How to enable Chrome’s new redesigned PDF reader

The latest version of the Google Chrome browser, v87, released earlier this month, contains a new redesigned PDF reader.

New features that come with the redesigned PDF reader include support for page thumbnail previews, support for document outlines (table of contents), a document zoom view controller, a “Fit to page” button, and support to rotate documents.

The new additions effectively bring Chrome’s built-in PDF viewer —known as PDFium— on feature-parity with Firefox’s PDF viewer (PDF.js), considered the gold standard for web-based PDF reader apps.

While there are plans to roll out the new redesigned PDF reader to all Chrome users in the future, users can also enable it themselves and take advantage of all its new features right now.

To do so, users must access the Chrome flags page and set the following flag to “Enabled.”

chrome://flags/#pdf-viewer-update

Image: ZDNet

Once enabled, the new features will begin showing up when viewing any PDF file without any other user action.

chrome-pdf-viewer-thumbs.pngchrome-pdf-viewer-thumbs.png
Image: ZDNet
chrome-pdf-viewer-toc.pngchrome-pdf-viewer-toc.png
Image: ZDNet

But Google is not the only browser maker working on revamping its PDF reader component. Microsoft has also been working on a long list of requested features, with some, such as table of contents, digital signatures, and smooth scrolling, already making it in the stable release.

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