One of the biggest new features in the stable release of Chrome 8 was the integrated PDF reader. This was done to help ensure better security, as Adobe’s PDF software has been subject to malicious attacks.
But the integrated Chrome 8 PDF reader doesn’t actually use Adobe’s own reader software. It uses the PDF software from a company called Foxit. That means some users of Chrome 8 are missing functionality that they need within the reader only Adobe provides. This includes saving, paginating and printing PDF documents.
If you’re one of these people, this post may be helpful to you, and even if you’re not, you might be interested in the inner workings of Chrome’s plugin system.
Get the Latest Adobe Reader Plugin
You can get the latest plugin here. Many people already have this installed on their computer, but as you’ll see later, it almost never is the latest version.
Chrome’s Plugin System
You can access all of your installed plugins by typing in “about:plugins”. You might be surprised to see some of the things you have installed here; when I first went here to do this post I was amazed by how many I had running that I could disable.
Disabling the Integrated, Enabling Adobe
Once you’re in the plugins menu, head down to the Chrome PDF Viewer plugin and disable it.
You can then scroll back up and enable the Adobe PDF plugin; you can see here the problem with Reader however, is that it needs updating for critical security fixes.
This is why Adobe Reader doesn’t come with Chrome. It doesn’t auto-update, and the Foxit SDK is faster than Adobe’s own software. The emphasis for Chrome is speed, and so the decision Chrome engineers made was to go with Foxit instead.
So, you’re on a slippery slope with this one: run the Adobe Reader plugin with more options, but be forced to update the software yourself and perhaps compromise browser security. Or run the bare-bones internal Chrome PDF Viewer that is faster and more secure.
It’s your choice.