I get an error message when trying to view encrypted PDF files in a web browser

I get an error message when trying to view encrypted PDF files in a web browser

Even if you have the correct encryption key, it is not possible to use web browsers such as Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge to view encrypted files. This is because the built-in PDF viewer in web browsers are not able to view protected PDF files.

The way around this is to download the file and configure your browser to open PDF files with different PDF viewer software, such as Adobe Acrobat Reader.  

Microsoft Edge

When trying to open an encrypted PDF file with the Microsoft Edge PDF reader, you will likely encounter an error similar to that shown below.

Good to know... 
  1. In Windows 10  Edge is the default PDF reader app and handles PDF associations. 
  2. You might also want to stop Edge from being your default PDF viewer in order to switch to an external application like Adobe Reader more permanently.

To stop Microsoft Edge from being the default PDF viewer app

Google Chrome

When trying to open an encrypted PDF file in Google Chrome with the built-in Chrome PDF viewer, you will encounter a "Failed to load PDF document" error as shown.

The easiest way to do configure Google Chrome to use an alternative PDF viewer is as follows.
After downloading the PDF document:
  1. Click on the arrow next to file in download bar to get additional options
  2. Select "Always open with system viewer"

PDF files will now open immediately after downloading in the PDF viewer software you have installed.

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