All of the major browsers, including Chrome, Edge, and Firefox, integrate a PDF viewer. This is, to give an example, so you can just click the link in Chrome to open it in another tab. Doing so means you don't have to wait for another app to open or leave your browser window, which aids productivity.
However, you also sacrifice more advanced functionality, such as PDF editing. Today we're going to show you how to enable or disable the PDF viewer in Chrome, Firefox, and Edge so you can customize the experience to your liking.
To do so, we just need to tell the browsers to download our PDFs rather than open them. This can be achieved quite easily in settings. In the case of Firefox, you can even tell it to open your PDF in your default PDF reader application as soon as it's done downloading. Let's get started with the tutorial:
How to Enable or Disable Chrome PDF Viewer
If you want to stop Chrome from opening PDF files or, conversely, are wondering how to open a PDF in Chrome, this is the section for you. We'll be diving into the Chrome PDF viewer settings to show you how to enable or disable this functionality without the need for a PDF reader extension.
- Press the three dots in the top-right corner of your browser and click “Settings”
- Choose “Privacy and security” in the settings sidebar and click “Site Settings” in the main pane
- Scroll to “Additional content settings” and press the “PDF documents” button
- Enable or disable the PDF viewer in Chrome
Selecting the “Download PDFs” option will save your PDF to your specified download folder and allow you to open it with your default app by clicking on the completed download in your browser.
How to open a PDF in Chrome
Alternatively, you can also have Chrome open the PDF instead of downloading it by choosing “Open PDFs in Chrome”.
How to Enable or Disable the Microsoft Edge PDF Viewer
Microsoft Edge's PDF viewer works pretty much the same as Chrome's, but gives you some nice additional features such as drawing, highlighting, adding text, and Read aloud. Still, you might want to consider disabling the PDF viewer if you use something like Adobe Reader or Foxit in your day-to-day. Here's how:
- Press the three dots in the top-right corner and choose “Settings”
- Click “Cookies and site permissions” in the sidebar, then “PDF documents”
- How to enable or disable the Microsoft Edge PDF viewer
To disable the PDF reader in Edge, just toggle “Always download PDF files” on. Toggling it off will open PDFs in a new tab instead.
How to Enable or Disable the Firefox PDF Viewer
The Firefox PDF viewer is a little different to the others mentioned in this tutorial. While just like them Firefox will open the PDF in your browser by default, it also gives you the option to select a viewer you'd like to use instead.
We'll be covering how to switch viewer or how to just download the PDF by modifying your Firefox settings:
- Click the hamburger icon in the top-right and choose “Settings”
- Click “General” in the Firefox settings sidebar, then find “Portable Document Format” in the applications list
- Press the dropdown next to it and choose one of the options
Selecting “Save file” will disable the Firefox PDF viewer and save the document straight to your downloads instead. “Open in Firefox”, naturally, will do exactly what it says.
However, the other two options are where it gets interesting. You can set Firefox to use your operating system's default application or select “Use other…” to select a different app from the list.
How to Remove Password Protection from a PDF
If you tried to edit your PDF only to run into a dreaded password prompt, you may want to check out our guide on how to remove password protection from a PDF. After following it, you should be able to regain access to most PDFs.
How to Insert a PDF into an Excel Spreadsheet
Now that you have your PDF downloaded, you can also do things with it other than viewing…such as inserting it into an Excel spreadsheet. It's a handy way to quickly reference the information you need or add a final report for sharing.