How To Read a PDF file on Google Search Result Page Without Downloading It

Google search result page

Times without number, Google shows some results to your search words as PDF instead of a link to a particular webpage. Yes! This has its advantages. You can download the file to your local storage for offline purposes.  But how many junks of PDF files do you have to download before you get the one that provides you with the relevant information you need.

I remember when I was writing literature review for my final year project, I had to download hundreds of PDF documents, read them offline before deciding to keep the relevant ones or delete the irrelevant ones.

This downloading, reading and deleting process waste your two precious resources: time and data. However, the good news is that there is a way you can read any PDF you see in Google Search Result Page online without having to download it. Believe me, reading this document online doesn’t consume your data and you can easily access the document’s contents and then decide to download it or not.

How Will I know That A Result on Google is a PDF and Not a Webpage?

To know this is simple! In the front of the particular result, you will see the acronym “PDF” enclosed inside a square bracket. This means the link is PDF and when clicked on, it will download the file.

PDF identification

So to be able to open the document online without downloading, follow the steps below.

Opening and Reading PDF file on Google Search Result Page

  • Open Google search page in your preferred browser
  • After opening the page, input the word or string of words you want to search

google search result page

  • Instead of clicking on the PDF link in the result page, click on the green triangle turning upside down.


  • Clicking on the triangle will bring out two options: Cached and Similar, and all you needed is the Cached option


  • Right Click on the Cached option, and click on Open Link in New Tab. You are opening the link in New Tab because you want the PDF to open in a New Tab, and not override the search engine result page
  • Click on the New Tab to see the contents inside the PDF file


That is it! You can now read the contents of the document and the decision now lies in your hand to download the PDF if you think its contents are relevant to your search.

By now, you should be able to read contents in a PDF file on a result page without having to download it. I know you may have a better method of doing this, please don’t hesitate to use the comment box to share your method with us.

Posted by Adedapo Olatunde

Geek. Webhead. Editor at Techrabytes. Minimalist. Environmentalist. Aspiring Martian. I'm on Facebook and Twitter

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