Problems downloading PDFs with Google Chrome

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  • Problem
  • Updated 8 years ago
  • Acknowledged
I have been contacted by my website visitors to inform me that they are having difficulties downloading PDF files from the site when using Google Chrome browser. The browser has worked fine with the site before, so I wonder if this is an issue with a newer version of Chrome?

Any help / suggestions would be appreciated.
With thanks,
Photo of angelawatkins6


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Posted 8 years ago

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Photo of Gop


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Hello Angela,

It probably is as the Chrome PDF viewer is quite limited and has been for several versions back.

The recommendation is to disable the Chrome PDF viewer and enable the Acrobat Reader

Copied from:

What Are The Problems?

There are several problems with Chrome’s PDF viewer because it is far too basic and doesn’t work on some PDF files:

Chrome’s PDF viewer automatically takes precedence over any other PDF viewer you have installed. E.g. if you try to open a PDF with interactive links it will open in Chrome’s PDF viewer (where you can’t see the links) – even if you have Adobe Reader installed
You can’t search by page number to jump to a specific page or search by text to find a specific word.
You can’t use Chapters, section headings or page summaries to navigate the PDF.
You can’t click on interactive links in the PDF (in some cases you don’t even see the links, just blank spaces).
You can’t rotate the page – and the list goes on...
How To Fix It

If you can’t open PDF in Chrome, you need to have a proper PDF viewer installed – if you already have Adobe Reader or an alternative, skip to the next step. If you don’t then download and install one now – if you want Adobe Reader see our guide on downloading and configuring it or, for a good alternative, see our guide on free alternatives to Adobe Reader
Open Google Chrome
Type about:plugins into the website address bar at the top and press the ENTER key to display Chrome’s Plugins page
Look down the list of Plugins for ‘Chrome PDF Viewer’
Click on ‘Disable’ just under Location of the Chrome PDF Viewer to disable it
Now look through the list of Plugins for your own PDF Viewer plugin e.g. Adobe Acrobat if you installed Adobe Reader
Click on ‘Enable’ just under Location of your own PDF viewer to enable it
Close Chrome and then reopen it – PDF files should now open properly in your own PDF viewer where you can navigate, view and work with the PDF properly
Still Can’t Open PDF In Chrome?

1. Close Google Chrome

2. Open Adobe Reader

3. Click ‘Edit’ in the top menu bar then click ‘Preferences’ to open the Preferences window

4. Click ‘Internet’ in the left panel

5. Check (tick) the box at the top of Web Browser Options that says “Display PDF in Browser” (if it is already checked, uncheck it then select ‘OK’, then close Adobe Reader and go back to step 2)

6. Click ‘OK’ to save the settings and then close Adobe Reader

7. Open Google Chrome – Adobe Reader should now be used to open PDF in Chrome

This of course is the user side and can't be managed by the web-author.