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Use Google Chrome’s Native PDF reader in Chromium

Notice: This post is more than a year old. It may be outdated.

chromium_iconThere are various odds and sods in Google Chrome which are exempt from inclusion in the fully open-source development version Chromium.

Integrated Flash is one and Chrome’s new native PDF reader is another.

The reasons for this are, as Linux users you can probably guess, down to licensing issues.

If you desperately want to use it there is, what we like to call, a hack around, courtesy of an awesome dude going by the moniker of f.Zweig*

How to use Google Chrome’s Native PDF reader in Chromium

1. Download the latest Google Chrome dev build (yes Google Chrome) choosing to save it.

2. Having saved the correct package above proceed to right click > extract

3. Enter the extracted folder and proceed to right click > Extract the ‘data.tar.gz’

4. Navigate to data/opt/google/chrome and locate ‘’

5. Copy the above file to /usr/lib/chromium-browser/ (You may need to run a root nautilus window for this. Press ALT+F2 and type ‘gksu nautilus /usr/lib/chromium-browser/’ minus the apostrophes.)

6. Start Chromium and type ‘about:plugins’ into the address bar

7. Search for\”Chrome PDF Viewer (2 files)\” and click the ‘Enable’ option.

Updated Method

If the above method looks a little complicated then don’t worry – there’s a quicker way to get up and running.

First follow step 1 but install Google Chrome rather than extract it.

Then run the following command (assuming you also have Chromium installed) in a new Terminal window:

  • sudo ln -s /opt/google/chrome/ /usr/lib/chromium-browser/
Finally, open Chromium and follow steps 6 & 7 to enable the PDF reader.

*Additional thanks to Mathias Böhmer