Google Chrome: I Want to Read But Not Download pdf files

I have started using Google Chrome. Adobe Acrobat is the default pdf viewer. I want to read but not download pdf files (unless I explicitly decide to save them). Right now it is dumping all of them into my Download folder. How do I do this? A setting somewhere? Or do I need a different pdf viewer?


There’s an extension discussed here that seems to do what you want (as well as some other document types)

(The file will still be downloaded though - that’s technically true of any content that you view in your browser)

When you first download a PDF, it’ll make a bottom bar with a tab. Right click on the tab and choose “Always open files of this type” and from then on, the PDFs will open.

Is the issue that you want to view the document in Chrome rather than Acrobat Reader? If so, you can use the extension Mangetout linked to, or use Chrome’s native viewer. In the browser address bar, type chrome://plugins and enable the Chrome PDF Viewer.

However, if you don’t want to download PDFs because of security concerns, you don’t have a choice (other than not clicking on them). As noted, any content you view will be downloaded. Most of it goes in a cache directory instead of Downloads, but it’s still being saved locally.

Yes. I want them downloaded into a temporary cache directory instead of being saved permanently.

In the Chrome://plugins it says Chrome PDF View is disabled by enterprise policy.

Is this on a work machine? If so, you might need to ask your IT department for help.

No, it’s not a work machine. But I found the solution when I looked at the chrome://plugins

for the Adobe flash player plugin the “always allowed to run” checkbox was unchecked–so I checked it and now it works as I wished.


That’s weird. The built in PDF viewer (based on FoxIt Reader) is a different plugin than the Flash viewer. Maybe you were using a site that has a Flash-based PDF reader? I know I used to use a site like that.

If you run into problems in the future on a different site, I do suggest getting an addon that uses PDF.js, assuming you still can’t get the built in PDF reader to work. I unfortunately do not know how you can change “enterprise policy.”

That said, checking the Google help forums, I get this recommendation:

On advanced settings > content settings page, the last item, I had checked, “Open PDF files in the default PDF viewer application”. This is what disabled the Chrome PDF viewer. Adobe is my default PDF viewer, so the Chrome PDF viewer was disabled. When I unchecked this item, the Chrome PDF viewer was enabled again.