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 Alex on June 8, 2015 - 6:52 pm

    just… thank you!!!!

    • #2 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!

  2. #3 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…

    • #4 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.

  3. #5 by Parshuram on July 25, 2015 - 3:14 pm

    Want Pdf files to be opened in my system.

  4. #6 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.

    • #7 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.

  5. #8 by Greg on August 29, 2015 - 3:39 am

    Thanks! it worked!

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