How To Stop PDFs Opening In Chrome Browser? Disable Chrome PDF Viewer

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the steps to Disable Chrome PDF Viewer in Browser, ensuring a seamless and efficient workflow.

How To Stop PDFs Opening In Chrome Browser? Disable Chrome PDF Viewer

In the ever-evolving landscape of web browsing, Google Chrome stands out as one of the most popular and versatile browsers available today. However, some users encounter inconveniences when it comes to handling PDF files within Chrome.

Why to Use Chrome Browser Instead Of Adobe

Before diving into the solutions, let’s first understand the common challenges users face when opening PDF files in Google Chrome. PDFs are a widely used document format, and Chrome’s built-in PDF viewer can sometimes be less feature-rich compared to dedicated PDF software.

Users often encounter issues like slow loading times, limited annotation tools, and difficulties with printing or saving PDFs. But fear not, as we have a range of strategies to overcome these challenges.

How To Stop PDFs From Opening In Chrome?

Method 1

One effective way to improve your PDF document handling experience is by disabling Chrome’s built-in PDF viewer. Follow these steps:

  • Open Google Chrome and type “chrome://settings/content/pdfDocuments” in the address bar.
  • Toggle off the option that says “Download PDF files instead of automatically opening them in Chrome.”

By doing this, you will force Chrome to download PDF files instead of opening them in the browser, allowing you to utilize external PDF viewers with advanced features.

Method 2

Any PDF you click on online will be opened automatically when Google Chrome’s PDF viewer is activated. To download your PDF, you need to take another step. Additionally, this feature might be challenging because it’s simple to forget to download a file if you’re currently reading it online, leaving you to search for the file once the tab is closed.

Rather of opening PDF files on Google Chrome, you should just immediately download them if you want to save time.

  • The Google Chrome window’s upper-right menu icon is the “vertical ellipsis” (three vertical dots). Click on it.
  • From the drop-down menu, choose “Settings”.
  • Open the left pane and select the “Privacy and security” tab.
"Privacy and security" tab
  • The “Privacy and security” section should have “Site settings” selected.
  • Click the “Additional content settings” link at the bottom of the page.
Additional content settings"
  • Then, choose “PDF documents.”
  • Check the “Download PDFs” box in the “Default behavior” column.
Check the "Download PDFs" box in the "Default behavior" column
  • When this option is turned on, Google Chrome will no longer open PDF files in the browser window automatically.
  • As an alternative, the files will be downloaded to your PC, where you can select a program to view and edit them.

Disable Chrome PDF Viewer or Utilize PDF Reader Extension

To further enhance your PDF handling capabilities, consider installing a PDF reader extension. One highly recommended extension is “Adobe Acrobat Reader.” Here’s how to do it:

Search for "Adobe Acrobat Reader."
  • Click “Add to Chrome” to install the extension.
  • Once installed, configure it as your default PDF viewer in Chrome’s settings.

This extension offers a wide array of features, including advanced annotation tools, enhanced search functionality, and improved printing options.

Enabling Hardware Acceleration

Another aspect that can significantly impact your PDF handling experience is hardware acceleration. Enabling this feature can lead to smoother rendering and overall better performance. Follow these steps to enable hardware acceleration:

  • Open Google Chrome.
  • Click the three-dot menu icon in the top-right corner and select “Settings.”
  • Under the “System” section, toggle on “Use hardware acceleration when available.”
Use hardware acceleration when available."

Remember to relaunch Chrome after making this change for it to take effect.


In this guide, we’ve explored various strategies to optimize your PDF handling experience in Google Chrome. By disabling Chrome’s built-in PDF viewer, installing a PDF reader extension, and enabling hardware acceleration, you can overcome common challenges and enjoy a more efficient workflow when working with PDF files.


Can I change the default PDF viewer in Chrome?

A: Yes, you can change the default PDF viewer in Chrome. Instead of opening PDFs in Chrome, you can set another application like Adobe Reader as the default PDF viewer.

Why does Chrome keep opening PDFs automatically?

A: Chrome automatically opens PDFs because of its built-in PDF viewer. It is a feature designed to provide convenience for users. However, if you prefer to use a different PDF viewer, you can disable the Chrome PDF viewer.

How can I stop Chrome from automatically opening PDF files?

A: There are a few ways to stop Chrome from automatically opening PDF files. One way is to disable the Chrome PDF viewer from the browser settings. Another way is to change the default PDF viewer in your operating system settings.

How do I select Chrome as my default PDF reader?

A: To select Chrome as your default PDF reader, you can go to the settings of your operating system. In the default apps or file associations section, you can choose Chrome as the default app for opening PDF files.