How to Stop Displaying PDFs Inside Google Chrome

PDFs or Portable Document Format has become the standard to safely and securely share documents on the internet. Though it is an old format, dating all the way back to 1993, but it still sees frequent usage everywhere- even now, in our day-to-day browsing experience. And thus, Chrome has an inbuilt PDF reader that displays the document inside the browser, so you can enjoy browsing without leaving Chrome. However, Chrome’s inbuilt PDF reader does not offer any rich features and often slows down Chrome performance. Therefore, some of use would like to change this behavior and display documents in separate PDF readers.

PDFs are everywhere

Google considers PDFs as web pages and displays them in its search results. When you click on such result, Chrome will start loading PDF directly with it’s inbuilt PDF viewer. Chrome assumes that not everyone has a separate program for PDFs and it’s faster to render them internally. However, the internal PDF reader of Chrome lacks several features and many of us would not want to open PDF in Chrome.

PDFs while searching

PDFs in Google Chrome

The most common workaround is to save the loaded PDF in Chome to your computer and then right-click and use the option “Open with”. But this method will take another download and when better option is available.

Turn Off loading PDFs in Google Chrome

You can open PDF directly with your system client, which allows greater control on the document with a simple tweak:

First, open a new tab in Chrome, type chrome://plugins into Omnibox, then hit Enter

open plugins in Chrome

Depending on how you use your browser, you may or may not see a lot of plugins on this page once you open it. Disregard everything else: what we are looking for is Chrome PDF Viewer, which should look like this:

Disable PDFs in Chrome

Simply click “disable” to turned off PDF display. From now onward PDF files will no longer display in Chrome.

That’s all! A simple tweak to stop displaying PDF in Chrome. Now, all PDFs will now open in your choice of client. In order to re-enable this feature, all that you need to do is follow same instructions again to find the plugin page and re-enable PDF Viewer.

Related: If you are juggling around with too many PDFs, read our article on PDF Mergy to merge multiple files directly in your Google Drive.

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Filed under Google Chrome. Posted by Abhishek and last updated on January 11, 2016.

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