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How To Enable the Built-in PDF Viewer in Google Chrome

The recent releases of Google Chrome (6 and up) have PDF support built-in, but it's not enabled by default.
Here's how to enable the PDF viewer in Chrome.

- Launch Google Chrome. Make sure you are using version 6 or above.
To check which version you have, click on the wrench in the toolbar in the upper right corner and click on About Google Chrome. A box will pop up and display the version. 
The newest version can be downloaded at

-  Go to the Chrome address bar and type in chrome://plugins/ (see below) and hit the Enter key.

Google Chrome Plug-in Screenshot

- Click on the blue Enable link, close the browser window and you're good to go.
Flash, Java, and Google Update can be enabled or disabled the same way.
Other plugins can be listed depending on what vesion of Chrome you are using.
The latest update (Sept. 18, 2011) shows a plugin named Remoting Viewer that wasn't there earlier.

I didn't have any problem with the 6 PDF files I opened, but as this is a relatively new feature, there may be a bug or two. 


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by Fadous (not verified) on 2. April 2012 - 0:28  (91554)

Thanks alot

by Phil G (not verified) on 5. January 2012 - 14:10  (86608)


Thanks for this info. Just upgraded to Adobe Reader X and found it taking over my browser. Unfortunately Chrome has a way better "Save As" function than Reader X, hence the need to revert back to Chrome PDF plug-in. If you were wondering the Adobe Reader Save function doesn't seem to recognize Homegroups or Dropbox, hence the problem...


by A. (not verified) on 5. February 2012 - 20:19  (88360)

Thanks! But.... when I enabled it, it disables Adobe Acrobat - Version: (Disabled)Adobe PDF Plug-In For Firefox and Netscape 10.1.2

is this wrong? can they both be enabled and if not, why not?

thank you!!

by rhiannon on 5. February 2012 - 23:23  (88368)

@Amira; It might be an issue in your default programs. Chrome might have set itself as the default PDF program. Here's a good step by step article on how to check and/or change your default programs:
Beginner Geek: Set Default Programs in Windows 7 and Vista

I would check to make sure that Adobe Reader is set as your default.
I don't use Adobe Reader so I can't replicate the problem.
Hope that helps.

by rhiannon on 6. January 2012 - 2:47  (86660)

@Phil G;
I don't use Adobe Reader. I've been using PDF-XChange.
Here's more: Best Free Non-Adobe PDF Reader. =)

by Lingfei (not verified) on 24. October 2011 - 3:58  (82031)

This is great. I always though plugin and extentions are the same thing. THat is why i never found where to turn Chrome pdf one. But now i will turn on pdf xchange for a change. rhyme.

by rhiannon on 24. October 2011 - 15:56  (82062)

@Lingfei; Terms vary a bit from browser to browser - Firefox uses the term add-ons, Chrome uses the term extensions.
In general add-ons and extensions are installed from the browser's add-on/extension page.

Plugins are programs like Adobe Flash, Sivlerlight, Java, Quicktime, Adobe Reader, etc.
In Firefox you can check which plugins you have installed through the Add-ons/Plugins menu.

Then there are functions that are written in to the browser and can often be changed. In Firefox type about:config into the address bar to access the entries. Here's a list of the entries and what they do:
About:config entries - MozillaZine Knowledge Base
I highly recommend backing up your browser settings before making any changes.

In Chrome, you can access some of them by typing about:flags into the address.
These are experimental functions so they may or may not work smoothly.
The one I use is Side Tabs, since I like Side Tabs in browsers - just click enable or disable to change.

by abo (not verified) on 25. January 2011 - 17:20  (65182)

i tried to open the chrome plugin url but i keep getting this message
can anyone help?

"This web page is not available.

The web page at null might be temporarily down or it may have moved permanently to a new web address.

Error 300 (net::ERR_INVALID_URL): Unknown error."

by rhiannon on 25. January 2011 - 23:14  (65197)

Are you running the latest stable version of Chrome?

If so, it now has the PDF reader built in, so the extension is no longer needed.
My guess is that Google pulled the plug on the extension since there's no need for it anymore and that's why the page returns that error.

My version is from the official Google Chrome site:
Google Chrome
At the moment my stable version is 8.0.552.537.

by Pattern-chaser (not verified) on 27. September 2010 - 11:22  (58501)

I uninstalled all Adobe software not long ago. [I use PDF X-Change Viewer for PDFs.] A non-Adobe PDF reader for Chrome is good news! But you'd be surprised how hard it is to avoid Adobe's Flash technology.... :-(

by Ashish sharma (not verified) on 26. September 2010 - 9:52  (58460)

Hey Rhiannon Wow what a mind blowing thing you have told that, Why they have made that hidden when they can exactly get more fame by that they can by default do that but thanks to you, how you know this, amazing to know that? In future also if you get any thing like this do let us knnow.

by rhiannon on 26. September 2010 - 19:02  (58479)

I use Firefox and Google Chrome both, so I like to keep an eye on their development - new releases, new features, bugs, stuff like that.
I keep track by reading the developer blogs and sites for both browsers.

by Didgeridoo (not verified) on 25. September 2010 - 23:39  (58443)

Sumatra PDF's pretty nifty and it's FREE !!

by pdfcayman (not verified) on 25. September 2010 - 17:44  (58422)

In my version, for some reason Adobe Acrobat plug-in for Firefox was installed. There was no Chrome PDF Viewer. I disabled the Adobe Acrobatr plug-in and then clicked on the plus (+) sign at the top right of the plug-in page. This expands the view for each plug-in to provide more data, and suddenly there was the missing Chrome PDF Viewer. Natural, I guess! You would npot want two PDF viewers active in the same browser.

by mm (not verified) on 16. August 2011 - 0:49  (77710)

thx !!!

problem solved because of this review

by rhiannon on 16. August 2011 - 1:05  (77711)

You're more than welcome, glad to help. :)

by rhiannon on 25. September 2010 - 20:13  (58432)

Thanks for posting that, I'm sure others will find that information useful.

by DrBoo (not verified) on 25. September 2010 - 13:13  (58413)

Thanks. The most recent beta version of Chrome seems not to have the wrench. They call the address bar the omnibar. The beta is a dream for me. Makes IE8 fell like Windows 95.

by RedSkywalker on 25. September 2010 - 12:54  (58412)

Why on earth have they hidden this???? Many thanks, switched on and working perfectly - now I can uninstall Adobe!

by rhiannon on 25. September 2010 - 21:00  (58437)

I don't know that it was hidden, exactly, but it's a relatively new feature.

I've noticed that some things are baked in to the beta and dev versions that take some time to make it to a stable release. Things stay in the background, as it were, until they feel it's mostly bug free.
There are a few small bugs here and there with the inline PDF feature that they are still working on.

Same for the side tabs feature - I'm sure it will show up in a future release as an option, but for now you have to add special tags to get it to work, and sometimes it's take a bit of tinkering to get it to show up even when it's enabled. I don't mind messing about with it, since side tabs is one of my favorite Firefox features, but not everyone wants to tweak and try until it works. :)

If you want to keep on top of new features and releases try these two sites:
Google Chrome Releases
Early Access Release Channels - The Chromium Projects

by rhiannon on 25. September 2010 - 20:17  (58433)

You're welcome, and I know what you mean about Adobe. I use NitroPDF for most things. and if you need suggestions for non-Adobe PDF readers, have a look at the top picks in our Best Free Non-Adobe PDF Reader category.