All my PDF Embeds Just Broke, What Gives?

by C.W. Holeman III

If you use Google Chrome you may have recently noticed that PDFs embedded in your modules are not working any longer. This was caused by a recent Google Chrome update (Chrome version #84). Because of the manner that Google Chrome now handles some types of cookies and cross-domain content in iFrames (which is how were have historically displayed in-line PDFs), our PDF embeds are no longer functioning as designed.

 We have a project that we are currently scoping to redesign the entire method we use to display PDF embeds, which will be required to restore this portion of prior functionality. This is a significant project. We do not have a timeline for the completion of this project.

In the interim, you have three separate workarounds that you can pursue:

  1. Have your users utilize a browser other than Google Chrome (such as Firefox). As this is a problem unique to Chrome, using another browser will totally eliminate the issue.
  2. Having your end users change the default behavior of Chrome's handling of PDFs from View to Open. (Via this setting: chrome://settings/content/pdfDocuments). This will allow your users to download (though not view as an embed) the PDFs in your modules.
  3. Editing your modules to use PDFs-as-documents, rather than embeds. This is essentially a system-wide application of option #2.



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