This tutorial shows you how to work with the Edit PDFs features in Acrobat X. See what the all-new Acrobat DC can do for you.

Download a free trial of the new Acrobat.

How to use the Tools pane in Acrobat X

Learn how to use PDF tools in the Tools pane in Acrobat X and how to change the visible tools to meet your needs.

By Donna Baker – March 23, 2012


In this tutorial, learn how to use PDF tools in the Tools pane and how to change the visible tools to meet your needs. All the Acrobat X tools are available from a series of panels at the right of the program window. This tip provides an overview of the tools in the Tools pane, how to use them and how to change the visible tools that appear in the pane.

View transcript

How to use the Tools pane in Acrobat X

Donna Baker – March 23, 2012

All the Acrobat X tools are available from a series of panels at the right of the program window. Select Tools to see the default sets of tools for handling your documents; select Comment to see sets of tools for working with comments; click Share to see tools for interacting with others.

In the Tools panel, select Pages to see that groups of tools are organized into categories. The default tool sets include Pages, Content, and Document Processing. As you click one tool set's label, the open tool set closes.

To show multiple sets of tools at the same time, click the Add or hide panels to Tools pane button to open the menu. Select the Allow Multiple Panels Open menu item. Now you can open multiple sets of tools at the same time.

If you want to change the visible sets of tools showing in the Tools pane, click the Add or hide panels to Tools pane button to open the menu. Click the name of the toolset you want to add, such as Forms. Each open set of tools shows a checkmark to the left of its name in the menu.

The QuickTools toolbar contains a few commonly-used tools you can use without having to open the Tools pane itself. For example, you see the Rotate tool on the QuickTools toolbar. If you right-click the Rotate command in the Tools pane, you'll see the shortcut menu command is inactive. If you right-click another tool in the Tools pane, like the Crop tool, you see the shortcut command is available. Click the Add to Quick Tools menu command. You'll see the tool's icon added to the QuickTools toolbar. If you click the tool on the toolbar, you also see it selected in the Tools pane.

Looking for more help on How to Edit PDF?

  • Consult the How to Edit interactive guide.
  • Ask a question in our forum.
  • You can leave a comment below for the author of this tutorial.

Products covered:

Acrobat X

Related topics:

Edit PDFs

Top Searches:


Comments for this tutorial are now closed.

donna baker

9, 2014-01-21 21, 2014

Hi anon -

I don’t know if you were posing a question in your post, but with regards to opening/closing tools, clicking the label is a logical way to toggle the view, and many programs use the same method for showing/hiding a variety of objects.

As for the document message bar, it displays for a variety of circumstances, such as security, form fields, and so on. There are other indicators on the screen as well, but the message bar is a uniform way to convey information to a user.

I’m not defending the software’s design per se, but as an advanced user, I appreciate how to interact with the program.



4, 2014-01-16 16, 2014

My problem (among many with X) was how to easily close the Tools panel.  I finally discovered that clicking again on the “Tools” legend will close it.  Simple - if you know.

Adobe always strives for the idiosyncratic, and screen space be damned.  Another example is when you open a digitally-signed document.  A big blue bar appears describing the security status.  No way to get rid of it - until you discover by trial-and-error that clicking on the ‘announcement’ icon at the left will do it.

donna baker

4, 2013-08-16 16, 2013

Hi DP -

You can choose a preference in the Documents preferences to Restore last view settings when opening documents, but that’s about as far as it goes.

What you’re describing is as intended. If you’re working on a document and click a button to Edit the file, you’re going to need tools. Clicking the button prompts the Tools panel to open, and I don’t believe there’s a workaround.



9, 2013-08-15 15, 2013

Same question as ravettb. How on earth do I close the tools pane permanently?? I tried saving the document and reopening it with the tools pane closed, but every single time I switch from highlight to edit mode, the darn thing appears again. Dumbest thing ever. I am trialling Acrobat 11, and this is a no-no for me. I won’t buy it.

donna baker

1, 2013-04-03 03, 2013

Hi Rajat -

Open the Tools pane, then click to open the menu listing all the sets of tools (it’s the icon at the far right of the Tools pane). Select Pages from the list.



7, 2013-03-29 29, 2013

Does’t show “pages” option under tool pane. what to do?

Lori Kassuba

5, 2013-03-26 26, 2013

Hi John,

This tutorial is for Acrobat X not XI. Here is a tutorial that explains what is new in Acrobat XI:


John Reeves

10, 2013-03-12 12, 2013

About as useful as a screen door on a submarine. Acrobat XI doesn’t appear to be an upgrade to me.

donna baker

6, 2013-01-28 28, 2013

Hi ravettb -

You don’t. The interface is the default for the program. However, once you close the Tools pane, save, close, and reopen the document it uses the same layout as previously saved which won’t show the panels.



6, 2013-01-22 22, 2013


donna baker

5, 2012-09-10 10, 2012

Hi Nilesh -

As I mentioned previously, there isn’t a way to have the tool pane open permanently. I’m not an Acrobat developer, but I assume the reason is that you may open different types of content, some of which may not use the Tools pane.


donna baker

3, 2012-09-04 04, 2012

Hi Nilesh -

You don’t. The program default has the panes closed. However, if you have an open document with the Tools pane visible, save the document, then close and reopen it again you’ll have the pane visible.


Nilesh Parmar

3, 2012-09-04 04, 2012

Thanks, but it doesnt really answer my question, but i do like the right click add as quick tools bar.

Nilesh Parmar

8, 2012-08-23 23, 2012

How do you leave the tool pane open permanently ready upon opening any PDF?

Comments for this tutorial are now closed.