Disabling PDF Viewers

PDF IconMost of the time, the pdf plugin for browsers is great. It saves folks the hassle of having to download the file and switch to Adobe Reader (or Acrobat for those folks that can afford such a luxury!). However, I’ve run into many a problem with the plugin at the library.

Any RMV-1 forms that patrons try to print from their browser gets printed blank. The grey font the DMV uses in the emailed copy of the file has a nasty habit of not showing up. I also ran into an issue with print margins the other day. A patron was filling out a government form. At the very bottom of the page was a bar code. However, it was below the print margins for the pdf plugin and thus would not print from the browser.

So I’ve decided to try out disabling the viewer and forcing folks to use Adobe Reader to view pdfs. There may be some outcry about robbing them of the convenience of one-app shopping, so to speak. But then again, there may not. Anyway, each browser has a different method of disabling the viewer. IE, surprisingly, was the easiest. It only had one setting change. Chrome and Firefox had two.

Chrome IconChrome

  1. Type chrome://plugins/ in the address bard
  2. Click Disable under the Adobe Reader plugin
  3. Click Disable under the Chrome PDF Viewer plugin

Firefox LogoFireFox

  1. Click Settings
  2. Click Addons
  3. Click Plugins (if not already on the option)
  4. Click the dropdown next to Adobe Acrobat and chose Never Activate
  5. Click Settings
  6. Click Options
  7. Click Applications
  8. Click the dropdown next to Portable Document Format and choose Use Adobe Reader (default)
  9. Click OK
  10. Restart FireFox

Internet Explorer IconInternet Explorer

(This is for IE11, I’m not sure how far back these steps will work)

  1. Click Settings
  2. Click Manage Addons
  3. Click the Show dropdown and choose All Addons
  4. Click Adobe PDF Reader
  5. Click Disable
  6. Click Close

I’ve also run into cases where the addon isn’t there. I’m still tracking down what’s up with that.

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