How to Download PDFs Rather Than Viewing Them

When you open a PDF link in most browsers, the PDF preview appears in a web browser. To download a PDF without previewing it, alter a setting on your browser. This is supported by Chrome, Firefox, and Edge.

Allow Chrome to download a PDF instead of only previewing it

Google Chrome’s built-in PDF reader allows you to preview PDFs. If you disable this PDF viewer, Chrome will urge you to save your PDFs rather than preview them.

To begin, open Google Chrome on your PC.

Settings option in Chrome menu
When Chrome opens, pick “Settings” from the Chrome menu (three dots) in the top-right corner of your window.
Site settings option in Chrome
Click “Privacy and security” on the left sidebar of Chrome settings. On the right, choose “Site Settings.”
Additional content settings option in Chrome
Scroll down to the bottom of “Site Settings” and choose “Additional content settings.”
PDF documents option in Chrome
Select “PDF documents” from the enlarged menu.
Download PDF option in Chrome
Set the “Download PDF files instead of automatically opening them in Chrome” option on.

Chrome will now display the standard save prompt for PDFs.

Make Firefox download PDFs rather than display them

Mozilla Firefox additionally includes a built-in feature that allows you to download PDFs rather than preview them in this browser.

Launch Firefox on your machine to get that option.

Options option in Firefox
In Firefox, select “Options” from the menu (three horizontal lines) in the top-right corner of the window.
Save File option for PDFs in Firefox
In Options, click “General” on the left. Scroll down the right pane until you see the “Applications” section.

In the Applications section, click the option next to “Portable Document Format (PDF)” and choose “Save File.”

Have Edge Save PDFs Instead of Displaying Them

To preview files, Microsoft Edge makes use of the built-in PDF viewer. If you disable this option, the browser will store your PDFs instead of previewing them.

To begin, open Microsoft Edge on your PC.

Settings option in Edge
When Edge opens, pick “Settings” from the menu (three dots) in the top-right corner of the window.
PDF documents option in Edge
Click “Cookies and site permissions” on the left, then “PDF documents” on the right, in Settings.
Download PDF option in Edge
Set the option to “Always download PDF files” here.

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