Chrome PDF Viewer Not Working? Here’s How to Fix It

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Chrome PDF Viewer Not Working? Here’s How to Fix It

Google Chrome’s built-in PDF Viewer is one of its greatest features. It eliminates the need for third-party PDF viewer apps, which increases convenience.

But what if Chrome PDF Viewer no longer works? Here, we’ll go through all of the problems you could be having, as well as how to remedy them.

Before Getting Started: Reset Google Chrome

Before attempting more difficult remedies, try resetting Chrome. It takes little to no time and may solve your issues. This is how you do it:

  1. Open Google Chrome.
  2. Click the three dots in the browser’s upper-right corner.
  3. Select Settings.
  4. Open the Advanced menu.
  5. From the left menu bar, choose Reset and clear up.
  6. Click Restore settings to their original defaults under Reset and clean up.
  7. Choose the Reset settings option.

While resetting Chrome has no effect on your bookmarks or stored passwords, it does delete all pinned tabs, browsing history, and cookies. This will also deactivate all of your browser extensions, which must be re-enabled.

How to Fix When Chrome Won’t Load PDFs

Chrome PDF Viewer may show a blank screen identical to the one that displays while a PDF is loaded instead of opening the PDF file. If this is the case, you may have a bad internet connection or a third-party addon that is incompatible.

Check your internet connection before modifying Chrome’s settings. Whether it isn’t the internet connection, you could check to see if you have an addon that prevents Chrome PDF Viewer from opening PDFs.

Switch to Incognito Mode to look for a malfunctioning extension. To access it, click the three dots in the upper-right corner and choose New incognito window. Alternatively, use Ctrl + Shift + N.

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If you can see PDFs in Incognito mode, the issue is due to one of your extensions. To determine which extension is giving you problems, disable all extensions and then reactivate them one at a time.

You can find your list of extensions here:

  1. Select the three dots in the browser’s upper-right corner.
  2. Select More tools > Extensions from the menu.
  3. You can see your list of active extensions from this page. To activate or disable the extension, toggle the extension’s switch on or off. Select Remove to remove the extension completely.

If you can’t access PDFs even while in Incognito mode, hidden virus may be to blame. Fortunately, Chrome has a malware detection and removal tool for these situations.

Here is how you can use the cleanup tool:

  1. Open a new tab.
  2. In the URL bar, type “chrome:/settings/cleanup” and hit Enter.
  3. To begin the scan, click the Find button.
  4. When the procedure is finished, try opening a PDF file in Chrome in regular mode.

How to Fix a PDF That Doesn’t Render Properly

When it comes to displaying PDF files, Chrome’s PDF reader might have issues at times. When you open a PDF file, you may see strange text, missing graphics, or sluggish scrolling.

These issues might be caused by an out-of-date Chrome version. While Chrome updates itself automatically, you may initiate a manual upgrade. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Click the three dots in the top-right corner to open the Chrome menu.
  2. Click Help.
  3. Select About Google Chrome.
  4. If an update is available, Chrome will install it automatically.
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Clear Your Cache

If the opened PDFs continue to seem strange, you may need to remove the browser’s cached data and cookies. Chrome may be having trouble displaying PDFs because of your online cache, particularly if it is damaged.

Here is how you can delete all locally-cached data:

  1. To launch Chrome’s Clear browsing data window, press Ctrl + Shift + Delete.
  2. Select the Basic tab.
  3. Select All Time as the Time Range.
  4. Check the boxes next to Cookies and other site data as well as Cached images and files.
  5. Choose the Clear data option.

Please keep in mind that this will remove all browser cookies. Check that you have the login information for all of the websites you use.

Turn Off Hardware Acceleration

The strange look of the PDFs might potentially be due to incompatibility between the Chrome PDF Viewer and your video drivers. While hardware acceleration is a standard function of Chrome, disabling it may resolve the rendering difficulties.

Here is how you can do that:

  1. Click the three dots in the top-right corner to open the Chrome menu.
  2. Click Settings.
  3. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and choose Advanced.
  4. Turn off the Use hardware acceleration when available button under System.

While disabling hardware acceleration resolves the rendering issues, it may reduce performance while viewing online content. It’s a good idea to reactivate it after you’ve completed your PDF-related work.

How to Prevent Chrome From Downloading PDFs Instead of Opening Them

This is perhaps the most prevalent problem with Chrome’s PDF reader. And it’s especially inconvenient when you want to see the PDF’s content before downloading it. Chrome has a feature that will download PDFs instead of previewing them.

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This feature is usually disabled by default, but you may have accidentally enabled it or a third-party program modified its state. To resolve this, deactivate PDF downloads. Here’s how to go about it:

  1. Click the three dots in the top-right corner to open the Chrome menu.
  2. Click Settings.
  3. Navigate to the Privacy and security menu.
  4. Select Site Settings.
  5. Scroll to the bottom and choose Additional content options.
  6. Click PDF documents.
  7. Select the Open PDFs in Chrome option under Default behavior.

Even if you disable PDF downloads, Chrome will sometimes download the PDF instead of opening it. This occurs if the Content-Disposition header on the URL hosting the PDF is set to Attachment.

In other words, these PDFs are told to download from the server side, and there is nothing you can do about it.

Fix Chrome PDF Viewer and Get Back to Work

Don’t allow problems with the Chrome PDF reader hold you down. The methods in this article may assist you in resolving this problem, allowing you to resume reading PDFs without incident.

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