How to make Chrome or Firefox the default PDF viewer on Windows 11

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UPDATED 9/7/2023: On Windows 11, you can choose any supported app to work as the default PDF viewer, including Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, and in this guide, you will learn how.

Microsoft Edge is the default application that Windows 11 to open PDF documents. Although it’s a convenient feature that works as intended, Microsoft plans to replace the experience with the PDF reader plugin available from Adobe. According to the company, this move provides the basic features to open and view PDF documents with the option to pay a subscription to access advanced features.

Adobe Acrobat Reader has been around for a long time, but it’s not an application everyone wants. If you don’t plan to get a subscription to access the advanced features, you probably will barely use them, or you don’t want to use the Acrobat Reader plugin with Microsoft Edge. You can change the default experience to Chrome or Firefox, which offers virtually the same basic capabilities to view and fill out PDF documents.

This guide will teach you the steps to set Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox as your default PDF viewer instead of Microsoft Edge on Windows 11.

Change default PDF viewer to Chrome or Firefox on Windows 11

To change the default PDF viewer to Chrome or Firefox on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings on Windows 11.

  2. Click on Apps.

  3. Click the Default apps tab.

  4. Search for PDF in the “Set a default for a file type or link type” search box.

    Windows 11 default apps settings

  5. Click the Switch anyway option (if applicable).

  6. Click the current default application for PDF documents.

  7. Select the app (Chrome or Firefox) to set it as the default PDF viewer on Windows 11.

    Change default PDF viewer to Chrome or Firefox

  8. Click the Set default button.

Once you complete the steps, Windows 11 will open PDF documents by default with Chrome or Firefox, depending on your app preference.

You can also right-click the PDF file, select the “Open with” menu, select the “Choose another app” option, choose the new default PDF application, and click the “Always” button.

Alternatively, you can also choose from a range of other programs as your default PDF viewer on Windows 11. For example, the Sumatra PDF reader software is a great free alternative. When I have to protect a PDF document with a password, I usually use the PDFEncrypt app, and to convert Word documents to PDFs, you can always use Microsoft Word.

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