My favorite web browser becomes my favorite PDF viewer

For some time now I have been displeased with Adobe Reader.  First of all, it seems bloated and launches slower than other PDF viewers I have used.  To make up for the slow speed, recent versions also install a background process in Windows that presumably loads part of the application in advance.  Little displeases me more than a software application that includes a background process, with the obvious exception of  anti-virus programs that NEED to run in the background.

Lately I have been using the Google Chrome web browser more and more and my old favorite, Firefox, less and less.  Unlike other web browsers, Chrome has a built-in PDF viewer, eliminating the need for the Adobe Reader plug-in.   This makes viewing PDFs faster and more trouble-free than relying on the plug-in.  I have never encountered a PDF document that did not display correctly in Chrome.

A few days ago it struck me that Chrome could be used to view PDF documents on my computer as easily as those on the web.  All you have to do is set it as the default application for opening PDF documents.  To do this in Windows 7, RIGHT-click on any PDF file and select Open With > Choose default program.  A screen will appear with a list of programs.  Select Chrome from this list (you may have to browse for it), check the box beside “Always use this program to open this kind of file”, and then click OK.  In the future, Chrome will be your default PDF viewer.  These steps will be very similar in Windows XP or Vista.