How to Set Chrome As Your Default PDF Reader on Windows 7

Chrome - Default PDF ViewerAre you sick of Adobe Reader’s bloatware, sluggish performance, and security vulnerabilities?  If you haven’t already switched to an alternative PDF reader, Google Chrome can also read PDFs; even ones that are already downloaded to your computer!  Switching Chrome to be your default PDF reader is relatively simple, and we’ll guide you through the process in the groovy tutorial below.


Note: This article was written several years ago for Windows 7. If you are on Windows 10. Check out our article on how to set default apps on Windows 10.

Step 1

Click the Start Menu Orb and then Click Default Programs.

Alternatively you could Right-Click a PDF file and use the Open With menu, then skip to step 4.

Start Menu orb default programs

Step 2

In the Control Panel window that appears, Click the Associate a file type or protocol with a program.

Associate a file type with a program

Step 3

Scroll down the list of programs and Select .pdf then Click Change program…

Select pdf and change program

Step 4

The Open with menu should appear, Click the Browse… button.

open with -> browse

Step 5

Browse to the following folder on your computer, or just copy/paste this line into your Explorer address bar:


Select chrome.exe and then Click Open.

browse to app data local google chrome appplciaction chrome.exe

Step 6

You’ll be brought back to the Open With menu.  Make sure Google Chrome is Selected and then Click OK.

google chrome ok

Done!google chrome pdf icon

Google Chrome should now be your default PDF viewer.  The icon that is associated with all of your PDF files should also change now to reflect Chrome’s logo.  Now you have a fast and efficient PDF reader that won’t clog up your system!

Google Chrome default pdf reader



  1. chewbie  

    very groovy :)

    • alexmvp  

      I second that. Done and done!

  2. Adrian Ward  

    Thank you. Why windows on the PC does not have ‘open in desktop’ I do not know.

  3. GREAT post…
    works beautifully on Windows 7…unfortunately, not on XP…at least not with previously downloaded PDFs

  4. Eliza McGill  

    Thank you! Couldn’t find this information elsewhere and it was very helpful!

  5. YanonHogan  

    In Windows 10 this general method does not cause files in webpage to be opened with Adobe.
    If you click on a pdf within a browser you can’t get Win10 to open it in Adobe.
    I don’t want to be forced to use Chromespybloatware or any browser to open the pdf. You have offered a non-solution for this situation in Windows 10.

  6. Alina  

    For me, the guide described in the article looks too much complicated. I use one program called FileMarker.NET. It is a Windows-based program to change file icons images and mark files with either icons or color. It’s much easier to have one program instead of dozens steps.

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