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Home / Blog / How to Open and View PDF on Android Phone | 3 Ways

How to Open and View PDF on Android Phone | 3 Ways

By Lena | Follow twitter | Updated on August 18, 2023
PDF is extremely popular due to its support for a wide variety of document styles. However, working with PDF documents on Android can be quite challenging as the operating system has limited built-in support for them. Here in this guide, I’ll show you how to open PDF on Android and what to do when you can’t open the file.

Open PDF on Android is Possible

Don’t know how to view PDF on Android? Whether you want to open a downloaded PDF on your phone or a PDF you come across in the browser, you can find a way to do it in this article. Usually, you can open and view a PDF file with a PDF reader, which you can get from Google Play Store. In addition, you can also open PDF files directly in Google Chrome for quick access to information. Just keep reading to learn how to open PDF on Android phone.

How to Open PDF on Android

For the PDF files that have been downloaded on your device, you can either use a PDF reader or Google Chrome to open the file. Let’s start to see how to view PDF on Android phone.

PDF Reader

It's quite likely that an application capable of opening PDFs is already present on your Android device. You can try to open the PDF file by tapping it and then an option will pop up that lets you choose to use an app to open the file. In this case, just select one of them to open your file, like Google Drive, E-book reader like Kindle.

Even if you don't have any related apps installed, you can click Google PDF Viewer to open the PDF file. In general, you can't open Google PDF Viewer like other apps, but when you want to open a PDF document, it will appear in the options.

Google PDF Viewer

Anyhow, a professional PDF reader can bring a better reading experience. If you often need to view PDF on Android, then it is recommended to install a PDF reader like Adobe Acrobat Reader. With this app, you can quickly open a PDF file and view the file in the mode you prefer. Follow the steps below to see how to open PDF on Android with Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Step 1. Go to Google Play Store to install Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Install Adobe Acrobat Reader

Step 2. Tap Files at the bottom > Select the PDF file you want to check.

Step 3. Now you can read the file. You have the ability to customize your viewing and scrolling preferences.

Google Chrome

If you do not want to download any PDF viewer, then you may want to know how to open PDF on Android in the browser just like you do on a computer. Here are the detailed steps.

Step 1. Open Google Chrome > Search for Google Docs and launch it.

Step 2. Tap the three-dots icon > Select Desktop site.

Open PDF in Google Chrome

Step 3. After that, choose Blank > tap File > select Open.

Step 4. Tap Upload to select the PDF file you want to view and that’s it.

[Quick Guide] How to Open PDF in Chrome on Windows & Mac

[Quick Guide] How to Open PDF in Chrome on Windows & Mac

This guide will show you how to open PDF in Chrome. You will also know how to set Chrome as the default PDF viewer.


How to Open PDF on Android without Downloading

Usually, when you tap a PDF file on the website, the file will be downloaded to your phone and you can view it with the PDF viewer. Predictably, as time passes, your Downloads folder will one day be filled with these files! Then you have to spend time deleting those files to free up space. Therefore, you want to know how to open PDF on Android without downloading.

Is there a way to avoid downloading documents that we will view once and never need again? Yes, there is! You can take advantage of Google Docs to open PDF in Chrome without downloading. As long as you can copy the path of the PDF file, then you will have the chance to open the file directly. Read on to see how to open PDF on Android without downloading. 

Step 1. Open a new tab > Copy and paste this path to the search box: https://docs.google.com/viewerng/viewer?url=http://yourfile.pdf.

Step 2. Copy the path of the PDF you want to open.

Step 3. Replace http://yourfile.pdf with the path of the PDF file and go to view your PDF file.

Note: Another solution to open PDF on Android without downloading is to use Opera. When you tap a PDF, it will ask you if you want to open or download the file.

What to Do When Can’t Open PDF on Android?

Generally, as long as you have a PDF reader on your phone, then you will be able to open the file. When you can’t open PDF on Android, you can try the following methods to troubleshoot the problem.

Can't Open PDF

Fix 1. Make sure the PDF file is compatible with the PDF viewer. Some apps only support files with .pdf or .xps extensions.

Fix 2. Clear caches and temporary files. Go to Settings > Storage > Cached Data to delete any file that can cause the problem.

Fix 3. Repair the file. The PDF file may have been corrupted and therefore cannot be opened.

Fix 4. Free up space. When there's not enough space, it's hard to open PDFs on Android, especially if the files are large.

Fix 5. Update PDF viewer & OS. Outdated apps and systems may have bugs that prevent you from opening PDF files.

Bonus Tip: How to View and Edit PDF on Windows PC

From the above, you know how to open PDF on Android. Now let’s see how to open PDF file on Windows computer in an easy way.

Unlike from an Android phone, you can directly open and view a PDF file via the browser. However, the browser doesn't provide many reading modes, besides, you can't edit the file. If you need to view and process a large number of PDF files, a professional PDF tool like SwifDoo PDF can be a better choice.

⭐ SwifDoo PDF lets you view PDF files in side-by-side, full-screen, slideshow, full dark mode and more.

⭐ In addition, you can have the PDF text read aloud to get the information you need while multitasking.

⭐ If needed, you can edit and add annotations, or convert PDF to Word, Excel, PPT, Image, CAD, HTML, etc.

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Final Words

That’s all about how to open PDF on Android. With a PDF viewer, you can easily open and view any PDF file on your phone. Or you can take advantage of Google Docs to open PDF in Chrome without downloading.

It is worth noting that if you have installed the latest version of Google Drive, then when you tap the PDF link in any application, your device will immediately open the file via Goolge Drive’s PDF Viewer to let you check the file.

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Lena has been in the editing industry for 8 years. She is familiar with a variety of products that can make things easier, such as PDF tools, video recording software, iOS location changer, etc. She enjoys sharing her knowledge with users to help them solve problems in their work and life. In her spare time, she likes to play with her cat.

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