A Fix for PDF Display Issues in Chrome

We came across an interesting bug in Chrome two days in a row, a PDF wouldn’t display correctly. It would be missing either an entire page or just some of the information on the page. There are published work-arounds to disable the built-in Chrome PDF viewer and instead utilize Adobe Acrobat Reader instead and also notices to maybe use a different browser. Let’s be honest here, the fault is the person/company that creates the PDF to make sure to optimze the PDF for the best viewing experience on the web.

Here is the problem, the Chrome PDF viewer cannot work with layered PDF files. I didn’t know layers was possible until just yesterday. Apparently, though I don’t yet know how, you can turn on and off layers (think of Google Maps with turning on and off features on the map). So how do you fix it? In both our our instances, we needed to flatten the PDF. Once we flattened the PDF and optimized it for the web, it showed up correctly in Chrome.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you will want those features and then you will need to provide a disclaimer stating that some PDFs may not render correctly in the Chrome browser. At least until Chrome adds support for layers.