How to Fix PDF File Not Opening in Chrome_ (Easy Methods)

January 29, 2024 642 views

If you find yourself perplexed by your system's inability to open a PDF file, then you would be relieved to know it's a common issue with a very simple solution. This hiccup often occurs due to compatibility issues, outdated software, or corrupted files. In this article, we'll look into the common reasons why your PDF file is not opening in chrome and provide actionable solutions. Whether it's a browser-related problem, software mismatch, or file corruption, understanding these issues can empower you to troubleshoot effectively.

How to Fix PDF File Not Opening in Chrome?

Why Is a PDF File Not Opening in Chrome?

Many frustrated Chrome users often search the internet for answers to why a PDF file is not opening in Chrome. Well, there is no one right answer to that; some reasons can be:

  • Limited Chrome Capabilities with PDFs: Chrome's built-in PDF reading functions have limitations and constitute one of the most basic PDF viewers available on Chrome. Although it is the preferred viewer by Chrome, it does not provide the best user experience, offering only basic PDF viewing features.

  • Browser Settings Triggering Automatic Downloads: This problem is mainly due to the settings of your Chrome browser. Chrome allows users to download PDFs automatically with just one click. While this feature was meant to provide ease to its users, many customers who are unaware of this feature often end up complaining about Chrome downloading PDFs instead of opening them in a separate browser.

  • Outdated Chrome Version Causing PDF-Related Problems: Another major problem we found was that many users often skip updates, and having an older version of Chrome can result in PDF issues and other compatibility problems.

Though these issues may seem significant, the fixes are simple and discussed later in this article.

5 Proven Solutions to PDF File Not Working in Chrome

If you are among those facing the same issue and trying to find the right solution for your PDF files not opening in Chrome on your PC or mobile, here are five different ways you can:

Method 1: WPS PDF Extension for Chrome

Leverage a specialized PDF editor such as the WPS PDF Extension for Chrome to enhance functionality and ensure a seamless viewing experience. As previously discussed, Chrome's built-in PDF viewer offers limited functionality, limiting user capabilities.

Consequently, opting for the WPS PDF extension on your Chrome browser emerges as a preferred solution. This lightweight and versatile extension prioritizes efficiency over latency. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to download and integrate it into your browser:

Step 1: Navigate to the Chrome Web Store and enter "WPS PDF Extension" in the search bar.

Step 2: Select "Add to Chrome", and allow a brief moment for the download and installation of the WPS PDF extension on your Chrome browser.

WPS PDF Extension in Chrome Webstore

Step 3: Access the WPS PDF extension through Chrome's extensions. Simply click on the extension icon located in the toolbar and locate WPS PDF Extension within the list.

WPS PDF Extension

Step 4: Users may need to adjust settings, as Chrome typically defaults to opening PDFs using its built-in viewer. To change the default PDF Viewer we need to visit the WPS PDF Extension setting by clicking on the settings icon

WPS PDF Extension settings

Step 5: Ensure that "Open PDFs with WPS PDF Extension" is enabled to change the default PDF Viewer on Chrome.

Open PDFs with WPS PDF Extension

Step 6: Subsequently, when opening a PDF during internet browsing, WPS PDF Extension will seamlessly take charge and open the document without complications.

This solution is particularly advantageous, considering Chrome's proficiency in facilitating internet-related tasks. The WPS PDF Extension, recognized as a leader in the office suite industry, consistently delivers effective PDF solutions. Therefore, opting for WPS PDF Extension over the native Chrome browser is a prudent choice for a more efficient and tailored experience. Additionally, if you are in search of the best PDF viewer for use in Google Chrome, we offer some recommendations in another article. These PDF viewers ensure an outstanding reading experience within Google Chrome. You can click the hyperlink to view the complete article.

Method 2: Update the Browser

At times, your Chrome browser may struggle to open PDFs due to outdated software, leading to potential crashes. To prevent such issues, users should ensure their Chrome browser is regularly updated. To check and update your Chrome browser, follow these steps:

Step 1: Open your Chrome browser and locate the "More" menu at the top-right corner, represented by three dots.

Step 2: Click on the "More" menu, and from the dropdown, select the "Help" option.

Step 3: Within the "Help" submenu, choose "About Chrome".

Google Chrome Help menu

Step 4: In the About Chrome screen, users can review their Chrome version history. If an update is available, Chrome will automatically start the updating process.

About Chrome window

Tip: Alternatively, users can quickly access the "About Chrome" page on their Chrome browser by typing the following link into the address bar: chrome://settings/help. This direct link will take you to the update and version information, allowing for a swift check and update if necessary.

By keeping your Chrome browser up to date, you can ensure optimal performance and address any compatibility issues that may be hindering the opening of PDFs.

Method 3: Clear Cookies

Clearing cookies in your Chrome browser can help resolve issues that might be affecting the opening of PDFs. Cookies are small pieces of data stored by websites on your device, and clearing them can eliminate potential conflicts. To clear cookies, follow these steps:

Step 1: Open your Chrome browser.

Step 2: Click on the "More" menu at the top-right corner, denoted by three dots.

Step 3: Select "Settings" from the dropdown menu.

Google Chrome Settings

Step 4: Scroll down and click on "Privacy and security" in the left sidebar.

Step 5: Under the "Privacy and security" section, click on "Clear browsing data".

Google Chrome Clear browsing data

Step 6: In the pop-up window, choose a time range or select "All time" to clear all cookies.

Step 7: Check the box next to "Cookies and other site data".

Step 8: Optionally, you can select other data types to clear, such as browsing history and cached images and files.

Step 9: Click on the "Clear data" button to initiate the process.

Google Chrome clear data

Tip: For a quicker way to access the "Clear browsing data" settings in your Chrome browser, you can use the following link directly in the address bar: chrome://settings/clearBrowserData.

After clearing cookies, restart your Chrome browser and try opening the PDF again. This may resolve any issues related to stored cookies interfering with the proper functioning of PDFs.

Method 4: View PDFs in Incognito Mode

If you're experiencing issues opening PDFs in your regular browsing session, trying to view the PDFs in Chrome's Incognito mode can help identify if the problem is related to extensions or cached data. Here's how to do it:

Step 1: Open your Chrome browser and find the “More” menu denoted by three dots at the top right corner of the screen.

Step 2: Select "New incognito window" from the dropdown menu. Alternatively, users can use the keyboard shortcut “CTRL + SHIFT + N” to open the New Incognito window.

Google Chrome New incognito window

Step 3: In the incognito window, try opening the PDF file.

Google Chrome New incognito window open PDF

Incognito mode disables extensions and doesn't save browsing history, cookies, or site data. If the PDF opens without any issues in incognito mode, it suggests that an extension or cached data in your regular browsing session might be causing the problem.

Method 5: Relaunch Chrome

If you're experiencing issues with opening PDFs in Chrome, a simple solution is to relaunch the browser. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Close all open Chrome windows and tabs.

Step 2: Right-click on the Chrome icon on your desktop or taskbar, and select "Close window".

Google Chrome close windows

Step 4: Wait a few seconds to ensure that Chrome fully closes.

Step 5: Open Chrome again by clicking on the desktop icon or taskbar shortcut.

Step 6: Try opening the PDF file once more.

Relaunching Chrome can help clear temporary glitches or memory-related issues that might be causing problems with PDFs. If the problem persists after relaunching, you may want to explore other troubleshooting methods mentioned earlier.

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Q1. How do I enable PDF viewer in Chrome?

Utilize the guide below on how to enable the native Chrome PDF viewer, which is the default way to open and view PDF files in the Chrome browser.

Step 1: Click on the three vertical dots located in the upper-right corner of the Chrome browser.

Step 2: Choose Settings, then navigate to Privacy and Security.

Step 3: Now, select "Site Settings". Scroll down until you reach "Additional content settings" and click it.

Step 4: Within "Additional content settings", locate and click on "PDF documents". Select this option from the provided choices.

Step 5: After clicking on "PDF documents," you will see two options: "Download PDFs" and "Open PDFs in Chrome". Choose "Open PDFs in Chrome" if you want to enable the PDF viewer in Chrome.

Q2. How to open and view PDF on mobile?

There are various ways to open and view PDFs on your mobile device. Here's a simple guide for one method:

Step 1: Visit the Google Play Store and install Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Step 2: Click on "Files" at the bottom, then choose the PDF file you wish to view.

Step 3: You can now read the file and adjust your viewing and scrolling preferences according to your needs.

Q3. Can outdated Chrome versions lead to PDF opening issues?

Yes, outdated Chrome versions can cause PDF opening issues. Updating Chrome to the latest version is essential for optimal compatibility with PDF files, ensuring a smooth viewing experience. Here are some possible issues associated with using an outdated version:

  • Incompatibility: Older Chrome versions may lack support for the latest PDF features, causing compatibility issues.

  • Security Concerns: Outdated browsers might have vulnerabilities that could be exploited by malicious elements when handling PDF files.

  • Rendering Problems: PDFs might exhibit display issues, such as distorted text, missing images, or slow scrolling.

  • Limited Features: Older Chrome versions may not support newer PDF functionalities, limiting your ability to use advanced features.

Upgrade Your PDF Experience With WPS PDF

While Chrome excels in browsing and searching, its default PDF viewer offers limited features and has certain issues associated with it such as PDF file not opening in chrome. For robust PDF capabilities, consider WPS Office – a cost-effective solution offering both free and advanced features, including editing, sharing, and collaboration. WPS PDF provides a comprehensive set of tools, making it a superior choice for handling PDFs. Don't compromise on functionality; download WPS PDF now for an enhanced and versatile PDF experience.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.