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Disabling Built-In PDF Viewer In Chrome and Firefox

Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox ship with built-in PDF reader that display the pdf file in your browser when you click them. Some people find this really useful and some prefer to use external PDF viewer application (such as Adobe Reader, Foxit Reader etc.) to read or view PDF documents.

External PDF viewer software let user use more tools that you can’t in chrome and Firefox’s built-in PDF viewer. But the built-in viewer will quickly open PDF file. If you are missing those extra tools of External PDF viewer, You can do that by disabling the built-in PDF Viewer in your Chrome and Firefox.

Here in this tutorial, I will show you how to disable Built-in PDF viewer in Firefox and Google Chrome.

How To Disable Google Chrome PDF Viewer

It’s so easy to disable Google Chrome’s built-in PDF viewer. All the process will take less than a minutes to complete. So start following the instructions below to disable PDF viewer in Google Chrome.

Google Chrome Plugins

  • Open Google chrome and type chrome://plugins/ in the address bar and then hit enter.
  • Now find Chrome PDF Viewer and disable it by clicking on the Disable text.

That’s it, Now PDF files will open with your default PDF viewer of your operating system. You can also choose to download and open PDF files to your favorite external PDF reader.

How To Disable PDF Viewer In Firefox

Firefox users have multiple choice in this regards. You can change the action for PDF file types or disable the PDF viewer.

Method 1: Change the action for PDF file type

Firefox applications window

  • Open Firefox and press Alt key on your keyboard to open the toolbar menu.
  • Now click on the Tools > Options.
  • This will take you to the applications option page from where you can change the action for PDF file type.
  • In the search box inside the application option page, Type PDF get the PDF file type action settings.
  • By default the PDF file action is set to Preview in Firefox, That you have to change by clicking on the dropdown box and select appropriate action.
    • Preview in Firefox: This action is set by default and this action will open PDF file in Firefox.
    • Always ask: This action will always prompt an window to choose whether you want to download or open the PDF file with your OS’s default PDF viewer.
    • Save File: This action will automatically save PDF file without prompting.
    • Use other: By selecting this action, Firefox will ask you to select the application that you want the PDF file will be opened.

Method 2: Disable PDF Viewer In Firefox

By editing Firefox’s configuration, You can disable Firefox PDF viewer. If you are interested in this method, Follow the instructions below:


  • Open Firefox and type about:config in the address bar.
  • Firefox will ask you to be careful, Click on the I’ll be careful, I promise! button to proceed next.
  • In the search box type pdfjs and find pdfjs.disabled from the preference name section.
  • Right click on the pdfjs.disabled and select Toggle to disable PDF viewer.

That’s it.

Now Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox will prompt window or download the PDF file instead of opening it inside the browser. Hope above the tutorial will help you to disable PDF viewer in Firefox and Chrome and If you encountered with any error, Please let us know using the comments box below.

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