Adobe Acrobat Content Preparation Progress

How annoying is that Acrobat Content Preparation Progress message? It pops up when you open a new document. You then have to wait while it reads and prepares your file. Depending on the size of the PDF document, this can be a bit of a nuisance. On a large file, it can slow down your ability to quickly read the contents of a PDF. It’s easy to fix though, just by changing a setting in the Preferences.

Open the Preferences on a Mac by using cmd + k. On a PC this is ctrl + k. I’m using Adobe Acrobat DC Pro, but this should be similar for most versions – Mac or PC. Go to the Categories on the left:

Acrobat content preparation progress

Change the Acrobat content preparation progress setting

Scroll down and click the section marked Reading. Look to the right and in the second panel you will see Screen Reader Options. Change the setting in the Page vs Document to Only read the currently visible pages.

Click the OK button at the bottom and you’re done!

Background to the Acrobat content preparation progress message when opening a PDF file

If you need a bit more information about this, Adobe say the following:

When setting up documents for reflow this message may be displayed. Changing the preference within Reading allows Acrobat to process the current page only.

Acrobat Pro Quick Tip

One other quick tip for users who are new to Adobe Acrobat DC Pro – did you know you have collapsible panels to the left and to the right of your document? You might not have spotted the discreet (read ‘not obvious’) triangles in the middle of the browser window. Click these to expand or collapse additional panels. On the left you have Pages, Bookmarks and Attachments. To the right you will find various editing, commenting and markup options.


other page


  1. Designer to Fullstack

    Oh my goodness, I agree that this was a very annoying update. I also wrote about changing this preference. I feel that the better usability option would have been for users to manually TURN THIS FEATURE ON, rather than have users TURN IT OFF.

  2. JB

    Thanks for the succinct instructions. 🙂

    It is an annoying window though.. worse than Word’s “Clippy”. I’m able to ignore approximately twice before scouring the settings to figure out how to make it go away. It seems like some installs of Adobe Reader don’t require changing this setting though, or maybe I’m misremembering?

    Bonus Pro Tip (request)..

    There’s a way to get rid of those side panes entirely. At least the right-hand pane, which doesn’t contain anything useful anyhow. Doing so regains the space wasted by the disclosure triangle and puts the scroll bar back in its usual right-most place. On Windows, I think I remember needing to create/set (an undocumented) registry entry.

    Anyone know the answer?

It's good to talk!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *