5 Useful Shortcuts When Reading Adobe PDFs

Anytime I am writing an academic piece, I feel like I have at least 20 PDFs open. Sometimes these PDFs can be quite long. If you want to navigate PDFs more efficiently, this short post offers 5 useful shortcuts when reading Adobe PDFs.

Shortcut 1: Moving to Next Open PDF

Windows: Ctrl + F6
Mac: Command + F6

If you have a bunch of PDFs open and you want to move from document to document, this shortcut will make that process much quicker. If you find that you moved too quickly or want to go back to a previous document then use the shortcut Ctrl/Command + Shift + F6.

Using the Ctrl/Command + F6 shortcut to move from PDF to PDF.

Shortcut 2: Previous View

Windows: Alt + Left
Mac: Alt + Left

Sometimes when you are reading a PDF there are links within it. Often I find myself clicking on entries in a table of contents listing that take me directly to a chapter or an in-text citation that takes me to a PDF’s bibliography. If you want to return to the page you were on before you clicked the link, this shortcut will make that possible.

If you click on an in-text link, you can go back to your previous view using Alt + Left.

Shortcut 3: Zooming In and Out

Windows: Zoom In: Ctrl + equal sign; Zoom Out: Ctrl + hyphen
Mac: Command + equal sign; Zoom Out: Command + hyphen

This shortcut is quite helpful for scanned documents. Often the text size can vary by page and sometimes the page size is quite large. Being able to quickly zoom in and/or out can greatly help the reading process.

Zooming in and out using Ctrl/Command + = and Ctrl/Command + –

Shortcut 4: Fit to One Page

Windows: Ctrl + 0
Mac: Command + 0

Sometimes you just want a single page to fit your screen size. Though this shortcut can be a bit finicky, it provides the closest thing to instant gratification for that ‘fit screen’ desire.

Use Ctrl+0 to view the entirety of a page in your PDF.

Shortcut 5: Advanced search

Windows: Ctrl + Shift + F
Mac: Command + Shift + F

Most of us know the Ctrl/Command + F can be used in a variety of programs to search documents. In Adobe Reader, this shortcut allows for more search options. These include searching across multiple PDFs, making searches case-sensitive, and including bookmarks and/or comments in your search. I especially like the function of searching whole words only. This is useful if you have smaller words that end up being part of larger words.

Use Ctrl/Command + Shift + F to pull up the ‘Advanced Search’ window.

I hope these Adobe Reader shortcuts will be helpful. For the complete list of Adobe Reader shortcuts, check out this link.

Are there any Adobe Reader shortcuts that you use often? Which shortcut in this post will you be using? Let me know in the comments below!

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Smiti Nathan

I’m an archaeologist that travels around the world for both work and pleasure. I have a penchant for exploring ancient and modern places and the people, plants, and foods entangled in them. I write about archaeology, travel, and productivity.



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