When using Microsoft Edge in Windows 10 (v1803), if I click on a Web link to a PDF file, like this one, Edge opens the PDF in a tab using its internal PDF viewer.

How do I configure Edge to open the PDF in my default external PDF viewer instead (e.g. Sumatra PDF or Acrobat Reader)?

I stress that I am not asking how to set my PDF viewer (Sumatra PDF) as the default PDF viewer! (This was discussed e.g. here)

In fact, Sumatra PDF is already the default PDF viewer in Windows 10, and PDF files properly open with Sumatra PDF when I click on a file in Files Explorer. However, the files still open in a tab of Edge when I click on a web link to a PDF (like the above one) file within Edge.

To further clarify, what I am looking for is something equivalent to the Google Chrome Setting "Download PDF files instead of automatically opening them in Chrome." This was addressed in this question and I am looking for the equivalent with Edge.

I suggest testing your answer with this PDF link, to make sure the PDF does not open in Edge, before posting.

FYI, this same question was asked in the Microsoft Community here, but it was misinterpreted and has no useful answer. Moreover, that site is dominated by noise. So I am hoping the more reliable Superuser community will have a better and more up-to-date answer.


I cannot believe your question has no upvotes and more people haven't asked this question. As you discovered, there are plenty of examples of people running into this issue, but they are always met with this same "Default Apps" non-answer.

So finally, here is the bug report and official response on this from Microsoft:


I checked the design and determined that PDF web links will always open in the browser regardless of the default app association. The default association only works for local files.

Best Wishes, The MS Edge Team

Harry is right that there is no solution other than to move to another browser, since the complaint part has already been tried without any results. That is only wise, considering that Edge itself has decided to move to another browser.

  • Finally, the MS Edge Dev Channel microsoftedgeinsider.com launched today has a new option "Download PDF files instead of automatically opening them" – divenex Apr 8 '19 at 19:11

In order to disable Microsoft Edge's PDF feature, you need to change the file association of PDF files, which you can do with the following steps:

  • Open PC Settings.
  • Click on Apps.
  • Click on Default apps.
  • Click Choose default apps by file type.
  • Scroll down and find .pdf and click the button on the right side, which is likely to read "Microsoft Edge".
  • Select your app from the list to set it as the new default.
  • Click the Switch anyway link to confirm the change.


  • 1
    Thank you very much. But this does not answer my question. I edited it to try to avoid further misinterpretation. – divenex Sep 3 '18 at 14:45
  • 1
    I have looked into the problem, but the weird thing is that the above procedure is officially correct and there is no other: It's written that Edge is so well-integrated into Windows that it honors file association defaults. With Windows 1803 came a better PDF viewer, so I believe that this is simply a new bug, where this new viewer does not honor the defaults and cannot be rid of. Your options as I see are: (1) Complain to Microsoft and wait for this to be fixed, (2) Move to another browser. Sorry, but I don't think that for the moment there is another answer. – harrymc Sep 3 '18 at 17:01

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