How to create PDF files natively or turn off print preview in Google Chrome

Did you know that Google Chrome not only can render PDFs natively but also has a built-in feature to create PDF files? You can convert any web page to PDF in Chrome without even having to install any software PDF printer driver. This functionality does not even require any extensions for the browser. Any web page, image or text file can be printed to PDF. Let us see how.


The reason PDF creation support is built into Google Chrome is because the browser's printing functionality is actually powered by PDF. When you print from Google Chrome, it uses its built-in PDF plugin to quickly generate a PDF file and displays the print preview. The formatting in Google Chrome's printing feature is handled differently from what the standard Windows print path has.

How to create PDFs natively

  1. Press Alt+F to show the File menu.
  2. Click Print. You can also press Ctrl+P instead to print.
    Save as PDF
  3. Chrome's print feature will open. Here, the default action is to Save as PDF. In fact, you will need to click the Change... button if you wish to print to a printer on your Windows system.
  4. Before you create the PDF, you can also change the page margins, adjust headers and footers, and set options like whether you want background colors and images to be preserved in the PDF.

How to turn off Chrome's PDF and print preview functionality and use standard Windows printing

If you prefer to use the standard Windows print dialog instead, you can disable this print preview feature in Chrome:

    1. First, close all open windows of Google Chrome and make sure that Chrome.exe is not running using Task Manager.
    2. Locate the app shortcut that you use to launch Chrome. This shortcut can be in multiple locations - it can be on your desktop or inside All Programs, pinned to your Start menu or Start screen or pinned directly to the Taskbar. We need to open the Properties of this shortcut. Right click this shortcut to show the context menu and then click Properties.If Chrome is pinned to the Windows Taskbar at the bottom, hold down Shift on your keyboard and then right click the Chrome taskbar shortcut to get the context menu. Select Properties to open the shortcut's Properties window.Tip: You can reverse the right click behavior on the Taskbar using 7+ Taskbar Tweaker so a regular right click shows the good old context menu and Shift+right click shows the jumplist.
    3. The Properties window will open with the Shortcut tab active. On the Shortcut tab, locate the Target field. In the Target box, go to the end of the entry and append the following text after the existing text:

      Note: There must be a space after "". Also, there are two hyphens immediately following it and then a hyphen between each word. The result should look like this:

      Google Chrome no print preview switch
      Google Chrome no print preview switch

    4. Click OK. Use this modified shortcut to start Chrome. Now when you print, it will open the standard Windows print dialog.

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Author: Gaurav Kale

Gaurav is a software enthusiast from India and Classic Shell tester & UX consultant. He started with Windows 95 and is good at software usability testing. He firmly believes that user experience is just as important as software code quality and architecture for software to be successful.

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