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Everything You Need to Know about PDF Thumbnail Previews- The Ultimate Guide in 2024

Also known as a PDF preview image, a PDF thumbnail is a small-sized image representation of the first page or a specific page of a PDF file. It is a visual preview of the PDF content, often used to provide a quick overview of the document's contents without opening the entire file.

Meanwhile, PDF thumbnails are commonly used in various software applications and operating systems. In this article, you will learn about the best way to show and adjust PDF thumbnails. You can also find ways to solve the preview pane not showing PDF.

Part 1: What is PDF Thumbnail Preview, and What is it Used For?

PDF thumbnail is a visual preview icon that gives users a glimpse of the content within the PDF. Hence, users don't need to open the entire document to identify the content. So, while you're browsing through the files in a folder, PDF thumbnails make it easier to find the specific document you are looking for. This way, you will quickly locate your desired file, which also saves valuable time.

Meanwhile, PDF thumbnails also improve efficiency within organizations that need specific file searches from PDF files in a library or online repository. Remember, the actual content of the PDF file remains the same, and the thumbnail serves as a visual aid to assist in file management and selection.

Part 2: How to Show PDF Thumbnails with UPDF?

When it comes to PDF editing and management, UPDF is exactly what you need. After all, this software acts as a complete solution to manage and organize PDF documents. So, you can edit PDF text, links, and images in addition to annotating PDFs through comments, text boxes, underlines, shapes, stamps, and more. You can also convert your PDF documents into different file formats with a batch conversion process.

Moreover, UPDF also features AI Chatbot functionality that allows you to summarize, translate, explain, rewrite, and answer based on provided prompts relating to your PDFs. Not to forget, OCR is also amongst the UPDF features where you can turn your scanned PDFs and paper documents into editable yet searchable PDFs.

Additionally, you can manage and preview PDF thumbnails using UPDF. To determine how you can process PDF thumbnail preview using UPDF, find simple and easy steps here:

Step 1: Show or Hide the PDF Thumbnails

Install and launch UPDF on your desktop by clicking the button below.


Click the "Open File" button to import your PDF document. Continue to click the "Thumbnails" icon from the bottom-left corner, and you'll be able to show or hide the PDF thumbnail.

Step 2: Jump to Pages through PDF Thumbnails

If you want to jump to another page from the PDF thumbnail, simply click your desired page number from the left panel.

Step 3: Navigate through PDF Thumbnails

Meanwhile, if you want to navigate the pages of your PDF quickly, simply scroll down from your mouse on the "Thumbnails" panel.

Part 3: How to Enable PDF Thumbnail Preview in Windows10/11

Enabling PDF thumbnail preview on Windows provides several advantages that enhance the user experience and productivity when working with PDF files. When this feature is enabled, Windows generates and displays a visual preview of the first page of each PDF document in the file explorer or folder view. But how can you enable PDF preview in Windows Explorer 10/11? Follow the simple steps here:

Enable PDF Thumbnail Preview in Windows 10:

  • Step 1: Move into File Explorer and access the folder where your PDF files exist. Afterward, tap on the "View" tab from the File Explorer toolbar to access all the viewing options.
  • Step 2: Continue to select "Options" from the available menu, and a "Folder Options" window will appear. Select "View" from the top, move into "Advanced Settings," and remove the checkmark from the box "Always show icons, never thumbnails." Move ahead to click the "Apply" button from the bottom.

Enable PDF Thumbnail Preview in Windows 11:

If you are using Windows 11 system, the instructions will be a little different. Open your file explorer, click the "View" option, and then choose "Show". In the sub-options, choose "Preview pane". Now, when you click any PDF document, it will show the PDF preview in the right panel automatically.

Part 4: How to Fix Windows Explorer PDF Thumbnail Preview Pane Not Showing

Windows Explorer provides users with a convenient way to browse and interact with files and folders on their Windows operating system. However, there are instances where users may encounter an issue where PDF thumbnails are not displaying properly or are missing altogether. To overcome the issue of Windows Explorer PDF preview not working, find valuable fixes here:

Fix 1: The thumbnail Option is Disabled

It's possible that the Windows Explorer PDF thumbnail option is disabled. This means that Windows File Explorer will not show thumbnail previews of PDF files in the preview pane or in the thumbnail view. Instead, it will display a generic icon representing the file type, like a PDF icon, without showing any visual preview of the PDF's contents. You can enable the option by following the instructions in Part 3.

Fix 2: Using a Professional PDF Editor

UPDF is a professional PDF editor that is specially designed for any PDF use. This tool allows users to show or hide PDF thumbnails easily. It can also allow you to read PDF books, modify the text and images in PDF, reduce file size, flatten PDF annotations, and more. Download UPDF now to effortlessly show PDF thumbnails in just a few clicks.


Fix 3: Update Your Windows OS

Updating Windows can be a crucial step in fixing the issue of the Windows 10 PDF preview not working, which automatically results in not showing PDF thumbnails. After all, when Windows updates are released, they often include bug fixes, security patches, and improvements to various operating system components. Hence, you need to update your Windows, and for this, follow the simple steps provided below:

  • Step 1: Open "Settings" from your Windows and select "Update & Security" after scrolling. Continue to choose the "Windows Update" option from the panel on the left side.
  • Step 2: On your right side, you will see the presence of updates if available. Meanwhile, you can also check for updates by clicking the "Checking for updates" button.

Fix 4: Clearing Thumbnail Cache

Updating Windows can be beneficial in clearing the thumbnail cache for a couple of reasons. Firstly, Windows updates often include improvements and bug fixes related to file management and system performance.

These updates can address issues with the thumbnail caching mechanism. Hence, ensuring that the system functions properly and efficiently. So, if you want to clear your thumbnail cache, these steps will help you move forward:

  • Step 1: Move into the Windows settings by pressing "Windows + I" from your keyboard. From the settings window, navigate to "System" and click the "Storage" option.
  • Step 2: The storage settings will be displayed in front of you, and you need to tap "Temporary Files." Continue to select "Thumbnails" while deselecting other options. Finally, press the "Remove Files" to clear the cache of the PDF thumbnails.

Part 5. FAQs on PDF Thumbnail

1. What is the size of the thumbnail for PDF?

The size of the PDF thumbnails can vary from platform to platform. The default and most common PDF thumbnail size for Windows and macOS devices is 256x256 pixels. However, you can increase the size as per your requirement and the instructions vary from different PDF tools.

2. Can I copy pages from PDF thumbnails?

Indeed, you can copy pages from PDF thumbnails. For this purpose, you need to use Adobe Acrobat, and these steps will help you:

  • Step 1: After launching Adobe Acrobat, move into the "Tools" section and select "Organize Pages." Perform a right-click on the selected PDF page thumbnail and select "Copy".
  • Step 2: Move forward to click between page thumbnails where you're looking to insert the copied page. Within the insertion bar, perform a right-click and now select the "Paste" option.

3. How do I turn off thumbnails in Adobe PDF?

It's possible to turn off thumbnails in Adobe PDF in an easy and simple way. For this purpose, these steps will help you:

  • Step 1: Open Adobe Acrobat software, click the "Menu" tab from the menu bar and continue to select the "Preferences" option.
  • Step 2: Move ahead to click the "General" where you need to turn off the "Enable PDF thumbnail previews in Windows Explorer" feature option.

Final Words

PDF thumbnails are helpful, especially when you're dealing with many PDF documents. After all, they allow users to identify files more easily, which helps determine which file to open. In this article, you discovered ways on how to preview PDFs in the folder or in a PDF editor. You also discovered ways to overcome the preview pane not showing the PDF. Not to forget, you also learned about UPDF PDF editor, which is also a top-level PDF thumbnail viewer. Download UPDF from the button below or purchase UPDF at an exclusive discount.


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