How to Download PDFs Instead of Automatically Opening them in Chrome

The ability to display PDFs in Google Chrome can be handy if you don’t have another application that yu prefer.

But if you do like to open PDFs in something like Adobe Acrobat or Adobe reader, then the current Chrolem behavior may not be ideal.

Our tutorial below will show you how to download PDFs instead of automatically opening them in Chrome so that you can use that other application more easily.

How to Change the Google Chrome PDF Behavior

  1. Open Chrome.
  2. Click the three dots at the top-right.
  3. Choose Settings.
  4. Select Privacy and security.
  5. Click Site settings.
  6. Choose Additional content settings.
  7. Select PDF documents.
  8. Click Download PDFs.

Our guide continues below with additional information on how to download PDFs instead of automatically opening them in Chrome, including pictures of these steps.

Many modern Web browsers are able to handle some common file types that you will encounter as you browse the Internet.

One popular file type, the PDF, can be opened in Web browsers instead of PDF viewing applications, and Google Chrome will typically open these files in a browser tab if you click a PDF link on a Web page.

But if many of the PDFs that you download are going to be used in a desktop application on your computer, such as Adobe Acrobat, then you might prefer to download them rather than open them in Chrome.

Our tutorial below will show you where to find the setting that controls this behavior so that you stop opening PDFs in Chrome and download them instead.

Old Method – How to Download PDFs in Chrome If You Don’t Want to Open Them in the Browser (Guide with Pictures)

The steps in this article were performed on the desktop version of the Google Chrome Web browser. This guide is going to show you how to change a setting in your browser so that PDFs you open in Chrome will download to your computer rather than open automatically in Chrome.

Step 1: Open the Google Chrome desktop browser.

Step 2: Click the Customize and control Google Chrome button at the top-right of the window.

customize and control google chrome

Step 3: Choose the Settings option at the bottom of the window.

open chrome settings

Step 4: Scroll to the bottom of the menu and click the Advanced button.

chrome advanced settings

Step 5: Scroll down and select the Content settings option.

chrome content settings menu

Step 6: Select the PDF documents option near the bottom of the menu.

chrome pdf settings

Step 7: Click the button to the right of Download PDF files instead of automatically opening them in Chrome.

how download pdfs instead of open them in chrome

Now that you know how to download PDFs instead of automatically opening them in Chrome, ant future PDF files that you encounter will get downloaded rather than opened.

Would you like to streamline the appearance of the top of the Chrome window by removing the elements that you aren’t using? Find out how to hide the bookmarks bar if you don’t use it as a way to navigate in Chrome.