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Home / Blog / PDF Not Opening in Chrome | 8 Ways to Solve This Problem

PDF Not Opening in Chrome | 8 Ways to Solve This Problem

By Lena | Follow twitter | Updated on September 14, 2023
Google Chrome has one built-in PDF viewer that can help you view local or online PDF files. This saves you the hassle of downloading a desktop program. However, now you find that PDF not opening in Chrome. What’s going on? Don’t worry too much! This guide will tell you why won’t PDF open in Chrome and how to solve this problem.

Why Won’t PDF Open in Chrome?

Understanding why a problem occurs can help us solve it quickly. There are a number of factors that can lead to the “PDF not opening in Chrome” problem, here are some of the main causes.

  • Incorrect Settings. You may have accidentally turned on the “Download PDFs” option.
  • Poor Internet Connection. Your browser requires a stable Internet connection to work properly.
  • Faulty Extensions. Some extensions may interfere with the browser's ability to open PDF files.
  • Outdated Version. Bugs in Chrome can cause a variety of problems including the inability to open PDF files.
  • Cache and Cookies. The corrupted cached data can cause Chrome to fail to load PDF documents.
  • Viruses and malware. They will prevent your computer and browser from working properly, so PDF won’t open in Chrome.

How to Fix PDF Not Opening in Chrome

Here are some solutions that can help you fix PDF not opening in Chrome problem. You can try these methods in turn until the problem is solved.

Do not want to spend time to solve the problem and want to view the PDF document as soon as possible? In this case, you can scroll down to the next section to get an easy-to-use tool to help you view the PDF on your computer. Or you can click the download button to get the tool right away.

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Fix 1. Turn off Download PDFs

When you can’t open PDF in Chrome, go to Settings to see if you have the "Download PDFs" option turned on. If this option is enabled, then when you click on the PDF, Chrome will download the PDF and hence, you will find that PDF won’t open in Chrome. Just follow the steps below to check the settings.

1. In Chrome, click the three-dots icon in the upper right corner.

2. Click Settings > Go to Privacy and security > Site settings.

3. Under Content, click Additional content settings > choose PDF documents.

4. Select Open PDFs in Chrome. In this way, Chrome will open the PDF instead of downloading it.

Turn off Download PDFs

Fix 2. Check Internet Connection

As mentioned before, an unstable Internet can cause PDF not opening in Chrome issue. When you can’t open a PDF, please check to see if your network is working well. You can try to reconnect the network cable, reconnect the WiFi, restart the router, etc.

Check Internet Connection

Fix 3. Try Incognito Mode

Some extensions can lead to the Chrome won’t open PDF problem. To determine if an extension is causing the problem, you can use Incognito mode. If you can open the PDF in Incognito mode, then you may need to check the extensions one by one to fix the problem.

1. Enable Incognito mode: click the three-dots icon in the upper right corner and choose New Incognito window. Or you can press Ctrl + Shift + N together to make it.

Check Internet Connection

2. See if you can open the PDF.

  • If you still can not open the PDF, try other methods.
  • If you can open the PDF, then you can close all extensions and enable them one by one to see which one prevents you from opening a PDF.

Note: How to find all installed extensions: click the three-dots icon > go to Extensions > choose Manage Extensions.

Fix 4. Update Google Chrome

PDF not opening in Chrome issue may occur due to bugs in the browser. You can try updating your browser to fix any potential errors.

1. Click the three-dots icon.

2. Choose Help and choose About Google Chrome.

3. The browser will automatically check to see if there is a new version available. If there is, it will automatically install it. All you need to do is click on the Relaunch button to complete the update.

Update Google Chrome

Fix 5. Clean Caches and Cookies

The browser will log your page visits and searches to improve load speed, however, over time, those caches and cookies not only take up a lot of space but can also cause issues. You can try to clean outdated cache and cookies to fix PDF won’t open in Chrome issue.

1. Click the three-dots icon.

2. Choose Settings and go to Privacy and security.

3. Click Clear browsing data > Select Cookies and other site data & Cached images and files. You can also choose to clear history.

4. Click Clear data to confirm.

Clean Caches and Cookies

Fix 6. Reset Settings

Another way to fix Chrome won’t open PDF issue is to reset settings to their defaults. It will delete all cookies & temporary site data and disable all extensions to troubleshoot all possible issues. But it won't delete your bookmarks, history, and saved password.

1. Click the three-dots icon.

2. Go to Settings and select Reset settings.

3. Choose Restore settings to their original defaults and click Reset settings to confirm.

Reset Settings

Fix 7. Try “Clean up computer” Function

PDF not opening in Chrome problem may be caused by malware. You can use the built-in tool of Chrome that is called “Clean up computer” to find any harmful files and delete them from your computer.

1. In the browser, click the three-dots icon.

2. Click Settings and go to Advanced > Reset and clean up.

3. Choose Clean up computer > Click Find and wait for the process to complete.

Clean up computer

Fix 8. Turn off Hardware Acceleration

Hardware acceleration is a default feature of the browser that enables the system to provide high performance output. However, if hardware acceleration is not compatible with your video drivers, then you will encounter PDF not opening in Chrome issue. You can turn it off and see if that makes the problem go away.

1. Click the three-dots icon.

2. Go to Settings and choose System.

3. Turn off Use hardware acceleration when available and click the Relaunch button.

Turn off Hardware Acceleration

Bonus Tip: Easily View, Edit, and Manage PDFs on Computer

If you often need to view and work with PDF documents, then using a professional PDF tool will provide you with efficiency. SwifDoo PDF is recommended here. It’s one tiny yet powerful PDF tool specifically designed for Windows users.

⭐ SwifDoo PDF provides various reading modes to satisfy your needs. It can even read PDF text aloud in order for you to get information while you are working on other things.

⭐ SiwfDoo PDF also provides convenience for you to edit PDFs. You can easily edit any text and images; Add annotations to make the PDF more attractive; Merge and split PDF to create the one you need.

⭐ SwiDoo PDF lets you convert PDF to Word, Excel, PPT, Image, TXT, HTML, CAD, etc., and vice versa. You can always get the format you need.

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The tool offers a 7-day free trial. You can click the download button to get the tool and enjoy all the features for free!

Final Words

Many factors can lead to the PDF not opening in Chrome problem. You can try the methods mentioned in this article to fix this error. By the way, almost all leading browsers can help you open PDF online. Therefore, you can also try using other browsers like Microsoft Edge, Firefox, or Opera.

It is worth mentioning that the PDF viewer of the browser offers limited reading modes. If you want to view PDF documents in the way you like, a desktop program like SwifDoo PDF will be a better choice.


Q:How do I enable PDF viewer in Chrome?

Usually, you can view PDFs online without any settings. If the PDF not opening in Chrome, you can go to Settings to enable Open PDFs in Chrome. When you can to view a local PDF, just right-click the file > click Open with > select Google Chrome.

Q:Why is Chrome opening a blank page when I open a PDF?

Outdated Chrome may cause the PDF to display incorrectly. You can try to update the browser to the latest version.

Q:Where are PDF settings in Chrome?

Click the three-dots icon in the upper right corner of the browser > Go to Settings > Privacy and security > Site settings > Additional content settings and then you will find PDF documents.

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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