Here's what's currently happening:

I use Chrome. I go to some website that has a PDF that I want to view on a hyperlink. I don't like viewing PDFs in the browser (even though I know this is possible), but prefer to have the pdf download and be viewed in Preview.

When I click the link in Chrome it asks me where I want the file saved, and then it downloads it. I click on the completed download tab at the bottom of the screen, and Chrome remains in the foreground. I can see that Preview has indeed been opened and the PDF is viewable, but I have to switch to Preview to view it using expose or command-tab.

Once the document has been opened in Preview and even when Preview is quit out of, it will always open Preview up in the foreground. This only happens on the first instance of opening a document. Also, if Preview is already open (in fore or background) downloading a new document will bring it to the foreground. So, what's happening only happens when a new document is downloaded and preview is not executed.

Here's what I would like to have happen:

I want to click on the completed download in the Chrome download bar at the bottom, and have it open and Preview and application-switch directly to Preview so that Preview is the foreground active application. This happens when I open other file types, but does not happen with PDFs into Preview.

My question:

Is there a way to change this behavior? Is there a central place where I can change the default behavior of whether apps open in the foreground or background?


1 Answer 1


Auto-opening a downloaded file from a browser is done on pretty much a browser-to-browser basis. Since you asked about Chrome, here's the relevant blurb from Google's Docs:

Automatically open certain types of files

If you want certain types of files to always open after they're done downloading, click the arrow next to the file button in the downloads bar and select Always open files of this type. To prevent potentially malicious files from automatically downloading to your computer, this option isn't available for executable filetypes, such as those with .exe, .dll, or .bat extensions (for Windows), and .dmg extensions (for Mac).

Personally, these features weren't visible when I tried it, but then I hardly use Chrome other than for the odd web site test.

  • thanks for the attempt philip, but auto-opening isn't my question. whether the setting is to auto-open or not, Preview still opens in the background, instead of the foreground.
    – drury
    Commented Oct 6, 2010 at 18:43
  • 1
    I'm guessing, then, that whatever event each app uses to open the file determines whether it opens to the front or in the back, much like adding or omitting the activate keyword in Applescript. In other words, this could just be developer's choice here. Commented Oct 6, 2010 at 18:56

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .