Change PDF Viewer back to Acrobat or Reader in Google Chrome

UPDATE: April 24, 2015

In the latest version of Chrome, NPAPI plugins (whatever that means) are not enabled by default. These have been deemed “experimental” and you need to explicitly enable them. Adobe Acrobat or Reader browser plugins use the NPAPI  to invoke the browser plugin.

The instructions below have been updated to incorporate these steps.

Note that this will enable all NPAPI plugins. As Google has deemed it experimental, review your list of plugins, and disable the ones you don’t need.


Around December 2010 I noticed that Google Chrome, in it’s latest update (version 8.0.552.215), slipped in an integrated PDF viewer. So your PDF files are not rendered in the browser using the Adobe plug-ins. So if you’re wondering, for example, why 3D models won’t render, or embedded SWFs are not playing, you should revert to the good old Adobe PDF plug-in.

If you want to revert to the good old Adobe plugins, here’s what you do:

  1. In the Chrome address bar, type: chrome://flags.
  2. Search for “NPAPI” and enable it.
  3. Relaunch Chrome.
  4. In the Chrome address bar, type chrome://plugins
  5. Disable Chrome PDF Viewer.
  6. Enable the Adobe Acrobat/ Adobe Reader plugin.

    Disable Chrome PDF Viewer

Easy as Pie :-)

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  1. #1 by Tammy on May 10, 2015 - 11:43 pm

    My downloads use to open in Chrome PDF viewer but now open directly in Adobe. I want them to open in Chrome. How do I change it back to Chrome PDF Viewer? In plugins it is checked to always run but doesn’t.

    • #2 by John on February 12, 2016 - 2:45 pm

      Go to Settings, Downloads, and clear the auto-opening settings. Chrome wont open Adobe anymore, instead it will just download them or open chrome PDF viewer where enabled.

    • #3 by dashia on March 26, 2016 - 7:50 pm


  2. #4 by Alex on June 8, 2015 - 6:52 pm

    just… thank you!!!!

    • #5 by Melinda on August 28, 2015 - 12:25 am

      thank you, thank you, thank you. I was doing so much double work with having to save and re-open into Adobe!

  3. #6 by jess on June 10, 2015 - 10:22 pm

    I typed chrome://flags and the list of experiments was shown, there was no NPAPI. So I went to chrome://plugins. Chrome PDF Viewer was there – and it was already disabled.

    And yet .pdfs still open in Chrome…

    • #7 by Jesse Funk on July 30, 2015 - 9:23 pm


      When at chrome://flags hit ctrl + F which brings up search page option and search for NPAPI.

      Support to NPAPI plugins will be ending soon for chrome as seen in below link.

  4. #8 by Parshuram on July 25, 2015 - 3:14 pm

    Want Pdf files to be opened in my system.

  5. #9 by Richard on July 30, 2015 - 5:30 pm

    NPAPI (Nescape Plugin Application Program Interface) is an old development standard that browsers have used for years. As such it poses security risks and Google is completely removing it in Chrome 45 (to be released around September). And in the present version of Chrome it can only work with a registry hack or group policy. We are dealing with that at work since several of our plug-ins use NPAPI.

    The newer Reader (Acrobat Document Cloud Reader) remedies that and does not use the NPAPI.

    • #10 by Rohit Sharma on August 12, 2015 - 1:10 pm

      Hi Richard,
      Could you please let us know by when this PPAPI based Chrome plugin shall be available. We will be facing issues from Chrome 45 onwards.

  6. #11 by Greg on August 29, 2015 - 3:39 am

    Thanks! it worked!

  7. #12 by Ed on November 19, 2015 - 7:18 pm

    Just so you know NPAPI is not an option in Chrome anymore when you go to flags

  8. #13 by han on December 9, 2015 - 5:32 am

    1. Open Chrome and type “about:plugins” into the omnibox at the top.

    2. Find Chrome PDF Viewer in the list and click the Disable link to prevent PDFs from loading within Chrome.

    • #14 by Jana on August 26, 2016 - 11:58 am

      That worked perfectly! Thank you!

  9. #15 by Martina on March 3, 2016 - 4:46 pm

    My chrome asks me to save document instead of opening it in PDF, or asking to open or to save document.

  10. #16 by Emma on March 17, 2016 - 2:00 am

    the “about:plugins>disable Chrome PDF viewer” worked perfectly! Now my pdfs open directly in Adobe–ready for saving/printing or revising.

  11. #17 by Veronica on March 28, 2016 - 11:58 pm

    I cannot get my ebooks to open with googlecrome it gives me a code 013 and ive tried to disable the PDF Viewer but then I cannot open it with anything else. I tried the chrome flags and I did search for NPAPI and its not there. My husband just bought this and the whole point was for school and I cannot use my ebooks

  12. #18 by Monica Anderson on July 7, 2016 - 8:57 am

    I need pdf for my seminars for each of my classes

  13. #19 by Jim P on July 21, 2016 - 3:57 am

    I have disabled the Chrome PDF viewer but it doesn’t make any difference. PDF files will still not open in Adobe Reader. It always asks me to open in some other document that I have to subscribe to. Don’t know what else to do.

  14. #20 by blackbad on August 6, 2016 - 4:49 pm

    Thanks . İt Worked

  15. #21 by ALBERTO on August 11, 2016 - 4:32 pm

    Hey Tammy!
    thanks for your help.
    it’s done. your instruction helped me.
    thank you so much

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