Why are My PDFs Opening in Chrome? And How To Stop It

pdf opening in chrome instead of adobe

Why are PDFs opening in Chrome? Many of us have likely wondered about this at some point: opening a PDF file only to find it opening in the default browser instead of the intended PDF reader. Fortunately, this is a common issue that can be easily resolved.

PDF, which stands for Portable Document Format, is a file format created by Adobe Systems that enables the easy sharing of digital documents across various platforms. PDF documents can contain a wide range of content, including text, images, and even interactive elements. With its universal accessibility and ability to maintain document formatting, PDF is a popular format for online content, such as reports, e-books, and whitepapers. Adobe Acrobat Reader is the most popular PDF viewer software used to open and read PDF files.

How do I change my default PDF viewer from Chrome to Adobe?

One of the issues that you might experience when you open PDF files is when it opens with your Chrome browser instead of your PDF software such as the Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you’ve ever questioned why this happens then this article can be a helpful guide for you. Keep reading to discover the possible reasons behind this issue and find out how to customize the default PDF viewer.

Why are PDF documents opening in Chrome browser?

  • Default Settings: Chrome may be set as the default program to open PDF files on your device.
  • Browser Extension: A browser extension may have been installed on Chrome, which is set to open PDF files by default.
  • Outdated PDF Viewer: Your PDF viewer software may be outdated or not installed on your device, causing Chrome to open PDF files instead.
  • Corrupt PDF Viewer Software: If your PDF viewer software is corrupt, Chrome may be unable to open the PDF files in the viewer, and instead, it opens them in the browser.

Step 1: Turn off Chrome PDF viewer

If you have Adobe Acrobat Reader DC or another PDF reader software installed, but PDFs are still opening in Chrome, it’s likely because the Chrome PDF viewer is set as the default program. To ensure PDFs open in your reader software and not in Chrome, you need to disable the PDF viewer in the browser’s settings.

Set Chrome browser to download PDFs option

  • Launch Chrome and click on the three dots in the top-right corner.
  • Click on Settings.
  • Select the Privacy and Security option.
  • Click on Site Settings.
  • Scroll down to the bottom until you reach the Additional Content Settings section.
  • Click on PDF documents.
  • You’ll notice that the setting is set to Open PDFs in Chrome. Select the Download PDFs option.

Once you perform this step the PDFs opening in Chrome won’t be an issue anymore. However, you still need to set a default PDF viewer.

Step 2: Set Adobe Acrobat Reader as default PDF reader

After making sure that the Chrome PDF viewer has been disabled in step 1 you need to make the Adobe Reader software the default PDF viewer.

Set Adobe Reader as PDF reader

  • Right-click on a PDF file, and then choose Properties
  • In the file’s Properties dialog box, click Change.
  • Select Adobe Acrobat Reader DC and click OK.
  • In the Properties dialog box, click OK.

You can also make the necessary changes from the Adobe Acrobat software.

  • Open Acrobat Reader and select Edit > Preferences.
  • Click Internet in the left panel of the Preferences menu and then select Internet Settings.
  • Select the Programs tab.
  • Click Manage Add-Ons and choose Acrobat Reader in the list of add-ons.
  • Click Disable to ensure PDFs won’t be opened in a browser.

After performing these two steps the PDFs opening in Chrome issue will not be a problem anymore.

Adobe Reader alternatives

There are several reasons why someone might need an Adobe Acrobat Reader alternative:

  • Cost: Adobe Acrobat Reader can be expensive, especially for individuals or small businesses that don’t require all of its features.
  • Resource Intensive: Adobe Acrobat Reader can be a resource-intensive software, which can cause slow performance on older or less powerful computers.
  • Compatibility: Adobe Acrobat Reader may not be compatible with all operating systems, devices, or file formats.
  • Security: Adobe Acrobat Reader has been known to have security vulnerabilities, which can be exploited by hackers to gain unauthorized access to your computer or network.
  • User Experience: Some users may find the Adobe Acrobat Reader interface complex or confusing and prefer a simpler, more user-friendly alternative.
  • Feature Set: Some users may not require all of the features offered by Adobe Acrobat Reader and prefer a more lightweight alternative that meets their specific needs.

Alternative PDF document viewers you can choose

  • Foxit Reader: A popular PDF reader with a simple interface, support for multiple platforms, and extensive editing features.
  • Nitro PDF Reader: A lightweight PDF reader that offers a range of features such as digital signature and commenting tools.
  • Sumatra PDF: An open-source PDF reader with a minimalist design that is fast and easy to use.
  • PDF-XChange Editor: A feature-rich PDF editor and reader that allows users to edit, annotate, and encrypt PDF files.
  • Google Drive PDF Viewer: A cloud-based PDF viewer that allows users to view and edit PDF files on the go.
  • Evince: A Linux-based PDF reader with support for multiple file formats and a simple interface.
  • PDFsam Basic: A free PDF editor and reader that allows users to merge, split, and rotate PDF files.
  • Slim PDF: A lightweight PDF reader that is fast, secure, and easy to use.
  • MuPDF: A lightweight and open-source PDF reader that can be integrated into other applications.
  • STDU Viewer: A PDF reader with support for multiple file formats and an intuitive interface.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why are my PDFs opening in Chrome instead of my default PDF viewer?

    This is likely because Chrome's PDF viewer is set as the default program for opening PDF files. To change this, you need to disable Chrome's PDF viewer in the browser settings.

  2. How do I disable Chrome's PDF viewer?

    To disable Chrome's PDF viewer, open Chrome settings, go to Privacy and security, click on Site settings, scroll down to PDF documents, and toggle off the option for “Download PDF files instead of automatically opening them in Chrome.”

  3. How do I set my default PDF viewer on Windows?

    To set your default PDF viewer on Windows, right-click on a PDF file, select “Open With,” choose your preferred PDF viewer from the list, and click “Set as default.”

  4. How do I set my default PDF viewer on Mac?

    To set your default PDF viewer on Mac, right-click on a PDF file, select “Get Info,” click on “Open With,” choose your preferred PDF viewer from the list, and click “Change All.”

  5. What are some popular alternatives to Adobe Acrobat Reader?

    Some popular alternatives to Adobe Acrobat Reader include Foxit Reader, Nitro PDF Reader, Sumatra PDF, PDF-XChange Editor, Cool PDF Reader, and Google Drive PDF Viewer. These alternatives offer similar features and functionality at varying price points and system requirements.


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