How to read PDFs on Chromebook.

A man reads a PDF on a Chromebook.

PDFs are designed to maintain a document’s layout regardless of device. Learn how to open and view a PDF on Chromebook for the best reading experience.

Since PDFs are designed to maintain their layouts across all devices, PDF is a very popular file format that you may encounter frequently. Many eBooks, textbooks, newsletters, and official reports are in the PDF format. A PDF is also easy to secure, so you could receive important legal or tax information in the PDF format. Companies also frequently use PDFs to communicate internally or with clients. With their many uses, it is fortunately not difficult to learn how to read PDFs on Chromebook.

Open a PDF on your Chromebook.

You can view a PDF on your Chromebook in three simple steps.

  1. Find the PDF you want to open from your Files app.
  2. Single-click on the file to select it, then select Open at the top of the window. This will open a dropdown menu of different applications.
  3. Choose the application you want to use to open the PDF. This will open the PDF in a new window for viewing.

On a Chromebook, the default application to read PDFs is View. You can also choose to open the PDF with other Google-based apps in your Google Drive. Although you’ll be able to read PDFs with these apps, they might not give you all the features like editing, signing, and annotating.

The best software to read PDFs on Chromebook is a PDF-specific reader like Adobe Acrobat. Only a PDF reader will give you access to all the features and functions embedded in the PDF. Once installed to your Chromebook, it should appear in the dropdown menu after you click the Open tab.

PDF reading controls for Chromebook.

Once you open the PDF with Acrobat, you’re not stuck with the standard view. You can adjust the size, layout, and colors for the optimal reading experience:

Where do I open a PDF file on my Chromebook?

If you’ve downloaded a PDF, you may be wondering where you can find it to open and access it.

The first place to check for your PDF file will be in the section labeled “Downloads” in your file explorer. Downloads are usually automatically organized by date, so you should see the most recently downloaded files at the top. Scroll through the files to find your PDF, or use the search bar at the top right.

If you can’t find your PDF in Downloads, you can search your entire file explorer for your PDF. Go back to the general Files app and use the search bar there. You can search using the name of the PDF, or even simply type “PDF” to see a list of all PDF files.

Once you’ve found your PDF file, you can open it using the simple steps above.

Take a moment to discover how Acrobat Reader can make it easy to read PDFs, rotate files, extract pages from your PDF, and so much more, right from your Chromebook.