The Chrome build from Google has a Chrome PDF Viewer plugin which is really nice. But, the Chromium builds don't seem to have it (nothing shows up in about:plugins).

How do I get the plugin in Chromium on Ubuntu?

  • 3
    Not really an answer, so I'll leave it as a comment... You might be interested in this extension: Docs PDF/PowerPoint Viewer (by Google) Nov 11, 2010 at 0:29
  • 1
    Can't you use the Evince plugin in Chromium?
    – JanC
    Nov 11, 2010 at 10:56
  • @JanC, well, I can't seem to find any Evince plugin for Chromium...so unless it actually exists, I would say no. (Although I would love find it if it does exist). Jan 23, 2011 at 23:48
  • Newer versions of Firefox have a built-in PDF viewer, too.
    – Flimm
    Mar 8, 2013 at 13:03

8 Answers 8


Because the PDF plugin is not free software, i.e. it can only be included with the non-free Google Chrome browser.

See http://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=50852#c16 for a statement.

  • 1
    If (like me) you would prefer to avoid non-free software, another option is using pdf.js with chromium. Jun 25, 2013 at 4:21
  • 2
    pdf.js can be found as a chrome extension Chrome Web Store - PDF Viewer
    – agustibr
    Feb 7, 2014 at 9:38
  • The Chrome PDF plugin is not free software, but there are several free pdf plugins that used to work just fine. They dropped the interface. -1, the information is incomplete and misleading.
    – Jan Hudec
    Aug 21, 2014 at 7:26

tiax is correct but it can be pulled over from a Chrome install and used from within Chromium.

You just need to pull the libpdf.so file over and enable it in about:plugins

  • I'll try that! =)
    – Dima
    Nov 11, 2010 at 1:43
  • 8
    $ cd /usr/lib/chromium-browser/ && sudo ln -s /opt/google/chrome/libpdf.so did the trick for me =) considering I still have google-chrome package ;-)
    – Dima
    Nov 11, 2010 at 22:03
  • 7
    Just download the google chrome deb from google.com/chrome , extract the libpdf.so from it using Archive Manager. No need to install Chrome :)
    – Nemo
    Oct 11, 2011 at 6:36
  • @Oli - Clever! However, I just get a green screen with the words "Missing Plug-in" in the center of it. Close, but not quite. Any ideas? Thanks!
    – jmort253
    Jan 18, 2012 at 2:32

You have two solutions that I can see here (applied to Ubuntu 11.10) [This was inspired by comments above and other sources I found]

  • Install Chrome and then copy over *.so files which technically gets you around the legality issues

Here's how I did that...

  1. Close Chromium
  2. Download Chrome from Chrome distro
  3. Install it on your Ubuntu release
  4. cd /usr/lib/chromium-browser/
  5. sudo cp /opt/google/chrome/*.so .
  6. Start Chromium

Note: The new plugins never showed up in my extension listing but suddenly just started working properly. By copy all *.so you are getting support for Flash, FFMPEG, and PDF support.

If you want to copy each individual item here is a listing of them for you to hand pick.

  • libffmpegsumo.so - ffmpeg
  • libgcflashplayer.so - Flash
  • libpdf.so - PDF
  • 2
    Isn't it better to link to the plugins, so that they're updated whenever the Chrome ones are? Jun 18, 2012 at 18:45
  • 1
    for plugin in /opt/google/chrome/*.so; do sudo ln -s $plugin /usr/lib/chromium-browser/; done Jun 18, 2012 at 18:45
  • 4. cd /usr/lib/chromium-browser/libs may work now. It seems all the *.so files are stored there. Otherwise, chromium crashes if I copy it to the chromium home directory
    – RAbraham
    Oct 5, 2013 at 14:58

Chromium now have a pdf viewer on chrome store based on pdf.js that works like a charm. https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/pdf-viewer/oemmndcbldboiebfnladdacbdfmadadm


For Ubuntu or Debian (personally tested on Debian Wheezy - 64-bit build):

From trogdor1138's comment at archlinux site, get the google-chrome rpm:

wget ftp://fr2.rpmfind.net/linux/sourceforge/s/sn/snowbird/yum/sb20/google-chrome-stable-30.0.1599.66-1.x86_64.rpm

Install the cpio and rpm2cpio packages to extract the files from the downloaded rpm:

sudo apt-get install cpio rpm2cpio

Make a directory since the contents don't have a single directory structure (making it easier to clean back up if you like) and then extract:

mkdir chrome
cd chrome
rpm2cpio ../google-chrome-stable-30.0.1599.66-1.x86_64.rpm | cpio -vid

Install the libpdf.so library in your chromium's lib directory:

For Debian (verified against my 64-bit build):

sudo install -m644 ./opt/google/chrome/libpdf.so /usr/lib/chromium/

For Ubuntu, I believe this is where you'd install it:

sudo install -m644 ./opt/google/chrome/libpdf.so /usr/lib/chromium-browser/

Now just restart your browser, visit chrome://plugins/ to verify it's listed, and then open a PDF! :)


Open this terminal and run this command:

curl -O https://raw.github.com/thehodapp/bash-scripts/master/update-chromium-pdf; chmod +x update-chromium-pdf; ./update-chromium-pdf; rm update-chromium-pdf

This command downloads a script I wrote which will download the latest version of Chrome, pull out the PDF library, install it (which will require root password), and then it will delete itself. You can run this at any time to update to the latest stable version of Google's PDF library.

After running this command, make sure you restart Chromium and enable the plugin in chrome://plugins/.

  • Note as this seems to use a 64bit package, this probably won't work properly on 32bit systems. Neat idea though :)
    – Wilf
    Dec 26, 2014 at 20:05

Instal Google's own extension from the Chrome Web Store https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/docs-pdfpowerpoint-viewer/nnbmlagghjjcbdhgmkedmbmedengocbn

  • That isn't the same thing at all. Oct 18, 2013 at 15:31

Chromium team already set the plugin as Open Source: https://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=50852#c16

So, if you install Chromium you will already see the plugin enabled with chrome://plugins/

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