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How to Disable Chrome’s Built-in PDF Viewer

How to Disable Chrome’s Built-in PDF Viewer

Sam ChenJuly 23, 2017

Google Chrome’s built-in internal PDF viewer is pretty good. It’s fast and it’s not a bad PDF viewer for basic PDF viewing. However, if you need to do more advanced things such as saving forms with pre-filled fields or digitally signing documents, Chrome’s built-in PDF viewer falls flat on its face. As a result, you’ll have to save each PDF to the system, then re-open them up with something like Adobe Acrobat Pro.

If you’re a PDF power user, this is obviously not ideal. So, how do you have Chrome automatically launch Adobe Acrobat Pro to view your PDFs? Simple. By disabling Chrome’s built-in PDF viewer. Here’s how.


Disable Google Chrome PDF Viewer

Step 1

Launch Google Chrome. Type chrome://settings/content/pdfDocuments in the address bar and hit enter.

Step 2

The only option should be Open PDFs using a different application. Toggle the switch on. Congratulations. PDFs will now launch using your system’s default PDF viewer.

About The Author
Sam Chen
Hardware and Technology Enthusiast. SSD Evangelist. Editor-in-Chief.
  • garthpool
    August 15, 2017 at 11:54 pm

    Chrome has apparently changed the system since you wrote this article. Now the only choice in “PDF Documents” is whether to download the file or let it open automatically. I can find no way to switch between Chrome and Adobe PDF viewers in the latest Chrome configuration.

    • August 16, 2017 at 6:57 pm

      Hmm… you’re right. Google changed the setting since the article was published. I’ll go ahead and put an update to this in the pipeline.

      However, even with the change it should work exactly the same way. With the “Download PDF files instead of automatically opening them in Chrome” enabled, it simply downloads the PDF file to the download directory and your default PDF application should fire up to open the file.

      • garthpool
        August 16, 2017 at 8:26 pm

        Right, Sam. The new setting works as you say. You can open in either Chrome or Adobe viewers by switching the setting.

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