Fix PDF View Problems for Chrome and Edge Browsers

This Articles applies to: Content/CMS Editors, Content Creators


When clicking on a PDF link on a website using the Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge internet browser, you may receive the error below.  This error will happen for specific PDF’s, yet not others, even on the same website when the browser tries to display the PDF in itself rather than downloading and saving it on your computer.



Save all PDF’s with Fast Web View enabled prior to uploading to your website and publishing it for your users.  You can prevent this problem and the need for your users to use the Workaround for any user steps below by just saving/configuring your PDF’s to enable Fast Web View (Yes) before you upload them to your website. 
  1. See if your PDF supports Fast Web View, open the PDF from your desktop computer (not a web browser) using Adobe Reader and click on File=>Properties.  Click on the Description tab.

    Example of a PDF file that Works (Yes) –
    Example of a PDF file that does not work (No) – 
  2. In some cases you can fix this using the free Adobe Reader instead of doing it with the Adobe Acrobat Pro paid version.  Note, saving to PDF using Microsoft Word does not save it with Fast Web View enabled.
    1. Open Adobe Reader, Click on Edit, and then click on Preferences.

    2. Click on the Documents category from the list on the left, then check the box for Save As optimizes for Fast Web View, then click on the OK button.
    3. Open your PDF in Adobe Reader to view it.
    4. Click on File, then Save as... and save your PDF to a NEW filename (you can change the name later).
    5. Verify as you did in step #1 above that the file now says “Yes” for Fast Web View.
    6. Rename the file back to the original filename that you have on the website.
    7. Update/Upload the fixed file to your website.  If you did not rename the file back to the original filename, then you will need to update any links pointing to the old filename.  If you do this, be sure to delete the old file from your website if it is still there after the upload.

Workaround for any user:

Google Chrome - Disable Chrome Native PDF Viewer -

(Chrome 42 and later has disabled NPAPI plugins so only their native viewer can be used to view PDF files).  The problem is, unless the PDF was saved by the PDF generator program to enable “Fast Web View”, the user gets and error when clicking on PDF’s on your site.  Note:  This change effects PDF handling for ALL PDF’s on ALL websites.
  1. Click on the vertical ( … ) button on the right side of Chrome.
  2. Click on Settings.

  3. Scroll down to Advanced and click.

  4. Click on Content settings.

  5. Click on PDF documents.

  6. Click on the Download PDF files instead of automatically opening them in Chrome button slider on the right to enable that setting.

  7. Click on a PDF on a website and after it downloads in Chrome to your computer, click on the down arrow at the bottom of the screen for the file and select Always open in Adobe Reader.

  8. Now all PDF links you click on at a website will open in the Adobe Reader application, outside of the Google Chrome internet browser.

Microsoft Edge – Open the file using Internet Explorer -

  1. When you see the error after Microsoft Edge attempts to render the PDF file in the browser, click on the ( ) ellipsis button in the upper right of your browser.
  2. Click on Open with Internet Explorer.

  3. Now the PDF should preview correctly in the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser.