Change browser download settings for .PDF, .DOC, or other file

PDFBelow are the steps, in each of the major Internet browsers, to change how they behave when opening a .PDF, .DOC, or another external file.

Tip: All browsers allow for the ability to right-click any PDF file link and choose the option to Save or Save as to save the .PDF file.

Internet Explorer users

Be default, Internet Explorer opens PDF files in the Internet Explorer browser window. To disable this and have PDF files open in your PDF reader program (Adobe Reader or other), follow the steps below.

  1. Open Internet Explorer
  2. Click the Internet Explorer Tools Internet Explorer Tools button button and select Manage add-ons.
  3. For the Toolbars and Extentions option, click in the Show drop-down list and select All add-ons.
  4. Look for the Adobe PDF Reader in the extensions list. If you have a PDF reader program other than Adobe Reader, you may need to look for that program's name in the list instead.
  5. Select the extension found in step 4 above and click the Disable button in the bottom left of the Manage Add-ons window.

Note: If you do not see the Adobe PDF Reader extension listed and are running Windows 7 64-bit, there is a known bug where that extension is not listed. One suggested fix for this is to register the AcroPDF.dll file, but this has not been confirmed, so try at your own risk.

To enable the ability for Internet Explorer to open and display PDF files in the Internet Explorer browser window, follow the steps above and in step 5. Enable the Adobe PDF Reader plug-in (or the extension for your PDF Reader, if you have something other than Adobe Reader installed).

Google Chrome users

Be default, Chrome opens PDF files in the Chrome browser window. To disable this and have PDF files open in your PDF reader program (Adobe Reader or other), follow the steps below.

  1. Open Google Chrome
  2. In the Chrome address bar, type about:plugin and press Enter.
  3. Disable the Chrome PDF Viewer plug-in by clicking the Disable link for that plug-in.

To enable the ability for Chrome to open and display PDF files in the Chrome browser window, follow the steps above and in step 3, enable the Chrome PDF Viewer plug-in instead. If you do not see this plug-in listed, you need to download and install it.

Mozilla Firefox users

By default, Firefox opens PDF files in the Firefox browser window. To disable this and have PDF files open in your PDF reader program (Adobe Reader or other), follow the steps below.

Tip: If you have a PDF reader other than Adobe Reader installed on your computer, the steps below will still apply, but your PDF reader program name should be listed instead of "Adobe Reader" or "Adobe Acrobat".

  1. Open Mozilla Firefox
  2. Click the Firefox menu Firefox Menu button button and select Options. Or you can select Tools in the Firefox menu bar and select Options If you do not see the menu bar, press the Alt key.
  3. Within the Options window, click Applications
  4. Select the Content type you want to adjust. For example, if you want to change how a PDF file opens in Firefox, select Adobe Acrobat Document.
  5. In the Action section, change the action for how you want to open the file. If you want to download the PDF files instead of opening them, select Save file. If you want the PDF to open in Adobe Reader instead of in the Firefox browser window, select Use Adobe Reader.

To enable the ability for Firefox to open and display PDF files in the Firefox browser window, follow the steps above and in step 5, select Use Adobe Acrobat (in Firefox) instead.

Opera users

By default, Opera opens PDF files in the Opera browser window. To disable this and have PDF files open in your PDF reader program (Adobe Reader or other), follow the steps below.

  1. Open Opera
  2. Click the Opera menu Opera Menu button button in the upper left corner, click More tools and select Show developer menu. Open the menu again, click Developer and select Plug-ins.
  3. Disable any plug-ins that refer to PDF viewing or opening, such as Adobe Reader or Chrome PDF Viewer (plug-in list may vary for your computer).

To enable the ability for Opera to open and display PDF files in the Opera browser window, enable the appropriate plug-in using the steps above. If no plug-in is available in the plug-in list, you need to download the appropriate plug-in for viewing PDFs in the Opera browser.

Additional information

  • See the PDF definition for further information about PDF files, questions and answers, and related links.