Change PDF Viewer back to Adobe’s in Google Chrome


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://plugins
  2. Disable Chrome PDF Viewer.
  3. Enable the Adobe Acrobat/ Adobe Reader plugin.

    Disable Chrome PDF Viewer

Easy as Pie :-)

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  1. #1 by Chris on June 27, 2013 - 11:19 pm

    Is it possible to highlight text inside the viewer in Chrome? The Annotations sidebar appears to be completely grayed out? This would be extremely helpful.

  2. #2 by Robert on August 24, 2013 - 2:09 am

    Finally, this annoying problem (pdfs not opening in Chrome) is solved thanks to you !!

  3. #3 by Renee Holland on October 23, 2013 - 5:42 pm

    Adobe no longer offers the adobe flash player for pdf files on mobile devices.Does anyone know how to get adobe flash player for mobile phones? With out it there are somethings can’t view AT ALL!

  4. #4 by Vishal on October 24, 2013 - 2:47 pm

    Superb! Bull’s Eye! Thanks a lot!

  5. #5 by Tehila on October 30, 2013 - 4:28 pm

    Is there any way to embed code into a PDF that will force Chrome to open it in Reader? I load a PDF newsletter online and refer to it’s bookmarks in a mass mailing (using #bookmark tag after e-mail address in the aref command) but it won’t work in Chrome because of the dedicated Google viewer. I can’t instruct my readers to disable the Google reader, I need to force the PDF to open automatically in Adobe Reader extension. Is this possible?

  6. #6 by IGnatius T Foobar on November 13, 2013 - 10:00 pm

    Why would we want to do this? The PDF reader in Chrome is superior to Adobe’s. It’s lightweight, doesn’t call home, and renders all documents just as accurately.

    • #7 by Paula on February 26, 2014 - 6:06 am

      BECAUSE I PAID $400 TO USE ADOBE STANDARD XI TO EDIT PDFs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • #8 by Jeremy180 on May 2, 2014 - 2:46 am

      The reason that Chrome’s PDF reader is not superior is that any code embedded within the PDF is not allowed to execute thereby rendering any websites that utilize these features useless. By disabling the Chrome PDF viewer and utilizing the Adobe viewer, full functionality is restored.

    • #9 by Anon on May 6, 2014 - 10:23 pm

      Because it isn’t superior.

      It may be lightweight, but it doesn’t support bookmarks, annotations, and other things that Adobe’s “stock” reader supports. I can’t read electronic component datasheets properly with Chrome’s default reader, for example.

    • #10 by Kate on August 7, 2014 - 6:34 pm

      Because I’m a graphic designer and I need the advanced settings that Acrobat Pro gives me for viewing proofs.

  7. #11 by merv on February 5, 2014 - 5:42 pm

    I’ll give you one very good reason – it screws up reports being run to adobe pdf, when you disable this crap it causes more trouble for our customers if the reports had been run while this poxy plugin had been enabled, why don’t google ask if we want stuff that we really don’t need in the first place…I’m very annoyed with google for this as I’m the one that has to deal with all of these complaints from staff!!!!

  8. #12 by Ahmet on May 13, 2014 - 11:35 pm

    many thanks. that was a life saver :)

  9. #13 by Patch on June 5, 2014 - 3:58 pm

    I have deleted the Chrome pdf viewer – but although Acrobat reader and Acrobat Pro X1 are in my mac, Chrome isn’t seeing them. How can I get Chrome to see Acrobat plugin? ( I’ve restarted…)

  10. #14 by Kate on August 7, 2014 - 6:33 pm

    Thank you! I wish I were given the option to view PDFs in Chrome or download to my computer. I’m a designer and I need to be able to turn on overprint viewing and all of that fun stuff for proofs, so I can’t just view them in Chrome. Otherwise, I would totally prefer finally be able to view PDFs in my browser on my Mac, and would want the rest of the PDFs I visit to do that!

  11. #15 by Kiran on August 8, 2014 - 3:14 am

    Thanks so much, this is exactly what I was looking for!

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