How to disable Chrome's PDF viewer

Set up Chrome to let you download PDFs for viewing on your computer instead of loading in the browser.

Google Chrome's built-in PDF viewer can make opening PDFs super-quick. Unfortunately, you don't have access to all of the same tools you can use in apps like Adobe Reader. Thankfully, you can change one Chrome setting to make the process a bit faster:

  • Open Chrome and type "about:plugins" into the omnibox at the top.
  • Find Chrome PDF Viewer in the list and click the Disable link to prevent PDFs from loading within Chrome.

Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

That's it! Now you can choose to download PDFs and open them with a standalone reader you have installed on your computer. And if you ever change your mind, the option will be in the same place with an "Enable" link to bring it back.

Editors' note, October 12, 2015: This How To post was originally published on June 27, 2011, and has been updated to include new information.

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