Monday, August 1, 2011

Disable Google Docs PDF viewer

This has been driving me crazy for many months.  Somehow both my main browsers, Chrome and IE, got configured to open all PDF files in the Google Docs PDF Viewer.  That would be fine if it worked all the time, but often it would give an error saying "Sorry, we are unable to generate a view of the document at this time.".  Always I would see this when trying to open my Groupons from Groupon.com, which are stored as PDFs.  I looked at all my plug-ins and couldn't find anything about Google Docs.  I tried turning off and on different PDF Viewer plug-ins.

CHROME: Finally, I found this solution in the Google Forums.  Essentially, the Google Doc PDF viewer is *not* a plug-in, but an "extension".  So if you browse to chrome://extensions/ in Chrome, then you will see it there and you can disable it.  Probably need to refresh the page you're on to update the links too, or close browser and re-open

IE: Thankfully, Internet Explorer 9 just groups plug-ins and extensions as "add-ons".  So to disable the viewer in IE, go to the Settings Gear > Manage Add-ons.  Still I had a difficult time from there just because I was expecting that the Add-On to be made by Google.  But when I disabled the "Adobe PDF Link Helper", that seemed to do the trick after I refreshed the page.

Screen shot of Internet Explorer 9 Add-On Manager: