With more and more options to go paperless, users may have an abundance of PDFs in their e-mail inbox, and this guide will help you streamline your process of viewing and saving PDFs in your browser or downloading them to a designated space on your computer by toggling on or off the Chrome PDF Viewer.
Whether or not this feature is useful will largely depend on what it is that you need to do with the PDFs, and since it is relatively easy to change, you can use the Chrome PDF Viewer when you need it and disable it when you don’t.
What is the Chrome PDF Viewer?
This feature of the Internet browser Google Chrome automatically opens a PDF in the browser window. This provides instant viewing access but does not save a downloaded copy.
Who Can Use This Guide?
All Chrome users on all major operating systems (macOS, Windows, Linux) can turn this feature on or off. If you use multiple Google accounts within your Chrome browser, you can customize the settings per account.
How To Enable or Disable Chrome PDF Viewer
The following guide offers step-by-step instructions for Chrome users looking to enable or disable Chrome PDF Viewer.
First, navigate your mouse to the three dots at the top right-hand side of the screen, directly underneath the [x] icon. Right-click to open up a drop-down menu.
On this menu, move down until you see Settings, and then click to open a new tab within your Chrome window.
Privacy and Security
On the left-hand side of this new tab, click on the option labeled Privacy and Security. There will be a shield icon next to the text, as well.
When you click on Privacy and Security, you will see a new menu in the main body of that browser tab.
On the right-hand side of the box labeled Site Settings, you will see a small, right-oriented arrow. Click it to navigate to another new menu.
Additional Content Settings
Within that same menu, scroll all the way to the bottom and click the downward-oriented arrow to open more options.
Click on the right-facing arrow on the line labeled PDF Documents. This will open a dedicated settings window for PDFs.
Select Radio Button
Here you will see two options: download PDFs and Open PDFs in Chrome.
Your selection will be highlighted in blue, and you can change it at any time. You may need to close and reopen your browser in order for the changes to take effect.
Pros to Using Chrome PDF Viewer
You have instant access to the content of the PDF without having to open another program, and it doesn’t download every PDF you look at, allowing you to be more selective of which PDFs make it to your downloads folder.
The Chrome PDF viewer has streamlined functionality to print, zoom in and out, and download, so if you’re not needed to edit every PDF that you come across, this is a great feature to use in the browser that you’re already accustomed to.
Pros to Automatically Download PDFs
Conversely, if the majority of the PDFs you receive need to be stored on your device, it may be easier to simply download them automatically. Also, if you need to edit your PDFs either with the keyboard or using a signing tool, this eliminates the step of viewing the PDF first and then having to separately download it.
Chrome’s PDF viewer is a useful tool for some users and a hindrance for others. As with many features, there is an option to use it or not based on your use case, and luckily for Chrome users, it’s just a matter of following some menu icons until you locate the settings that you’re looking for and updating them to your liking.