Since Chrome supports a wide variety of 3rd party applications and extensions, there are often times when either the browser's update or an application's update causes an issue with displaying PDFs.
Update Chrome Manually
Certain extensions, usually those of a PDF-oriented nature, can hinder the Chrome PDF viewer from loading PDF documents. To determine if this the cause of the issue, try working in Incognito mode. Doing this launches Chrome with all extensions disabled.
If the problem occurs even in Incognito mode, then there might be malware hidden away on your PC that interferes with the browser's basic functions. If you didn’t already know, Chrome has its own malware detection and removal tool built-in just for such instances.
To get to the cleanup tool, open a new tab, type chrome://settings/cleanup into the URL bar, and then press Enter.
If there’s an update waiting, Chrome should detect and install it automatically.
Clear Web Browser and Cookies
An outdated web cache is another common reason for incorrectly rendering or malfunctioning PDFs, especially if the cache gets corrupted or certain web elements change subsequently later on.
Hence, clearing all locally cached data should prompt the browser to download fresh content and hopefully render your PDFs properly.
Press Ctrl-Shift-Del to bring up Chrome’s Clear Browsing Data panel.
Under the Basic tab, use the drop-down menu next to Time Range and then select All Time. Next, check the boxes next to Cookies and Other Site Data and Cached Images and Files, and then click CLEAR DATA.
You mostly should’ve fixed any rendering issues by now, but if not, consider resetting Chrome. The procedure is very simple and not as awful as it sounds, but you will find your cookies, browsing data and pinned tabs gone for good. However, any saved passwords or bookmarks won’t be deleted, so you should be fine in that department.
Step 1: On the Chrome Settings screen, click Advanced, and then scroll all the way down to the bottom. Under the Reset and Clean Up section, click the option labeled Restore Settings to Their Original Defaults.
Step 2: Click RESET SETTINGS to restore Chrome to default settings.
Chrome should function just as new afterward. However, resetting your browser also disables your extensions. When re-enabling them, make sure to keep any unknown plugins disabled just to be on the safer side.
Hopefully, Chrome is back to normal and you can view your PDFs without any issues. Configuring your browser to open PDFs directly, clearing the browser cache, and disabling hardware acceleration are surefire ways to get things back on track, while a browser reset should likely work as a last resort.
If you still encounter issues, the best recourse is to temporarily switch to a browser such as Mozilla Firefox or Microsoft Edge - until Google pushes out a new update that hopefully fixes your problem for good.