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How Do I Stop My PDF Documents From Opening in a New Tab on a Mac or PC?


  • Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge opening PDF's In A Tab, Change To Opening In Adobe
  • New Tab Opening Up When Downloading PDF's In Google Chrome
  • How Do I Switch Where My PDF's Are Being Opened/ Downloaded


  • Google Chrome
  • Firefox
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Internet Explorer

Additional Information:

  • This procedure can also be used to have your PDF's open in your Web Browser instead of being downloaded
  • If you are on Windows, your default application to open PDFs may be incorrectly set to a web browser. This means that even if your browser is set up to download the PDF initially, it will still open in a browser tab. To resolve this, see here (external site)


Google Chrome

  1. Open Google Chrome
  2. Click on the Menu icon in the top-right corner of the Window (it will be the button that looks like three vertical dots)
  3. Click Settings
  4. Click on the Privacy and security section on the left
  5. Click Site Settings. Then Additional Content Settings
  6. Scroll down and click the PDF documents option
  7. Change the "Download PDF files instead of automatically opening them in Chrome" option from the off position (grey) to the on position (blue)
  8. Close the Settings tab and restart your computer


  1. Open Firefox
  2. Click the menu button (3 horizontal bars) and select Preferences
  3. Within the Options window, scroll down to Applications
  4. Under the Content Type column, select the Portable Document Format (PDF) option
  5. In the Action column, click the down arrow on the right-hand side of the box
  6. In the drop-down menu that appears, select your new default PDF reading program

Microsoft Edge

  1. Open Windows Settings
  2. Click on Apps
  3. Click on Default apps
    • Note: If you're still running the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, the path is Settings > System > Default apps
  4. Click the Choose default apps by file type link
  5. Scroll down and find .pdf (PDF File), and click the button on the right side, which is likely to read "Microsoft Edge"
  6. Select your app from the list to set it as the new default
  7. Click the Switch anyway link to confirm the change

Internet Explorer

  1. Open Internet Explorer
  2. Click the Internet Explorer Tools/Cog button and select Manage add-ons
  3. Under the Toolbars and Extensions option, click on the Show drop-down list and select Run without permissions
  4. In the displayed list of add-ons and extensions, find Adobe PDF Reader/default PDF reading program
  5. Select the extension and click the Disable button in the bottom right of the Manage Add-ons window
  6. Next time you download and open a PDF file, your default program will be used instead of Internet Explorer


  1. In Safari, go to menu Safari > Preferences
  2. Click on the General icon
  3. Uncheck the checkbox called "Open "safe" files after downloading
  4. Right click on any PDF file
  5. Click Get Info
  6. Expand Open with
  7. Select from the drop-down menu which program you'd like to open the PDF files with by default
  8. Click Change All


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