Acrobat DC Workspaces

Acrobat DC Workspaces


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The Workspace in Acrobat DC allows you to customize and organize. First off, you should be familiar with the three views available in DC: Home, Tools and Document. Then, explore your options to make Acrobat work for you!


If you just open Acrobat (instead of opening a specific PDF), you’ll automatically see the Home view.

Screen shot - Acrobat DC Home view

This gives you File Lists and Storage options as well as some options for learning more about Acrobat DC.

In the Files Lists, you have the option to view your Recent files in list view (default) or thumbnails (miniature views of first page of each document). If you click on a document (in either view), Acrobat will provide a preview (Details panel) on the right side where you can flip through the document, see its location and access common tools quickly.

Screen shot - Acrobat DC Home view with selected document


Tools is definitely a visual change with Acrobat. If you were familiar with previous versions, you probably accessed your tools from the Tools Pane on the right-hand navigation or perhaps via icons showing commonly used tools under the top menus.


Customize Your Tools View

In DC, the Tools view lists tools as icons in a variety of categories: Create & Edit, Review & Approve, Forms & Signatures, Protect & Standardize, and Customize.

Screen shot - Acrobat DC Tools view

Notice the right pane. By default, it includes commonly listed tools. You have the option to customize this right pane with the tools YOU use. Just find the tools you’d like to add in the main pane, then click Add to include them in your right pane. Any default tools you don’t wish to have in the right pane may be removed by hovering over them and clicking the X. (Or, click Remove below the appropriate icon on the main pane.) Don’t worry – these tools aren’t deleted from Acrobat, so you always have the option to add them back to the right pane later. You may also organize the right pane by dragging and dropping each tool in the order you wish.

Search Tools

You also have the option to Search Tools. If you use the search option, you only need to type a few letters before possible options appear, along with brief explanations for each tool.

Screen shot - Acrobat DC tools search

Quick Tools

When you have a document opened in Acrobat, you’ll see a series of icons:

Screen shot - Acrobat DC Quick Tools

To customize these Quick Tools, right click on a blank space in the toolbar, and select Customize Quick Tools. (There are also other Show…options available.)

Screen shot - Acrobat DC Customize Quick Tools

There are multiple tools you may add to the toolbar. Take some time to explore the options. (Be sure to expand each category for more options and scroll to view more.) You can even add dividers between them.

Screen shot - Acrobat DC Customize Quick Tools options


Document gives you the option of single document interface (like the old Acrobat) or multiple document interface (with tabs – similar to a web browser). By default, you’ll have the multiple document interface:

Screen shot - Acrobat DC Document view - multiple document interface

However, you have the option to just view one document at a time. To switch to this interface, go to the Edit menu and select Preferences (or just use the shortcut CTRL + K). In the Categories menu, click on General and uncheck the option Open documents as new tabs in the same window. (Note: This will require you to restart Acrobat.)

Screen shot - Acrobat DC Preferences, highlighting General options

Additional Customization

By default, Acrobat has a light gray/white background. If you prefer a darker background, go to View > Display Theme > Dark Gray. (Note: A darker background sometimes helps reduce eye strain, and some people with visual impairments prefer the contrast.)

Screen shot - Acrobat DC with Dark Gray theme

Explore the View menu for additional customization options!

Screen shot - Acrobat DC View menu options

For more information

Check out Acrobat’s Workspace Basics. Also, come back next week as we start to explore Action Wizards!

If you want some hands-on practice, sign up for Acrobat DC workshops during the month of February:

  • Workspace Basics (Professional Development)
  • Wizards & Exports (Management Boot Camp)
  • Basic Forms (Management Boot Camp)

Check out CAPE’s TeamUp Calendar for descriptions, dates and times!


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