How to Enable/Disable Chrome PDF Viewer, Here is the Simple Guide

Last Updated on November 9, 2022 by Tina Clark

When you need to turn your Chrome browser into a PDF viewer, you only need to enable the built-in Chrome PDF Viewer plugin. It works directly with PDF files online even without using the server. How to enable or disable the feature on Chrome? Here are 4 easy and simple methods that you can apply to perform this process. Moreover, you can also find the best Chrome PDF Viewer alternative to manage and edit PDF files.

Enable Disable Chrome PDF Viewer

Part 1: Excellent Features of Chrome PDF Viewer

Chrome PDF Viewer is an excellent feature available for all Chrome versions. Different from the PDF viewers for other browsers, Chrome PDF Viewer only supports zooming, printing, rotating, and limited features. You can also use the Presentation mode to browse PDF on a full screen and the Two-page view option. Google has been working on some new features, such as the Bookmarks for PDFs and quick jump support. Just in one word, it only provides the basic features to browse PDF documents.

Chrome Features

Part 2: 3 Methods to Enable/Disable Chrome PDF Viewer

Enabling the built-in Chrome PDF Viewer option will take a few clicks here and there. Usually, the Chrome PDF Viewer option is on by default in your Chrome. Whether you are using Chrome on macOS/Windows, here are the detailed processes for the 3 different methods you should follow.

Method 1: Enable/Disable Chrome PDF Viewer via Settings on Win

Step 1: Click the Start menu and choose the Settings option to change the default PDF viewer to Chrome. Select the App icon from the pop-up window, which you can uninstall, defaults, and optional features. You can choose Chrome for the PDF file format.

Choose App to Change Default PDF Viewer

Step 2: Choose the Default apps option from the right menu. It will provide a list of the frequently used default apps, such as Email, maps, music player, photo viewer, video player, and web browser. Of course, you can change the default web browser to Chrome.

Change Default Viewer

Step 3: To activate Chrome PDF Viewer, you can choose the Choose default apps by file type link to direct you to the list of file formats and apps. Just scroll down to PDF and choose Chrome as the default app. Replace the original PDF viewer with Chrome accordingly.

Chrome PDF Viewer Default

Method 2: Enable/Disable Chrome PDF Viewer via Settings on Mac

Step 1: Launch Google Chrome on your computer. After that, you can simply drag-n-drop the PDF file to the online browser to find whether it works. If it cannot view the PDF directly, you can click the Settings button in the upper right corner of your Chrome browser.

Settings of Chrome

Step 2: Click the Privacy and Security option on the left menu and select the Site settings option, which enables you to control what information sites can use and show, including PDF document, locations, cameras, pop-ups, and more on your Chrome.

Site Settings Chrome

Step 3: Scroll down and click the PDF documents option, which is located the near bottom part of the menu list. Just check both the Download PDFs option and the Open PDFs in Chrome option to activate the Chrome PDF Viewer on Mac.

Open PDF in Chrome

Is there a shortcut to enable/disable Chrome PDF viewer? Yes. You can also use the Google Chrome URL below to view PDF files with Chrome and follow the same process to activate the feature in Chrome.



Method 3: Enable/Disable Chrome PDF Viewer from the PDF File

Step 1: Right-click any PDF files on your computer and choose the Open with option. After that, you can click the Choose Another App option. Locate and select Google Chrome from the list and checkmark to open the PDF files with the Chrome browser.

Step 2: When you need to enable the Chrome PDF Viewer, you can check the Always use this app option. It will open the PDF documents with Chrome as the default PDF viewer. Confirm the process and click OK to enable the Chrome PDF Viewer option.

Step 3: When you need to disable the Chrome PDF viewer, you only need to choose another PDF viewer, such as PDFelement is the PDF viewer with the same process. You can always use this app to open the PDF files and click on OK to finish.

Part 3: Best Chrome PDF Viewer Alternative for Win/Mac

Just as mentioned above, the Chrome PDF Viewer has limited features. What should be the best alternative to view and edit the PDF files? PDFelement is a versatile Chrome PDF Viewer alternative. Whether you need to browse the PDF files, make some adjustments, manage the pages, or further edit the PDFs, it should be the optimal choice. Moreover, you can also create PDFs from scratch, perform the OCR features and encrypt the files.

1. Have single, continuous, facing, facing continuous, and full screen modes.

2. Provide zooming, read mode, rotating, background changing, and others.

3. Add notes, stamps, and bookmarks for a better PDF viewing experience.

4. Perform the OCR features to make texts in PDF searchable and editable.

Win Download Mac Download

Step 1: Once you have installed PDFelement, you can launch the program on your computer. Click the Open files button on the home window and select the file you want to view and click the Open button in the pop-up window. You can right-click the PDF and choose PDFelement as the default viewer.

Import PDF to PDFElement

Step 2: Go to the View tab and choose the desired viewing mode, including single, continuous, facing, facing continuous, and full screen from the top menu. Moreover, you can also you can click the Read Mode to view PDF in full screen with the comment tools available only.

View Mode of PDF PDFElement Win Download Mac Download

Part 4: FAQs about Chrome PDF Viewer

1Should I choose Chrome PDF Viewer or Edge PDF Viewer?
Edge PDF Viewer is a better option. Besides the basic PDF viewing features of Chrome PDF Viewer, Edge PDF Viewer also provides a table of contents, automatic zooming, cloud services, and more.
2Is it possible to enable Chrome PDF Viewer with chrome://plugins?
No. It has been removed from Chrome version 57+. You can only manage plugins like Adobe Flash Player through chrome://settings/content/. After that, you can follow the same process to enable the Chrome PDF viewer.
3Why you can’t download PDF directly in Chrome?
Make sure the Google Chrome Version is 57 and above. Check whether you have enabled the Download PDF files instead of automatically opening them in the Chrome option to download PDF automatically.


It is not difficult to enable Chrome PDF Viewer from the settings on Windows or Mac. Moreover, you can also click the PDF and choose Chrome as the default viewer. But the Chrome PDF Viewer only provides some limitations. You can also choose PDFelement as the versatile PDF viewer for Windows or Mac.

Win Download Mac Download

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