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Google Chrome is considered today the best web browser in the world and is the preferred option by people all over the world. It has several outstanding features like speed and security. It also has the ability to open PDF files without the need for third-party software. However, there are cases where certain problems may arise when trying to open PDF files with this browser. Google Chrome is a fantastic browser, and the built-in PDF viewer allows you to preview the PDF file before downloading it. This is probably the coolest feature out of the box, and if you want to quickly see all of our PDFs, it’s made possible by the extension.

Before you begin: reset Google Chrome

Before trying more complicated solutions, try resetting Chrome. It takes little or no time and could solve your problems. This is how you do it:

  • Open Google Chrome.
  • Click on the three dots located in the upper right corner of the browser.
  • Select Settings.
  • Open the Advanced menu.
  • Select Reset and Clean from the menu bar on the left.
  • Under Reset and Clean, click Restore settings to their original defaults.
  • Select the Reset Settings button.

Fix when Chrome won’t load PDF files

Instead of opening the PDF, Chrome’s PDF Viewer may display a black screen similar to what appears when loading a PDF. If so, you may have a bad internet connection or an incompatible third-party extension. Before changing Chrome settings, check your internet connection. If it is not the internet connection that is causing the problems, then you need to check if it has an extension that is preventing Chrome PDF Viewer from opening PDF files.

To check for a bad extension, switch to incognito mode. To open it, click on the three dots in the upper right corner and select New Incognito Window. Or just press Ctrl + Shift + N. If you can view PDF files in incognito mode, one of your extensions is causing the problem. To find out which extension is causing you problems, disable all the extensions and then enable them one by one. You can find their list of extensions here:

  • Select the three dots in the upper right corner of the browser.
  • Click More Tools> Extensions.
  • From here, you can see your list of active extensions. Turn the extension switch on or off to enable or disable the extension. Select Remove to get rid of the extension completely.

Use the cleaning tool

If you can’t open PDF files even if you are using incognito mode, it is possible that hidden malware is causing problems. Fortunately, Chrome comes with a malware detection and removal tool for these. This is how you can use the cleaning tool:

  • Open a new tab.
  • Type “chrome: // settings / cleanup” in the URL bar and hit Enter.
  • Click the Search button to start the scan.
  • After the process is complete, try opening a PDF file using Chrome in normal mode.

Repair a PDF that is not rendering correctly

Chrome’s PDF viewer can sometimes have a hard time rendering PDF files. Open PDFs can have strange-looking text, missing images, or even slow scrolling. These problems may be due to an outdated version of Chrome. While Chrome updates automatically, you can initiate an update manually. Follow these steps to do so:

  • Open the Chrome menu by clicking on the three dots in the upper right corner.
  • Click Help.
  • Select About Google Chrome.
  • If an update is available, Chrome will install it automatically.

Clear your cache

If open PDF files still look weird, you may need to clear your browser’s cached data and cookies. Your web cache may be the reason Chrome has a hard time processing PDF files, especially if the cache is corrupted. This is how you can remove all locally cached data:

  • Press Ctrl + Shift + Delete to open the Clear Chrome Browsing Data window.
  • Select the Basic tab.
  • Under Time Range, select All Time.
  • Check the boxes for Cookies and other site data and Cached images and files.
  • Select the Clear Data button.

Disable hardware acceleration

The unusual appearance of PDFs could also be due to incompatibilities between Chrome’s PDF Viewer and video drivers. While hardware acceleration is a default Chrome feature, stopping it could fix rendering issues. This is how you can do it:

  • Open the Chrome menu by clicking on the three dots in the upper right corner.
  • Click on Settings.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Advanced.
  • Under System, disable the Use hardware acceleration button when available.

How to prevent Chrome from downloading PDF files instead of opening them

This could be the most common problem with Chrome’s PDF viewer. And it is definitely the most annoying when you want to preview PDF content before downloading. Chrome comes with a built-in setting that will download PDF files instead of previewing them.

This setting is generally disabled by default, but there is a chance that you have unknowingly enabled it or that a third-party app has changed its state. To fix this problem, you must disable PDF downloads. Here you will know how you can do it:

  • Open the Chrome menu by clicking on the three dots in the upper right corner.
  • Click on Settings.
  • Open the Privacy and Security menu.
  • Select Site Settings.
  • Scroll down and click Additional Content Settings.
  • Click PDF documents.
  • Turn off the button to Download PDF files instead of automatically opening them in Chrome.

Final words: How to Fix ‘Chrome PDF Viewer Not Working’Issue

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