As PDF files are directly readable documents just like web pages, some modern browsers implemented the feature of opening them rather than starting download. I personally appreciate this feature as you don’t need to do extra clicks just to open and read PDFs on web. Because, if a browser just downloads PDFs like other files, you have to use another application to open any PDF document. Built-in PDF viewer has made it a lot easier which is also a time savior. Among the browsers, Chrome was in the first place to implement in-house PDF reader. Firefox followed it later.

Disable Firefox and Chrome PDF viewer

Related: Convert a webpage into PDF with “one click” on your favorite browser.

However, in some cases, having your browser instantly opening PDF might be a privacy concern as it may contain sensitive information. Or you just don’t want to read the document in most moments and want to keep them for later. If you are with these cases, you want to disable your browser’s built-in PDF viewer so that it just downloads them. Here’s how you can stop Firefox and Chrome from opening PDF files.

Note: You can also save or download your PDF documents after the browser opens them.

Disable PDF Viewer on Firefox

  1. From Menu, go to Options.
    Firefox Options from Menu
  2. Under Applications tab, look for the entry Portable Document Format (PDF).
  3. Click on Action drop-down menu to select your choice. Choose Save File if you want Firefox to download PDFs.
    Firefox PDF Setting
  4. Hit OK.

That’s it. If you choose Always Ask, Firefox will ask you what you want to do when you come across a PDF file.

Disable PDF Viewer on Chrome

  1. On Chrome address bar, type chrome://plugins and hit enter.
  2. Look for the entry Chrome PDF Viewer. Click on Disable button next to it.
    Disable Chrome PDF preview
  3. Done.

These way you can disable PDF viewer on Firefox and Chrome. Disabling will make them start downloading PDF Files. On Firefox, you have more choice that Chrome.



Jaber is a Programmer and Tech Enthusiast Geek from Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is the founder and Chief-Editor of TechGainer. While he is away from his keyboard, either he's fishing or messing with wildlife. In case, you can contact him at rijans[at]techgainer[dot]com.