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 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!

    • #15 by Katie on December 7, 2016 - 3:55 am

      Worked great – THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • #16 by Angie on December 22, 2016 - 3:46 am

      You are a lifesaver! Thanks worked perfectly.

  9. #17 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. #18 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. #19 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. #20 by Monica Anderson on July 7, 2016 - 8:57 am

    I need pdf for my seminars for each of my classes

  13. #21 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. #22 by blackbad on August 6, 2016 - 4:49 pm

    Thanks . İt Worked

  15. #23 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

  16. #24 by Roger on September 28, 2016 - 9:40 pm

    In chrome://plugins I can disable the chrome pdf viewer but the adobe acrobat viewer is not listed. I do have it installed on my MAC. How do I get Chrome to list it as an available plugin? (Probably easy…..)

  17. #25 by Sherri Wood on December 5, 2016 - 10:06 pm

    Hello I’m not sure how to fill out the paper work

  18. #26 by Bananny on February 10, 2017 - 9:46 pm

    How can I disable PDF’s from opening in the new version of Chrome? When I go to chrome://plugins, the “Always allowed to run” box is checked and locked so I can’t un-check it. I also went to chrome://flags to enable NPAPI and it’s gone! I’ve been searching for answers and all I can find is NPAPI is now disabled / obsolete. I think it’s COMPLETELY unacceptable that I cannot set my downloaded PDF’s to open in Acrobat Pro. I need Acrobat for work and it was keeping my PDF’s on a separate monitor from Chrome as I am cross referencing data from my server and PDF docs on different monitors all day long. I am not happy right now. No, I don’t want to right click and save as. I want my single click > opens in Acrobat back!

  19. #27 by Ron D'souza on February 16, 2017 - 5:14 pm

    can’t find NPAPI

  20. #28 by CE on February 28, 2017 - 9:44 pm

    Anyone know another work around since both the “disable Chrome PDF Viewer” is greyed out and won’t allow a disable AND the NPAPI is not available?

    • #29 by Keri Hutchins on June 2, 2017 - 9:31 pm

      Can not access NPAPI nor are plug in’s available and the Privacy option to view in default does not seem to make a difference either way. I want when downloaded to have the file open in adobe, not the web browser, or at least have the option of how it opens. I hate the time of downloading, then going to adobe to find and open it. The browser does not have all the functionality my adobe has.

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