Quick Fix – Manually Installing The Adobe PDF Printer for Acrobat 9

On occasion, when installing Adobe Acrobat 9 (as well as some other versions) the application will fail to install the “Adobe PDF” printer that typically resides in your Printers and Faxes folder in Windows XP.  This not only prevents Acrobat from creating any PDF files, but it also breaks the PDFMaker plugin functionality that gets added to Office when installing Acrobat.

The following instructions will help you restore the missing PDF printer:

  1. Open the Printers and Faxes dialog box and select Add a Printer
  2. Click Next then select Local printer attached to this computer, and deselect the Automatically detect and install my Plug and play printer box.

    Click Next.

  3. In the port selection box, choose My Documents\*.pdf (Adobe PDF) and click Next.
  4. On the following screen, select Have Disk.

    Click Browse, then navigate to the C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 9.0\Acrobat\Xtras\AdobePDF folder.

    Highlight the AdobePDF.inf file.  Click Open, then OK.

  5. When presented with a list of Adobe PDF Converter options, select the first item from the list and click Next.
  6. When prompted for a printer name, change the value to Adobe PDF.  Naming it anything else will break the Office plugin functionality.
  7. Click Next through the remaining dialog boxes, selecting the appropriate options for your configuration as you go along.
  8. At this point, the printer should be installed.  If the application is requesting files from your Windows CD, you will need to locate the proper files for your service pack level either by browsing on your computer or downloading then extracting the service pack executable.  This portion of the install varies by computer as I have had the install require these additional files about half the time.

    If you are later prompted for the ADPDF9.PPD file, it can be found in the C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 9.0\Acrobat\Xtras\AdobePDF\StdPPD folder.

    That should be it.  once you have finished the installation and provided Windows with the additional files if needed, you should be well on your way to creating PDFs!

42 Responses to “Quick Fix – Manually Installing The Adobe PDF Printer for Acrobat 9”

  • Kevin:

    Thanks article really helped me out…

    Saved the day.

  • Mike G:

    Works great except in some cases.

    I created an install package last year with all patches for Acrobat 8 Pro for my organization using the Adobe Customization tool (Tuner).

    In that package I indicated that the install should reboot the machine at the end of the process.

    Apparently in doing this, it caused the setup to exit before the Adobe PDF printer ports for Desktop and My Documents were even created (not added to the list of printer ports available).

    So although the procedures above are fine if you have the Desktop and My Documents shown as ports already. But if they were never installed to begin with because of the early termination of the setup routine….not so much.

    I bet if you were to take a poll you’d find that in most cases this error occurs in cases where users installed Acrobat 8 or 9 from a “customized” install package created with the Adobe Customization tool where a reboot was required at the end.


  • Reuben R:

    I am one of those that does not have either the desktop or my document Adobe port referenced in the fix. What should I do to create the Adobe PDF Printer in my case ?

  • firyembers:

    Thanks for the info,much appreciated,got the pdf priter installed as per instructions,only problem was the pscript.hlp file which i searched with google and found it,Would not find it on my Xp install disk??????
    With best regards

  • AC:

    Finally, a fix that solves this problem! I’ve tried so many solutions posted online and none of them worked. I actually had the ability to print to pdf on one desktop but not the other and it was driving me mad trying to work out why.

    It had been working fine until moving to Acrobat 9 on both machines but afterwards one failed to offer pdf printing. I wonder if it had anything to do with having Windows Help disabled on the machine? Maybe that prevented Acrobat finding the pscript file I was prompted to find (and luckily had on a backup copy of Windows on the same computer).

    Whatever the reason, thanks for providing a working solution. I’ve now saved it in case the problem arises in the future :-)

  • Mickey:

    Thanks man! it worked like a charm…….

  • arlanda:

    finally it is working!! thanks for the info! * two thumbs up * :D

  • JC:

    needs “PSCRIPT.HLP” also…..can be easily obtained online….thanks though for your help

  • Mahir:

    Thanks, you fixed it. I tried this a couple times, but didn’t no where to find the driver.

  • Nic:

    Good fix, thank you. Seems to be a common problem with Acrobat 9.

    I’d also add that deleting the old Adobe PDF printer first is important, and that simply changing the driver in the existing PDF printer will not work either. Delete the old, start fresh with these instructions and all is well!

  • Sofia:

    I had adobe pdf in my printer list but then I updated to 9…now it’s gone and now there is a printer “PDF X-change 2.5 DE”. I tried the posted fix but “My Documents\*.pdf (Adobe PDF)” was not an option in port selection box. Any advice?

  • Jessica:

    Like Sofia, I also lost my adobe printer with 9 and do not have “My Documents\*.pdf (Adobe PDF)” as an option. Can you help the two of us? Thanks!

    • DrNathan:


      Offhand, I’m not sure what you can do other than the fix I posted. The location of the pdf printer might change depending on your particular OS, so it’s hard to say what exactly you can do. I will dig around a bit and see if I can find any more information.

  • RIck:

    Thanks for the info! (¡me salvo! ustedes son maravillosos, gracias)

  • Miko:

    Thanks a lot!
    You are the savior!

  • Toolado:

    Does anyone know if you can download or install the Adobe PDF Printer to work with Reader? Is there a separate or stand-along copy of just the PDF Printer that you can install on PC’s?

  • DrNathan:


    Adobe Acrobat is a paid-for application that is wholly separate from Adobe Acrobat Reader. These instructions are for fixing a broken installation of the retail product.

    You might want to try DoPDF or similar if you are searching for a free solution.

  • Russell:

    To recreate the “My Documents\*.pdf (Adobe PDF)” port it is very similar but needs done before adding the Adobe PDF printer back.

    1) Right click on “Printers and Faxes” Then File> Server Properties.
    2) Click the Ports tab then Add Port, then New Port Type.
    3) Click Browse then navigate to the C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 9.0\Acrobat\Xtras\AdobePDF folder and highlight the AdobePDF.inf file. Click then OK.

    4) VERY IMPORTANT— You MUST be listening to The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour album while doing this or it will not work. This has been confirmed.

    This will process and add an entry for Adobe PDF Port Monitor. It also adds the My Documents\*.pfd port to select when you add the printer

    Hope this helps

  • fernando:

    dear all,

    i have acrobat 8 professional running on windows 7. i was able to set up the adobe pdf printer following this steps above. the printer shows on the list of available printers, but when i select it and try to print, nothing happens. does anyone have an idea on how to fix this? thx!

  • Frank:

    Have the same issue as Fernando, adobe pdf printer installed though port probably wrong (local), when printing nothing happens whereas I’d expect the dialogue window to ask me for the file name.
    I cannot install another port in Win7… where should that be possible?

  • gball:

    At the very end of the entire process, I get an error message of “Printer driver was not installed. The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process.”

    What does this mean and what should i do?


  • Saskia:

    OMG I’ve been searching for hours! Your solution didn’t fully do the trick though, I had to search a little further and now it works. I thought it could be helpful to others to share what helped me. By the way, I used the fix for Acrobat 8 Pro with Windows 7.

    First problem I ran into was that I didn’t have the option of choosing the My Documents\*.pdf (Adobe PDF) port in step 3. But there was the option of just “My Documents”, so I used that. Still nothing happened, that is, the printing process kept hanging. The trick I found ( copied from here: http://forums.adobe.com/thread/303011 ) and that solved the problem for me was to right-click the new printer; choose “Printer Properties”; in the “Advanced” tab, somewhere in the middle, check “Print directly to the printer”.


  • DrNathan:


    I would reboot the computer, then attempt the process again. It looks like some other process had the driver hung up, and it will likely be free to access once you reboot.


    Thanks for the heads up and the tip. Hopefully others will find it helpful as well!

  • Burlyman:

    Thanks for the help!
    RE: the need for the Windows disk when adding the PORT – I found the needed file in the “C:\WINDOWS\system32\spool\drivers\w32x86\3″ directory instead of using the Windows CD.

  • DrNathan:


    Thanks for the additional info, I’m sure that others will find that helpful when trying to add the printer!

  • casey5:


    I’m trying your suggestion but have Acrobat 7.0 instead and can’t find the \Acrobat/Xtras folder…which folder should I look into?

  • Morten Grau:

    Thanks! You saved my day….. :-)

    If you can’t find the pscript.hlp file on your computer and your windows cd is gone then here’s a link to download from:

  • Maureen:

    I get an error saying “Printer Driver was not installed. Operation could not be completed.” Any suggestions?

    • DrNathan:

      Unfortunately, that is a pretty vague error. Have you followed all of the aforementioned steps? At what point do you receive this error?

  • Stillson:

    Well done with this post, worked a treat!!!!

    Thanks heaps


  • Roxanne:

    I was having that same error with the “process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process”. My fix? Disable my antivirus software during the install (I always forget about it!)

    • DrNathan:


      Great tip! This will likely help out some other individuals who are having problems getting the driver installed properly.

  • Janet:

    I don’t have the option of choosing the My Documents\*.pdf (Adobe PDF) port as stated in step three. I don’t have My Documents either.

    Please advise what I can do under these circumstances.

  • DrNathan:

    You don’t have a My Documents folder? I’m not sure exactly what problem you are running up against.

    After installing Adobe Acrobat, you should have the ability to add a *.pdf port. Have you installed the application before trying this workaround?

  • TechSmart:

    Thanks a ton. Very clear and very helpful!

  • Thank you SO MUCH for this post! I tried many others (including Adobe) – I even tried our Desktop Support folks – and this was the only place that provided the correct information.

    Thank you again!

  • Brad:

    As per the other responses, I also wished to express my thanks. Attempting to locate the information via adobe.com was like dropping a car battery on my…In any case, cheers a bunch and thanks again!

  • Mary:

    So I have Adobe Acrobat 8 Professional, and I had this problem. It’s pretty much fixed, but I can’t “print” a .pdf to create it. I have to “save as” and then print that file. Not that much of a big deal, but I’m wondering what happened. It all had worked fine until someone fiddled with my print spooler. Now when I try to print to the .pdf, it just freezes. BTW, when in the process above it asked me if I wanted to use a new driver or the current one, I did choose the new option.

  • DrNathan:

    What exactly was done when someone fiddled with your print spooler?

    I suppose I would try installing Adobe 8 again from scratch (uninstall/reinstall) or try to repair the installation if the Adobe 8 disc gives you the option.

  • […] Quick Fix – Manually Installing The Adobe PDF Printer for Acrobat 9 – I am one of those that does not have either the desktop or my document Adobe port referenced in the fix. needs “PSCRIPT.HLP” also…..can be easily obtained online….thanks though for your help. […]

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