I'm a student and I'm constantly hoping up PDFs for homework. I often end up downloading multiple files after clicking on a link each time I start working. Is there any way to set Chrome to only open PDFs and not download them?


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    This question was asked in the wrong community. – zylstra Aug 14 '17 at 19:49

You will have to teach your Chrome how to Preview PDF's

For that you need to install a PDF preview "add on" in Chrome.

Automatically previews pdfs, powerpoint presentations, and other documents in Google Docs Viewer.

Or you can try this : You can normally open PDFs automatically in Chrome by clicking on the file you want to see.

If your PDFs are downloading instead of opening automatically in Chrome, Chrome PDF viewer could be turned off.

On your computer, open Chrome. At the top right, click More Settings. At the bottom, click Show advanced settings. Under “Privacy”, click Content settings. Under “PDF Documents," check the box next to "Open PDF files in the default PDF viewer application.” (Uncheck this box if you want PDFs to open automatically when you click them.)

  • I did both but chrome still downloads without previewing. Is there anything else I should do? – existing person Jul 16 '20 at 16:35
  • If anyone still needs help: Settings -> Privacy and Security -> Site Settings -> Additional Content Settings -> PDF Documents -> Deactivate to disable downloading files and read in Chrome – Ashfaq Apr 5 at 3:58

FYI This answer is outdated and no longer relevant:

Go to chrome://extensions in the address bar, then find and enable Chromium PDF Viewer.

This will tell Chrome to use its built-in PDF viewer instead of downloading. After this is enabled, to download PDFs, just press command+S.

  • We are looking for longer answers with more detail. Please edit your answer to provide more info, images, and/or links to credible sources. – Allan Mar 31 '16 at 17:54
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    Why does he need to be even more specific? His answer is the best approach to this specific problem – Arvanitis Christos Jun 1 '16 at 22:31
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    chrome://plugins is no longer available: bugs.chromium.org/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=615738 . – zylstra Aug 14 '17 at 19:49
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    This site can’t be reached The webpage at chrome://plugins/ might be temporarily down or it may have moved permanently to a new web address. ERR_INVALID_URL – Peter Kionga-Kamau Aug 20 '18 at 22:19
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    Answer no longer relevant. – Shimmy Weitzhandler Sep 6 '18 at 6:18

Simple: go to this URL:


and flip the switch.


In Google Chrome go to Settings. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the hyperlink for Show Advanced Settings. From there scroll down until you find the "Download" section. Uncheck the box where it asks where to save each file before downloading. Close Chrome and reopen. You should now be able to have the PDF open without prompting to save it.

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    On the newest version (44) that doesn't work. All it does is automatically save to the default location, which is the Downloads folder. – user139476 Aug 7 '15 at 16:55

Go to Chrome>Settings>Advanced Settings>Content Settings>PDF Documents.

Deselect the option Open PDF files in the default PDF viewer

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    That setting is off already. – Peter Kionga-Kamau Aug 20 '18 at 22:21
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    And now the option has changed to "Download PDF files instead of automatically opening them in Chrome" (which is already off) – Michael Nov 4 '18 at 23:13

I fixed this problem by going to Chrome://extensions Because I have Adobe Acrobat installed on my computer, the extension was present, but defaulted to 'disabled'. Toggling to 'enabled' now triggers a pop-up when clicking pdf links, to 'Open in Acrobat'


Within Chrome, do this:

  • Chrome.app > Chrome (menu) > Preferences
  • Settings > + Show advanced settings (text link) > Content Settings (button)

Then scroll down to PDF Documents and check: Open PDF files in the default PDF viewer application application. (Uncheck this box if you want PDFs to open automatically when you click them.)

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    The only option available in that page is "Download PDF files instead of automatically opening them in Chrome". – Shimmy Weitzhandler Sep 6 '18 at 6:21
  • Much easier than navigating manually: going here: chrome://settings/content/pdfDocuments – ijoseph Dec 16 '19 at 18:21

I don't have the "whether to save each file before downloading" question on advanced settings - only where to save the file. However - I find that if I click on a pdf and chrome asks where to save it, if I say "cancel" and then click the pdf again it simply shows it with downloading it! Hope this helps.

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