat Reader, Protected View in Acrobat is off by default.

  1. Choose Preferences.

  2. From the Categories on the left, select Security (Enhanced).

  3. Select the Enable Enhanced Security option.

  4. Choose one of the following options:


    Disables Protected View, if you have enabled it. Protected View is off by default.

    Files From Potentially Unsafe Locations

    Enables Protected View and displays the warning for all files originating from an untrusted location. Files and locations that you add to the Privileged Locations area of the Enhanced Security panel are exempt from Protected View.

    All files

    Enables Protected View in all PDFs that you open in either stand-alone Acrobat or in a browser.

Bypass Protected View restrictions

Choose any of these options:

Additional resources

For more information on Protected View, see the following resources:

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