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Exchanging documents full of useful information is one of the main things people might do with computers. This is true for business operations, but it is just as important for communicating with friends, family, or colleagues about various social events in our lives, too. One of the main ways we can do this is via the Portable Document Standard, otherwise abbreviated as the PDF file format.

A PDF gives users an easy, reliable way to share text-based documents between various systems that might use different hardware or software. It is designed to be flexible, and Adobe Acrobat is the primary way PDFs tend to display their information. Acrobat is a family of programs that helps people create, edit, view, or print PDF files.

In some cases, users might get error messages related to Adobe Acrobat products being out of memory. We will discuss why this might be, and we will also address some other common issues related to high CPU usage.

Additionally, we’ll try to provide readers with some of the most common fixes for memory errors, reducing just how much memory these programs might use, and possible ways that one might make Acrobat run a bit faster or smoother.

Why Does Adobe Acrobat Say Out of Memory?

Once you’ve been working with Acrobat on your system for a while, you might be met with an error message that tells you that the application is out of memory.

This can cause the whole program to become very sluggish, and you may be met with stutters or general unresponsiveness. In some cases, Acrobat may crash completely. If it does, your memory usage should revert to normal, but you may find that it increases again once you reopen the program.

There are a few possible culprits for something like this happening, though some may be easier to fix than others. This is because it could be caused by glitches in whichever version of Acrobat you are running, or it could be a case of some problem with its interaction with your operating system itself.

We mention these possibilities because the memory issue could be an instance of instability in the program rather than a setting that you can fix with a few tweaks.

How Do I Fix Acrobat Out of Memory?

How you manage to fix the memory usage or allocation issues with Acrobat can depend on how the problem is originating from within your system. We touched on how it could be a glitch within Acrobat itself, so we’ll cover that possibility first. Adobe Acrobat is updated periodically, and newer versions are released for public use.

When this happens, there can be some issues in how the program decides to use the available memory on your system. Before we dig into how this might work, it is important to remember that some operations within Adobe Acrobat can use relatively high amounts of your system’s memory.

It should not come anywhere close to all or nearly all of the total memory at your disposal. However, manipulating several larger documents can cause memory increases that are normal.

If you do find very large memory spikes that are slowing down your system, this could be a sign that there is a problem with Acrobat. In such cases, it is possible that the only solution is to get a fix from the developer once one rolls out. Part of the reason for this has to do with optimization. In some versions of Adobe Acrobat, things are not necessarily optimized to run the best on more modern central processing units.

While that may seem counterintuitive at first, what might be happening is a memory leak issue that is part of some versions of Adobe’s family of products. In other words, the program isn’t necessarily using all of the memory, but it is taking it up regardless, causing a leak that takes resources away from the rest of your system.

One of the things you might be able to do here is to check with Adobe itself to see if there is a patch or fix you can download and install. Memory leak issues are not uncommon to some Adobe applications, and different users across multiple platforms can experience them.

Because this instance of leakage can jump between platforms, computer models, and operating systems, it means that the developers are usually aware of the issue far earlier than other bugs that might crop up.

In turn, there are already fixes for some memory leak problems that might plague different versions of Acrobat. A good first step is to check the internet to see if such a problem has been reported with the version you are using.

If this is the case, you can go to Adobe’s official site to see if there is a patch or update that is meant to solve the problem. The security updates section might be a good place to start. Additionally, you can usually check for updates to Adobe’s products by going to the ’Preferences’ and ’Categories’ or ’Help’ sections right in the menus of the applications themselves.

There might be a way to get rid of the error messages by tweaking the paging or swap files. We say that it is possible, but it is important to note that the operating system should handle the paging file dynamically on its own.

This means that the allocation of virtual memory file sizes is something that should go up or down as needed. In fact, trying to mess with these things manually is one of the possible causes of getting the memory error. It would seem counterintuitive, then, to suppose that making some adjustments here could be the solution.

However, while you wouldn’t mess with the actual paging file in the system, there is a swap file that is based on the free space that is available in your system.

Because there is a swap file area that is dynamic, it can interact with Acrobat in such a way that your drive becomes fragmented over time. This may be related to the memory leak issue, but the result should be the same regardless of the cause.

Once this fragmentation starts to occur, even the free space that could normally allocate itself to an application that uses high amounts of memory can become fragmented as well. When this happens, you could get memory errors from programs like Acrobat.

While the best approach here is to let your operating system take care of the paging file, you may need to alter it manually in order to get rid of the error.

If you do decide to make the alterations, it is a good idea to get into the habit of defragmenting your drive on a regular basis as well. Defragmenting the drive is a good thing to do from time to time in the interest of basic computer maintenance.

However, it can also help to deal with more immediate issues of free space getting fragmented and interfering with the amount of memory at your computer’s disposal. In most cases, you can run a native program that is a dedicated disk defragmenter right from your PC. You can also set things up so that it will run on its own at specific intervals.

Why Does Adobe Use So Much CPU?

It isn’t uncommon for various programs within the Adobe family to make the central processor run high and use most of its resources. This can happen with Acrobat, the Creative Cloud, and more products from this developer.

The precise reasons for why this occurs can depend on which programs are running, particularly since some of them will have features that others do not. However, there are some preferences you may be able to disable in order to make sure that there aren’t too many processes for Adobe running in the background. We’ll focus just on Acrobat here.

How Do I Reduce Memory Usage in Adobe Acrobat?

Spikes in CPU usage when in Acrobat are not uncommon. In most cases, it can use all of the CPU’s resources for several minutes. During this time, the fans may run loudly as they attempt to cool the processor. You may find that things will settle down after that, but the problem could persist for the entire time that you’re using the program. In either case, the page cache usage may be the culprit. To test this, you can do the following:

1. Go to ‘Edit’ and find the ‘Preferences’ submenu.

2. Once there, navigate to ‘Page Display’, and follow that up by going into the ‘Rendering’ area.

3. From here, you should be able to uncheck a box about Using the page cache feature.

4. Once this is done, restart your program to see if the changes help.

You could also try an uninstallation and fresh reinstall of Acrobat as well.

How Do I Make Adobe Acrobat Run Faster?

If Acrobat seems sluggish, one thing you can try is to disable unnecessary plugins. Doing so might help you speed up the program. However, it is important to remember that you need to know which plugins are necessary. You don’t want to disable something that you might rely on later.

That said, which ones are integral to the operations of Acrobat can vary from one user to the next. It may be a good idea to get familiar with the standard plugins that are active when you load the program. That way, you can move the ones you don’t think you’ll use into an optional folder for storage.


PDF is a great format for viewing or sharing documents with anyone, and the Adobe family of products provides a universal way to do just that. Although they are relatively simple on the surface, programs like Acrobat can use a lot of system resources or run out of memory quickly. Some of our fixes above may help you troubleshoot these issues and get back to creating or sharing the documents that are important to you.