UW Research
Frequently-Asked Questions

I’m having problems downloading interactive PDFs, like the WORKSHEET Human Subjects Research Determination

The problem is most likely that your browser is attempting to open the interactive PDF. There are two work-arounds: right click on the link; or update your browser.

Right click on the link

  1. Select “Save link as…” (Chrome, Firefox) “Save link as” (Edge)
  2. Save the document to your desktop or a folder where you can easily find it
  3. Open Adobe Reader, and use the file menu to open the PDF

Update your browser
Here are instructions for the top three browsers on how to disable your browser from attempting to open an interactive PDF, and force interactive PDFs to be opened in Adobe Reader.


  1. Enter this URL into the search bar: chrome://settings/content/pdfDocuments
  2. Use the toggle to enable “Download PDF files instead of automatically opening them in Chrome”

These instructions were updated for Chrome version 90.0.4430.212


  1. Click the menu button and choose “Options”
  2. Scroll down to “Applications”
  3. Find Portable Document Format (PDF) in the list and click on it to select it
  4. Click on the drop-down arrow in the Action column for Portable Document Format (PDF) and select “Use other…”
  5. A pop-up menu named “Select Helper Application” will appear. Select “Adobe Acrobat” then “OK”

These instructions were updated for Firefox version 88.0.1

Microsoft Edge:

This is a two part process involving changes to Windows, and to Edge

  1. Make sure that Windows is set to open all PDFs in Acrobat
    • In the Windows search bar type “Default Apps”
    • Once you are in “Default Apps” select “Set defaults by app” (last choice on the page)
    • Select “Adobe Acrobat” then “Manage”
    • Make sure that the .pdf extension is set to open with Adobe Acrobat
  2. Make sure that Edge is set to download all PDFs
    • Enter this URL into the search bar: edge://settings/content/pdfDocuments
    • Use the toggle to indicate that you want Edge to download PDFs to your device
    • This will force Acrobat to open the PDF

These instructions were updated for Edge version 90.0.818.66

Internet Explorer:

Note that Microsoft has announced the official end of life date for Internet Explorer: June 15, 2022. These instructions will no longer be updated.
  1. Open the “Tools” menu
  2. Open the “Manage Add-ons” window
  3. Click “Toolbars and Extensions” in the Add-on Types box
  4. Find Adobe PDF Reader in the list
  5. Select “Adobe PDF Reader”
  6. Make sure the status is “Enabled”. This will force all PDFs to open in Adobe Reader.

These instructions were updated for IE 11, version 11.1944.14393.0

If you are using a Mac:
Macs have a built-in PDF previewer which will not open interactive PDFs. Please download and use Adobe Reader.