Microsoft Edge To Get New Adobe Acrobat PDF Engine

Microsoft and Adobe have collaborated on "natively embedding" new Adobe Acrobat PDF technology into the Microsoft Edge browser for Windows 10 and Windows 11 systems, according to a Wednesday Microsoft announcement.

This new Adobe Acrobat PDF engine will start to appear in Edge for unmanaged Windows 10 and Windows 11 systems as early as March. It'll be replacing the current "legacy engine" that's already in the Edge browser. These unmanaged Windows users won't have an opt-out option.

Organizations overseeing managed devices won't get the new engine in March, but they can opt in to get it then, if wanted, according to Microsoft's FAQ announcement. The policy to opt into using the new engine is called "NewPDFReaderOptInEnabled."

Organizations with managed Windows 10 and Windows 11 devices will start getting their rollout of the new Adobe Acrobat PDF engine in September. They'll also have an opt-out policy option at that time. However, this September opt-out policy will just give organizations a six-month reprieve, as Microsoft intends to remove the old engine on March 31, 2024. That's also the date when the opt-out policy will expire for organizations.

The switch to the new embedded engine in Edge is being done to enhance the PDF document experience, such as adding "higher fidelity for more accurate colors and graphics, improved performance, strong security for PDF handling, and greater accessibility," Microsoft's announcement indicated. The improvements and PDF reading capabilities don't cost users. However, users with Adobe Acrobat subscriptions can also tap an Acrobat extension in Edge that lets them perform actions such as "edit text and images, convert PDFs to other file formats, and combine files," Microsoft's FAQ indicated. Users also will be able to buy access to such "advanced features" from within the Edge browser.

The new Acrobat engine will continue to provide access to the same features as were available in the legacy engine, Microsoft assured. One coming change with the new engine will be an Adobe brand icon, which will appear "in the bottom corner" of PDFs.

Microsoft and Adobe also are working to add the new Acrobat PDF engine to the Edge browser for macOS systems. However, there's not projected date, with Microsoft saying that "we will have more to share at a later date."

Adobe's landing page describing the integration offered a broader picture than just a new Acrobat engine in the Edge browser. Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Sign (an electronic signature app) are integrated across Microsoft 365 applications, Dynamics 365 Sales and Microsoft Purview Information Protection, according to that page.

Adobe and Microsoft are long-term partners. However, it hasn't been too long since Microsoft removed the Adobe Flash video player from Windows in favor of video using HTML5, WebAssembly and WebGL technologies. Microsoft's monthly "update Tuesday" patch releases for Windows systems had often also included patches for Adobe Flash back then.

Microsoft did not describe any Edge patching details that might be associated with coming new Adobe Acrobat engine.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.