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How to Open A PDF Document In Chrome (Step-By-Step Guide)

December 28, 2021

Wondering how to open a PDF document in Chrome?

Whether you want to break away from your PDF readers or just prefer the convenience of Chrome - good news, you CAN open PDF documents in Chrome. 

You can also set it as your default PDF viewer if you want to view PDF documents as quickly as possible.

And below, we’ll cover everything you need to know about opening and managing PDF documents with Chrome.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • When to Use Chrome For Opening PDFs
  • How to Open a PDF File in Google Chrome
  • How To Always Open PDF Files in Chrome On A Windows Machine
  • How To Always Open PDF Files in Chrome On Mac
  • How To Turn the Chrome PDF Viewer On Or Off
  • When to Turn On Chrome As The Default PDF Viewer
  • When to Turn Off Chrome As The Default PDF Viewer
  • Conclusion And PDF FAQ


Ready?

Let’s get started.

When to Use Chrome For Opening PDFs

In addition to being one of the most used browsers in the world, Chrome also offers a ton of other features and use cases.

And as you might have guessed, yes, you can also use it to open PDFs.

You can even set Chrome as your default PDF viewer

But as far as practicality goes, it’s not the most conventional PDF management tool.

Because, from a features standpoint, you can only:

  • Zoom in.
  • Fit your PDF document to page.
  • Rotate your document viewing experience counterclockwise.
  • Print.
  • And view document properties.

So, in other words, if you only want to read through PDF documents quickly and save storage space, then you might want to consider using Chrome as your default PDF viewer. 

And we’ll teach you all about opening PDFs in Chrome below, keep on reading!

But meanwhile, if you want to annotate documents, edit pages, add text boxes, spell check PDFs, and more - then Chrome is probably not the best tool for you.

If you’re in the former category, however, there are a few different ways you can use Chrome for PDF viewing.

Let’s take a look.

How to Open a PDF File in Google Chrome

Opening a PDF document in Chrome is simple, whether you use Mac or Windows.

  1. Right click on your PDF document.
  2. Click on ‘Open with’.
  3. Select Chrome or your browser of choice. You can also open PDFs in any other browser you use regularly.
open with file google chrome

Another simple way to open a PDF in Chrome is to simply highlight your file and drag it to Chrome by holding down the left mouse button and dragging it to the new tab section in your browser.


The option to ‘Copy’ should appear in your browser and then just let go of the left mouse button.

chrome browser drag and drop copy

You should then see an interface similar to this one in your browser as you’re viewing the PDF document.

google chrome pdf open interface

Easy, right?


Now, let’s take a look at how to always open PDF documents in Chrome as the default option - whether you use Windows or a Mac.

How To Always Open PDF Files in Chrome On A Windows Machine

Want Chrome as the default option to view PDF files?

  1. Right click on any PDF file.
  2. Click Properties.
pdf file properties windows


3. Select ‘Change’ next to ‘Opens with:’.

pdf file properties change

4. Select Chrome and click OK.

select pdf app windows interface

How To Always Open PDF Files in Chrome On Mac

The same applies to setting Chrome as your default PDF viewer on a Mac.

Here’s how:

  1. Right click on any PDF file you’ve downloaded.
  2. Click Get Info.
  3. Click Open With.
  4. Choose Google Chrome from your list.

Same as with Windows, you can also drag multiple PDF files to your browser and they should open together.


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How To Turn the Chrome PDF Viewer On Or Off

Want to use the Chrome PDF viewer as your default choice?

In most cases, Google Chrome's PDF file viewer is turned on by default. And it can be a convenient way to view PDFs as quickly as possible, but if you'd prefer to download copies instead, you can turn off the PDF viewer to make this happen automatically.

Here’s how:

  1. Open Google Chrome.
  2. Click on the three vertical dots in the top right corner.
google chrome settings section

3. Select Settings from the drop-down menu.

4. Click on Privacy and Security on the vertical menu on the left under Settings.

google chrome privacy and security settings

5. Then, click Site Settings under Privacy and Security.

chrome site settings under privacy and security
  1. Scroll down to Additional content settings, click on it, and select PDF documents.
google chrome pdf document settings
  1. Select Download PDFs instead of Open PDFs in Chrome, or vice-versa to turn the Google Chrome PDF Viewer on or off, based on your preference.
chrome pdf viewer settings

Not sure which option to use?

Let’s take a look at both use cases and why or when you should use each.

When to Turn On Chrome As The Default PDF Viewer

In some cases, keeping the Chrome PDF viewer turned on can be a convenient way to manage your PDFs.

Here are some potential use cases:

  • You’d rather access and read through PDF files instantly.
  • You don’t want to download every single PDF file you come across.
  • You don’t plan on editing, managing, spell checking, or taking advantage of any other advanced PDF management software features.

When to Turn Off Chrome As The Default PDF Viewer

The above doesn’t describe you?

Let’s take a look at some reasons why you might want to turn off the Chrome PDF viewer:

  • You want to save the PDF files to your computer instead of reading them in Chrome.
  • You want to automate the downloading process.
  • You prefer to use a different PDF software to open, view, or manage your files.
  • You want to eliminate the process of opening PDF Files in Chrome altogether.

How to Modify, Convert, and Edit PDFs Within Chrome

Many computers nowadays come bundled with Adobe Acrobat reader. But if you prefer to keep your PDF file viewings in one window, Chrome is the way to go.

However, there are also some other options available to modify, convert, or edit your PDF documents from within Google Chrome.

This is not possible natively, however, and you’d have to install a Chrome extension to do this.

With such extensions, you’ll be able to add comments, highlights, annotate text, add drawings, and more, all from the convenience of your Chrome browser.

For example, if you want to sign a PDF contract, you obviously can't do that from Google Chrome natively.

But there are quite a few Chrome extensions that can help you with just that!

The new Adobe Acrobat Chrome extension is a popular option that lets you manage PDFs directly from your browser.

Here’s how to install it:

  1. Go to the Chrome Web Store.
  2. In the search bar, type in Adobe Acrobat.
  3. Click on the first result (Offered by: Adobe Inc.).

Then, click Add to Chrome.

google chrome adobe acrobat extension

Here are some key features Adobe Acrobat offers:

  • Make it the default PDF viewer for all PDF files, thus, allowing you to to open and manage PDFs directly from Chrome.
  • Open your PDFs in Adobe Acrobat Online to add comments and share them with colleagues.
  • Easily fill in forms and add your signature with the Fill & Sign feature, and more.

Though, this is not the only Chrome extension that you can use to open, edit, and manage your PDFs from your browser.

Additionally, you can use some separate PDF downloadable software to better manage your documents safely.

Conclusion And PDF FAQ

Now, to sum up, let’s go over some of the most frequently asked questions on opening PDF documents in Chrome: 

  • How do I get Chrome to open PDFs instead of Adobe Reader?

To open PDFs in Chrome instead of Adobe Reader, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Right click on your PDF file.
  2. Click Properties.
  3. Select ‘Change’ next to ‘Opens with:’.
  4. Select Chrome and click OK.
  5. Now, the next time you open a PDF file it should open in a new Chrome tab.
  • How do I open a PDF in Adobe instead of the browser?

If your PDF files are being opened in browser instead of Adobe, you have to adjust the settings from your browser:

  1. Open Google Chrome or the browser you use. 
  2. Click on the three vertical dots in the top right corner.
  3. Select Settings from the drop-down menu.
  4. Click on Privacy and Security on the vertical menu on the left under Settings.
  5. Then, click Site Settings under Privacy and Security.
  6. Scroll down to Additional content settings, click on it, and select PDF documents.
  7. Select Download PDFs instead of Open PDFs in Chrome.

Then, go to file Properties, select Change next to Opens with, and choose your PDF software.

Hope you found this guide helpful!

Now, if you’re also looking for a better way to convert HTML files to PDF, be sure to check out Inkit Render - an infrastructureless file converter and manager for developers. Whether you need to process one or million documents, Inkit Render makes it possible with a simple API request.

Out-of-the-box PDF generation
The easiest way to automatically generate and manage paperless documents at scale.
By submitting this form, I confirm that I have read and understood Inkit's Privacy Policy.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.