Change PDF Viewer back to Acrobat or Reader in Google Chrome

UPDATE: June 14, 2017

Chrome users, there seems to be a new setting to open PDF documents using the native software: Adobe Acrobat DC or Adobe Acrobat Reader DC.

  1. Open Chrome and go to Settings > Content. Alternatively, in the address bar, enter chrome://settings/content/
  2. Scroll down to the end, and select Open PDF Files in the default PDF viewer application.
  3. Click Done.

Open PDF Files in default PDF viewer

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 Minli on November 12, 2011 - 12:44 am

    Thank you . :)

  2. #2 by Kylie on November 14, 2011 - 8:30 am

    Awesome…thank you. I know jack shit about computers but was still able to fix this. Cheers

  3. #3 by SAM on November 17, 2011 - 9:35 am

    verry good

  4. #4 by Laura :) on November 30, 2011 - 12:45 am

    THANK YOU!!!!!! I changed the default to Adobe today and then nothing in pdf would open!!! Geesh!!! Thank you times a million for this info so I could set it back to the default!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. #5 by Kate, Wisdom on December 27, 2011 - 3:00 am

    Thank you very much…….Merry Xmas and happy NEW YEAR in advance……………..kdwis

  6. #6 by Ionicman on January 21, 2012 - 3:35 am

    I had been using Firefox and switched to Chrome. While with Firefox, I had downloaded an Adobe plugin. When I started Chrome, I did not like the Chrome PDF Viewer (no functionality). So I went to Chrome://Plugins, DISABLED the Chrome PDF Viewer and ENABLED the plug-in listed below to see if it worked. It did, surprisingly. Now I can use almost all the functions of Acrobat without leaving the browser. Not sure what troubles this may cause down the road, but for now it works really well.


    Adobe PDF Plug-In For Firefox and Netscape 8.3.1
    Name: Adobe Acrobat
    Description: Adobe PDF Plug-In For Firefox and Netscape 8.3.1
    Location: C:\Program Files\Adobe\Reader 8.0\Reader\Browser\nppdf32.dll

  7. #7 by Josechu on February 15, 2012 - 8:23 pm

    many thanks!

  8. #8 by grant on February 28, 2012 - 2:57 pm

    Hey still having problems.
    Downloaded Adobe Reader – Check
    Disabled Chrome PDF Reader – Check
    …There’s no Adobe Reader in Chrome Plug Ins…Why? Cant find anything to add a reader to a plug in.
    Please assist if anyone has info. I;m on a mac.

    • #9 by Edie on June 14, 2013 - 7:52 pm

      I also am having this problem. Did you ever solve it?

  9. #10 by Akhil on March 6, 2012 - 8:17 pm

    Than You.. :)

  10. #11 by Stephen on April 9, 2012 - 11:13 pm

    To get Adobe Reader to launch when viewing a PDF from Chrome do the following:

    Disabled – Chrome PDF viewer via

    Disabled – Display PDF in Browser via Adobe Reader -Edit/Preferences/Internet
    Uncheck – Display PDF in brower

    NOTE: I had disabled Chrome PDF viewing and was expecting the PDF files to be opened in Acrobat. Chrome just hung and did nothing, I had to tell Acrobat not to open files in browser.

  11. #12 by on May 9, 2012 - 2:36 am

    make sure the adobe reader plugin is enabled

  12. #13 by on May 9, 2012 - 2:38 am

    thank you

  13. #14 by Anonymous on May 10, 2012 - 3:20 pm

    AWESOME! Thank you very much.

  14. #15 by T. White on May 30, 2012 - 3:16 am

    OH MY GOSH!!!!!!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. #16 by Luis on September 18, 2012 - 8:36 pm

    I cant see the the adobe plugin in chrome plugins list.
    I have adobe reader version 9.5.1 and Chrome 21.0.1180.89 for Ubuntu Linux. How can I enable the adobe reader plugin on my chrome browser?

  16. #17 by mark on December 4, 2012 - 8:27 pm

    God bless you for this answer.
    nearly lost whats left of my hair with this.

  17. #18 by Lyn Hinton on December 13, 2012 - 3:23 am

    Please help me disabled the Chrome PDF Viewer
    so I can print my Avery labels

  18. #19 by Danielle D on February 17, 2013 - 1:43 am

    I am using Chrome Version 24.0.1312.57 and Reader 11.0.01. I disabled the Chrome PDF Viewer, but there is no Adobe Reader plug-in in my list of Chrome Plug-ins. How do I get the plug-in????

    • #20 by Vikrant on February 17, 2013 - 11:01 am

      The plugin gets installed automatically, when you install the free Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat. If you don’t have Reader yet, go to

    • #21 by Rene M on March 20, 2013 - 11:40 pm

      I am having the same issue, I installed the latest Adobe Reader but it does not show in the list of chrome plugins. I am using a Mac.

      Any advice greatly appreciated

    • #22 by Tinah on June 18, 2013 - 4:46 am

      Me too. I keep getting random (ie not every) PDF error “aw snap”. I have downloaded the acrobat reader but it does not show in Chrome. Sick of this problem

  19. #23 by Christian tyler ritter on February 19, 2013 - 2:16 am

    I love you

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