How to disable Chrome’s built-in PDF viewer

Chrome’s PDF Extension is undoubtedly a great way to view the PDF files on the go. It makes the task easier and also brings more accessibility to the browser. If you are using this feature already, you might have noticed that the need to install a PDF reader software has completely diminished. Also, you need not download PDFs anymore since you can directly view them in the browser. But if you are not just a casual PDF reader and you take your PDFs seriously, then you might be using a bit more advanced PDF reader on your computer.

Chrome’s in-built PDF viewer lacks features such as highlighting, bookmarks and continue reading. If you read content like eBooks or any other long PDF files, then you might like to disable Chrome’s PDF Viewer and switch to a better alternative. Although you can save your PDF files using the download icon in the top left corner. This entire process can be made more convenient by making the PDF files directly open in your favorite PDF viewer.

Disable Chrome PDF viewer

If you are using the latest version of Chrome 60 – or later, you can follow these steps and disable the inbuilt PDF viewer. We’ve covered the steps for older versions briefly towards the end of this post. Open Chrome and click on the three dots near the address bar. Now select ‘Settings’ from the menu.

Scroll to the bottom and click on ‘Advanced’. Now under the ‘Privacy and Security’ section look for ‘Content Settings’.

Once you are inside ‘Content Settings’, scroll down to find ‘PDF’. Click it open and then enable the setting that says ‘Download PDF files instead of automatically opening them in Chrome’.

Once you’ve enabled this setting, Google Chrome will treat the PDF files as regular downloads and you can open them later with any of your favourite PDF viewers.

To change the default PDF viewer on Windows, right click any PDF file and select ‘Open With’ and then ‘Choose another app’. Now select your application from the list of available apps and you are good to go.

Disable Chrome PDF viewer

Now whenever you stumble upon a PDF file on the internet, Chrome will download it like a regular file. And then you can click to open with your desired PDF viewer/editor like Adobe or etc.

For older versions of Chrome 59 and earlier, the steps are somewhat similar. Go to the Settings and then to the ‘Advanced’ section. Open up ‘Content Settings’ and then under ‘PDF’, check the checkbox saying ‘Open PDF files in the default PDF viewer application’.

If you are using a version of Chrome lesser than 57, then you need to follow these steps. Type in ‘about:plugins’ in the address bar and disable the ‘Chrome PDF Viewer’ plugin to disable the inbuilt viewer.

So this was all about disabling the Chrome’s inbuilt PDF viewer application. No doubt it is a great extension and lets you view PDFs without actually downloading them. But if you are looking for some more features or if you use some other PDF application, then you might want to disable the inbuilt one. You can follow similar steps to re-enable the PDF viewer.

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Lavish loves to follow up on the latest happenings in technology. He loves to try out new Windows-based software and gadgets and is currently learning JAVA. He loves to develop new software for Windows. Creating a System Restore Point first before installing a new software is always recommended, he feels.