Quick Tips: How to Disable PDF Viewer in Google Chrome

Google Chrome comes with an inbuilt PDF viewer that allows you to view PDF files right in the browser. Some people will love it and some don’t. If you belong to the latter camp and wish to turn off the PDF feature for good. Here’s how you can do it.

Open your Google Chrome and type “about:plugins” in the URL bar.

Scroll down the list until you see the option “Chrome PDF Viewer”.

Click the “disable” link beneath it.


That’s it. From now on, whenever you click on a PDF link, it will prompt you to download the file instead of displaying it in the browser.

To restore the PDF Viewer feature, just follow the same steps and click the “Enable” link.

Damien Damien

Damien Oh started writing tech articles since 2007 and has over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He is proficient in Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS, and worked as a part time WordPress Developer. He is currently the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Make Tech Easier.


  1. This is a good tip, because the Chrome PDF viewer is downright awful. At least on my machine, there’s no way to print or save the PDF to desktop. Thus, if the link is not right-clickable, this broken PDF viewer literally traps the file in the cloud and you cannot get it onto your hard drive. What a mess!

    1. Yes. Personally I prefer to download the PDF file to the desktop rather than view it in the browser.Disabling the default PDF viewer does make it easier for me.

    1. PDF view doesn’t necessary lead to higher chance of malware infection. It still boils down to the user habit. If they continue to click on or execute any links/files that they chanced upon, even when they have turned off the PDF view, they are still vulnerable to malware and virus attack.

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