How to disable Chrome's PDF viewer

Be able to choose to download or open PDFs in standalone apps rather than the browser window with a quick and easy fix.

Stephen Shankland/CNET

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.

So how can you choose to download or open PDFs in standalone apps rather than the browser window? It's a quick fix if you follow these steps:

Step 1: Open Chrome and type "about:plugins" into the omnibox at the top.

Chrome's about:plugins settings area. Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Step 2: Scroll down and find Chrome PDF Viewer.

Step 3: Click the "Disable" link to prevent PDFs from loading within Chrome.

That's it! Now you can choose to download or open PDFs with the standalone reader you have installed on your PC. 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, April 17, 2015: This How To post was originally published on June 27, 2011, and has been updated to include new information.

 

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