Recently, I've found that when using the pinch-to-zoom motion with the trackpad while reading a PDF in Chrome, I no longer get the preferred behavior: Chrome's zoom ticking up discretely by 25% or so. Instead, I get a continuous "screen-zoom" effect (similar to holding Control and scrolling), inside the Chrome window (as opposed to the actual screen-zoom, which is independent of the application). Chrome's usual zoom controls still work, but I have to access them either by keyboard shortcut or clicking the respective buttons.

There are several down-sides: the resolution does not update, so my zoomed-in PDF is unnecessarily grainy, and I cannot use horizontal scrolling to navigate, only vertical. Further, the zoom happens wherever the cursor is, rather than centered in the page. Finally, there is a fixed upper bound to how far I can zoom in. This is all rather strange and unwieldily; how can I recover the original behavior?

I am using OSX 10.9.5, and the most recent version of Chrome. All four "Scroll and Zoom" options under Trackpad in System Preferences are active. If I deactivate 'Pinch to zoom', instead of recovering the old behavior, nothing happens when I pinch.

Thanks for your help!

2 Answers 2


As a "workaround" to this issue, you can download BetterTouchTool and remap these gestures in Chrome:

  • A "pinch in" to ⌘–
  • A "pinch out" to ⌘+

That should "solve" your problem.

  • There is no need to additional software, ⌘+ and ⌘– works properly in Chrome. Jun 9, 2017 at 7:59

As of September 2015, this is a bug in newer versions of Chrome that the Chrome team is aware of. [I do not know the status since then] The alternatives are to use the zoom button in the lower right, a different browser, or take the pdf out of chrome into adobe reader.

  • Is there a way to 'bump' this bug fix request, or options under the hood of Chrome to restore the old behavior? Feb 3, 2016 at 22:22
  • Check out the Chrome bug/feature team's forum about this topic: link ... also, at the bottom of said forum a contributor posts a link to an extension that mimic the same user interface behavior.
    – mehmetic
    Feb 4, 2016 at 23:06
  • Thanks! Good to know that the Chrome team has been on it for as long as I've known about it. I'm trying out the extension for now. Feb 4, 2016 at 23:42

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