I can't tell you specifics without knowing more about your "basic data base." What DBMS software are you using? Most likely, the interface is designed such that, when a record is pulled up and viewed, a PDF attachment is displayed just as a PDF attachment; the DBMS doesn't have the intelligence to invoke Acrobat and post an independent viewer window.
That having been said, it may be possible to program a trigger such that, when it comes up, Acrobat is invoked. I just can't say without more information on your DBMS software.
Microsoft Access macros do not allow you to post an independent window and direct I/O to and from it. If it did, you could use the macro mechanism to execute the acrobat viewer by asserting the proper command-line, supplying the indicated data field as an argument, and you would be off to the races. Access, unfortunately, relies upon the standard "shell" mechanisms to post icons associated with file extensions and support double-click semantics upon them. Long and short: you can do many things with macros and triggers, but cause Acrobat Reader to post in an independent window is not one of them.
Is it so painful--is it such a usability nightmare--to have to click or double-click on something?
What you could do is write some code that reads the PDF file and keeps the first few lines (like a "profile" of the document) in a separate field. That way, you could--on the same Access form--display the "profile" of the document and allow the user to investigate further by double-clicking the PDF icon. That would kill two birds with one stone.
By a "profile," I simply mean the first N characters of the file, just like, in a Google listing, you get several words of context surrounding your search terms. My notion of a "profile" is just the introductory text of the PDF file, without any formatting, just text.
I have to post this so I wont constantly get prompted to reply. PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND. Thank you.